Slaying suspect arrested in assault on police weeks before killing

2013-12-28T00:00:00Z Slaying suspect arrested in assault on police weeks before killingBy Kimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Seven weeks before Linda Daley was found slain in her Tucson home, the woman suspected of killing her was arrested on charges of assaulting two police officers.

The suspect was also living in the victim’s home at the time of the homicide, a court document revealed.

Michelle Marie Price, 39, was still on probation for stabbing her child’s father in 2008 when she drove to Tucson Police Department headquarters on South Stone Avenue on Oct. 3, according to a report.

She walked up to the information window and said she needed to speak with an officer, according to the police report.

When the officer at the window told her it was a secure building and she needed to explain herself before she could enter, Price said, “Never mind,” and walked away.

She returned moments later and began pounding on the window and kicking the glass panes in the door. When several officers went outside and told her to stop, Price began grappling with them, striking two of them before they could cuff her.

“Once handcuffed, Price said that she needed to commit crimes so she could go to jail,” according to one of the officers.

The case is pending in Tucson City Court. A warrant for her arrest was issued Nov. 19 when she failed to make a court appearance in the case. The arrest warrant was issued three days before Price is accused of killing Daley.

Following Daley’s Nov. 21 homicide, but before being charged in the killing, Price was jailed and her probation was revoked.

The Dec. 2 petition, filed in Pima County Superior Court by the Adult Probation Department, stated her probation should be revoked because Price failed to notify the department about a change of address, failed to report to the department as required, and failed to take her prescribed medications as ordered.

Even though Price was jailed after the assault case involving police, her probation was not revoked at that time.

Representatives from the Pima County Adult Probation Department did not return phone messages by deadline Friday regarding the case.

Price is still on probation for the 2008 assault during which she stabbed the father of her child in the chest.

According to documents from the 2008 case, Price had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2002, and was later diagnosed as delusional and schizophrenic. 

Prior to the stabbing, Price had stopped taking her medication, court records stated.

On the day of the stabbing, Price took her daughter to visit the child’s father, but “the visit escalated and the defendant stabbed the victim in the chest resulting in a collapsed lung,” according to a Pretrial Services report.

Price told police she brought the kitchen knife with her because she “wanted to kill him for mind manipulation and coercing her into loving him,” according to the presentencing report.

While in jail awaiting trial, Price was given her medication, and a court-ordered psychiatric exam found her competent.

Originally charged with attempted first-degree murder, Price took a deal that allowed her to plead guilty to two counts each of aggravated assault, serious physical injury and domestic violence. She was sentenced to the nine months she had already served in jail and five years probation. She also had to pay $16,800 in restitution to the victim.

Price’s probation was twice extended for failing to pay restitution, which is why she was still on probation when accused of killing Daley.

On Dec. 19, Price was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Daley, a 65-year-old artist.

Price had been living in Daley’s home when the slaying occurred, according to a court document. The two women knew each other because Price was an acquaintance of Daley’s daughter, said Sgt. Chris Widmer, Tucson Police Department spokesman.

On Nov. 21, police responded to a check-welfare call in the 1800 block of West Pueblo Vista Boulevard, just south of “A” Mountain. A neighbor checking on Daley found her lying in a pool of blood inside the home. Daley was pronounced dead at the scene. Two dogs were also killed. Two days earlier Price had shown up at Daley’s home looking for a place to stay with her dog, according to an interim complaint filed in Pima County Justice Court.

After Price moved in, Daley confided to a neighbor that she was going to have to talk to Price “about some housekeeping issues she was upset over,” the complaint states. Later that night, the neighbor saw Price leave the home in her car, without her dog.

In the morning, the neighbor “went over to her house to check on her and found the victim, her dog and (the) defendant’s dog all deceased in the home. All sustained trauma from weapons left behind in the home,” the complaint states.

When police searched Daley’s home, they found a baseball bat, a handgun and a knife, according to the search warrant.

Police found Price at a south-side motel the next day. In the room, they found prescription medication and “mental health paperwork,” according to the search warrant.

Found in Price’s car was a written confession “in which she indicated she killed the victim, the victim’s dog and her own dog. There were no other indicators anyone else had been in the victim’s home the previous night besides the defendant,” the complaint states.

Ellen Davis lived around the corner from her friend Daley, and she knew Price, too.

“Linda was a very generous and kind person, and if she had what you wanted, she’d share it,” Davis said. “If you need her, she would be there.

“It was always Linda willing to help Michelle out when she needed a place to stay. Linda asked Michelle to housesit for her once.”

Price had told Davis about stabbing the father of her child, but she did not go into detail.

“Eventually the baby was taken away from her. When I met her, the baby was about to be adopted, and she was trying like mad to get her baby back,” Davis said. “She just seemed like a normal mother who made a mistake, and now she was losing her baby and she just wanted to get her back.”

Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at kmatas@azstarnet.com or at 573-4191.

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