Eau Claire County District Attorney Gary King has concerns about whether Wayne Price’s guilty pleas in connection with the homicides of his sister and her boyfriend in September 2017 were freely and voluntarily made.
King’s concerns are also a significant factor in Price’s attorneys’ recent attempts to withdraw from the case.
Wayne W. Price, 48, 800 S. Rockie Road, Fall Creek, pleaded guilty in January to two felony counts of felony murder and two felony counts of false imprisonment.
Price’s sentencing was scheduled for today.
As part of a plea agreement, Price’s attorneys could not seek less than 20 years in prison.
The day Price pleaded guilty to the charges, Judge Emily Long asked his attorneys if the pleas were made knowingly, freely, voluntarily and intelligently.
The attorneys — Laurie Osberg, Steven Hughes and Charles Ellefson — said they were.
Long asked Price if he believed there was a factual basis for the charges and he said there were.
But King alerted Long last week of a recorded jail visit Price had in March with his mother and a second sister.
In the recording, Price said he was “backed into a corner” as to the acceptance of the plea agreement.
He also denies responsibility for the conduct that resulted in the guilty plea.
He said he is “another victim out of this deal.”
The day after King notified Long of this recording, Osberg, Hughes and Ellefson filed a motion seeking to withdraw as Price’s attorneys.
Based on the comments made in the recording of Price’s jail visit, King’s concerns and after meeting with Price last week, the three defense attorneys say they have an ethical conflict that cannot be resolved.
The three attorneys want the public defender’s office to seek substitute attorneys for Price.
Long will consider the attorneys’ request to withdraw today.
Price was accused of killing his sister, Elizabeth “Lisa” A. Price, and her boyfriend, David R. Dishneau.
Price remains in the Eau Claire County Jail on a $1 million cash bail.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Sept. 30, 2017, authorities had searched Price’s property, and a silver Cadillac was found in a wooded area off a trail. Blood was on both front seats, and blood spatter was on the inside of the driver’s side.
The bodies of Lisa Price and Dishneau were found in a shallow grave just north of the vehicle on Wayne Price’s property, located near Beaver Creek in an isolated rural area about four miles east of Beaver Creek Reserve in eastern Eau Claire County.
The shootings of Lisa Price and Dishneau were believed to have occurred around Sept. 23, 2017, in a Cadillac owned by Price’s employer.
Wayne Price was taken into custody Sept. 29, 2017, in the parking lot of the Fall Creek fire station after he confessed to a man that he got involved in a drug deal and did something “really stupid.” Price told the man he shot two people and would be going to prison.
Earlier in the day, the man told law enforcement that Price had called him, told him he needed to get to Price’s house with a gun and said his life had been threatened. Price, at the time, was on his way back from the Tomah area in his semitrailer truck.
Unable to leave work and go to Price’s home, the man said he thought he should call law enforcement.
Following Price’s arrest, law enforcement officers found a container that tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine in the semi he had been driving.
An autopsy conducted Oct. 2, 2017, in Madison showed Lisa Price was shot once in the head and also had an injury on the top of her head that was consistent with blunt force trauma. Dishneau was shot twice in the head and once in the neck.