A former naval officer has pleaded guilty in the stabbing death of his wife in Loudoun County, Virginia, but the couples' teenage daughters are speaking out against the plea deal that would spare him a life sentence.
A family that's emerged in the wake of the tragedy entered the courthouse together Thursday: sisters Arielle and Celina with their adoptive parents, who welcomed the girls and another sibling into their home after their mother's death.
The teenagers stepped inside the courthouse Thursday to witness their father pleading guilty to killing their mother. In court, Frank Price admitted to the crime, but in exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to a 42-year prison term — short of the life term for which his daughters had hoped.
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Celina made her wishes about the punishment clear.
"He didn't just take my mom's life; he took all of our lives away and messed all of our lives up, so I think he should get a life sentence and none less than that," she said.
Prosecutors say they wanted to avoid the risk of a trial, to avoid putting the girls through more pain.
"We not only limit the appeals process, bring closure, heal wounds of the family, but we make sure a gentleman is incarcerated and held accountable and not in a position to harm anyone," Loudoun County Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Bruce Johnson said.
But Celina said with what's she's been through, she feels she's strong enough to endure a trial. She now worries about what her father might do when he's eligible for release in his 80s.
"He could get out and although he's really old, he might not be able to physically hurt us, but he could definitely still mentally hurt us," she said.
The judge is awaiting more information on sentencing guidelines before deciding whether to accept the plea.
Both sisters were also remembering their mom Thursday.
"She was just a great mom. She raised us very well," Arielle said.
"She was a hero to me and my siblings. She was so kind; she always listened to us," Celina said. "So she really sacrificed herself for the safety of us."
There was also another victim in the case. When Frank Price fled the murder scene, he crashed his car head-on into another vehicle in the South Riding area.
The other driver, Kathy "KC" Kaso, was seriously injured and is permanently disabled as a result of the crash. With braces on both legs, using arm crutches to walk, she attended court with her husband Thursday. The charge connected with her case — reckless endangerment — was dropped as part of the plea agreement.
Kaso tells News4 that she went to court to show support for Winsome Price's daugthers. She also believes Frank Price deserves a life sentence.
The families will be back in court Nov. 18 to learn the judge's decision.