A man who kidnapped and killed a 10-year-old Florida girl has been released from prison and placed in a treatment center after serving just three and a half years behind bars, the Associated Press reports.
Chester Duane Price was released from the Dade Correctional Facility Thursday and committed to the Florida Civil Commitment Center, which operates a sex offender residential treatment program.
Price was convicted in 2014 of aggravated manslaughter of a child and kidnaping-aggravated child abuse in connection with the 1993 death of Andrea Parsons.
Police believe Price and accomplice Claude Davis — who had lived across the street from the Parsons family — grabbed the girl as she was leaving a grocery store north of Palm Beach and forced her into a van.
Davis told police that Price is the one who kidnapped Parsons and that she bit him when he tried to kiss her, causing him to bleed. Authorities believe the men then killed Parsons and disposed of her body, which has never been found.
Davis’ account later changed and false imprisonment charges against him were dropped for a lack of evidence. The case fell dormant for some time until 2012, when investigators arrested Price after they traveled to Alabama to speak with him regarding a separate assault, records show.
Davis was set to be a key witness against Price, but Davis died in 2013. Price then pleaded no contest to the kidnapping and manslaughter charges. He was sentenced to 10 years on each count, minus the time he had already spent in jail.
A judge allowed the prison terms to be served at the same time instead of back to back for both charges.
Prosecutors claimed the plea deal was the best possible outcome because the case was two decades old, Davis had died and the girl’s body had not been recovered.
Price’s short stint in prison is due in part to Florida law at the time of the crime that allowed offenders to get out of confinement early for good behavior.
Parsons’ mother, Linda Parsons, sent a letter to Price when he was sentenced in which she expressed disappointment with the relatively short prison term.
“The court system worked in your favor,” she wrote. “In a perfect world, you should have gotten the death penalty.”
[Feature Photo: Handout]