54-year-old David Price III, former owner of the now-closed Hog Wild BBQ and Catering in Howell, was charged in 2016 with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct involving two separate cases. The case became bogged down, however, after a ruling to exclude evidence in his case was challenged by the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office.
That challenge went to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which ruled that Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty did not engage in the proper legal analysis when deciding the motion to exclude the prior acts because he had failed to determine if they were “relevant to the existence of a scheme or plan” related to Price’s alleged intent to use his position as employer to perpetuate a sexual assault while controlling the surroundings to gain “the element of surprise.” The case was then remanded back to Hatty to decide the motion based on the proper legal standard.
A final settlement conference had been set for December 13th; however, a motion to dismiss the case was filed that day by Prosecuting Attorney Shawn Ryan. The motion states that the people are unable to proceed in the case due to the death of one victim and the inability to locate the other. The motion was granted and the case was dismissed without prejudice.
Price was charged after two 20-year-old women alleged he assaulted them soon after they started work at the restaurant. The first alleged assault occurred in November 2014, with the second in August of 2015. Authorities say DNA evidence gathered after the first assault matches Price. He claimed the sex in both instances was consensual. (DK)