It was a horrific crime. A Loudoun County, Virginia, naval officer is accused of killing his wife, who was the mother of their three children.
Now, as Frank Price prepares to plead guilty to the crime, his oldest daughter is speaking out through her adoptive mom to say she’s opposed to the plea deal.
Relatives found 35-year-old Winsome Price dead in her Chantilly home on Oct. 28, 2017. She had reportedly decided to leave her husband. But that night, Price allegedly slashed his wife to death, nearly decapitating her.
The children were in the home.
Price fled, later crashing his car head-on into another vehicle. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
The couple's three children have since been adopted by Eve Gleason and her husband.
This week, on her Facebook page, Gleason posted a letter to Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj expressing the family’s concern with a plea agreement that would allow Price to avoid a life sentence.
The family had expected a trial to begin next month.
“We really feel like we weren’t really consulted. It’s a done deal by the time her office talked to us,” said Gleason.
Gleason says her oldest daughter, a teenager, has been adamant that she wants a full trial and wants her father to serve a life sentence.
The teen told her mom that she’s willing to testify.
“My oldest would say he took her mom’s life and it was particularly brutal,” Gleason said.
“She is highly motivated to get justice for Winsome, justice for her mom."
Gleason says the oldest child in particular has told her she doesn’t want to worry about her father ever gaining freedom and seeking out the children.
“She wants to ensure she and her siblings, her younger siblings, are safe from any pursuit by him in the future. That’s been a very important goal for her,” said Gleason.
Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Buta Buberaj says under the plea agreement, Price would be sentenced to life in prison with all but 42 years suspended, meaning he could be released from prison when he's in his 90s. “This is the equivalent of a life sentence,” said Biberaj in a written statement.
The commonwealth's attorney also said that not having a trial spares the children from testifying and avoids a long appeals process. Biberaj also says going to trial always carries some risk, and with COVID limitations, it could be some time before a jury could be impaneled, adding to the delay in resolving the case.
“Mr. Price is waiving his right to appeal the finding of guilt and the sentence. It includes Mr. Price accepting accountability - pleading guilty - for the murder of Winsome,” explained Biberaj. “Their children will not be subjected to hearing him plead 'not guilty' at the start of a trial. The children will not be subjected to the harm or potential harm of being responsible for their father being imprisoned for the rest of his natural life, 42 years.”
But Gleason and her daughter worry that with criminal justice reform efforts underway, Frank Price may not actually stay behind bars until he’s an old man.
“Our concern is the conditions could change, that he could get out with a lot less time served than what the commonwealth’s attorney has described,” said Gleason.
She says her publicly posted letter is getting a lot of community support.
In it, she wrote: “Winsome’s name matters. Her memory matters. She deserves the most complete justice possible through the Commonwealth of Virginia and so does her family who are victims of this crime.”
She hopes the commonwealth’s attorney will reconsider.
“I guess what I would say is listen to them, listen to the children,” Gleason said.
But Biberaj tells News4 the plea agreement is a binding contract that will be finalized at Price's plea hearing on Oct. 8.