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R.I. murderer sues over prison transfer

PROVIDENCE -- Craig Price, the notorious teen killer of four people in Warwick, R.I., in the 1980s, has sued the state Department of Correction to undo his transfer to a Florida prison.

Price, now 32, was transferred to Florida in October 2004 after he became eligible to come off restricted security status at the High Security Center in Cranston. Officials believed it was unsafe to take him off restrictive status and give him more privileges inside the prison, because of his notoriety. Price agreed to the out-of-state transfer, but he didn't know where he would be sent.

The federal lawsuit accuses state Corrections Director A.T. Wall and two assistants of violating Price's civil rights by retaliating against him after Price sued for greater access to psychological treatment programs in 2003. Price has been acting as his own lawyer.

The Providence Journal reported the suit seeks any of three options: a court order for Price to be returned to Rhode Island prisons and provided with psychological treatment; an order for a hearing to explore transferring Price to the federal prison system, so the ''plaintiff could receive and engage in adequate and meaningful rehabilitation and court-ordered treatment"; or an order for a hearing to explore a transfer to another state that offers a range of treatment programs

A corrections spokesperson had no comment on the suit, saying the department hadn't been properly served with the complaint. The spokesperson said Price's transfer last year was voluntary, and that it would review any action he takes to return.

Price has been in custody since 1989, when he admitted to the murders of Joan Heaton and her daughters, Melissa and Jennifer. He also confessed to a 1987 murder of a woman in his neighborhood, when he was 13.

Price was originally sentenced to juvenile detention until he was 21, the harshest penalty available at the time. In 1993, Price was found guilty of making threats after he screamed at a guard. The state also charged him with criminal contempt for refusing to take a court-ordered psychiatric exam. Those charges, and three fights in prison, have pushed his projected release date to 2022.

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