Victory was bittersweet for Wayne Matthew Price after a Montgomery County jury acquitted him of first-degree murder Monday in the shooting death of his son in May.
“He can celebrate, but he has still had a significant loss to his family,” said Steven Kupferberg, Price’s defense attorney, after hearing the verdict at 6 p.m. Monday. “He will always have to live with that loss.”
Tears poured down Price’s face as he shook hands with several departing jurors, thanking them profusely before turning to Kupferberg and giving him a hug.
“Thank you, Mr. Kupferberg,” he said, his voice heavy with emotion. “Thank you.”
Price himself declined to comment on the verdict, which was handed down after about five hours of deliberation Monday. In the decision, the jury acquitted Price, 51, of first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter and a handgun offense in the May 5 shooting and killing of his 23-year-old son, Matthew Eugene Price.
Assistant State’s Attorneys Jeffrey Wennar and Teresa Casafranca portrayed Price as the aggressor in a confrontation in the elder Price’s apartment May 5. Kupferberg said Price was the victim in a struggle with his son, who Kupferberg said beat him and choked him at one point before Price retrieved his gun from a back bedroom as a last resort, shooting Matthew only after the younger man threatened to kill him and lunged at him, Kupferberg said.
Wennar declined to comment but Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office, expressed disappointment with the jury’s decision when reached for comment Tuesday morning.
“Shooting your own son to death is a tragedy no matter how you look at it,” he said. “And seemingly, the jury might have felt it was punishment enough for the father to deal with his own conscience for the rest of his life at the death of his one-and-only, Matthew. We accept the jury’s verdict but respectfully disagree with it.”