Facing a possible death sentence, a 43-year-old Pine Bluff parolee who killed two women and a girl in a midday rampage through the victims' Little Rock home has accepted a 100-year prison sentence.
Sentencing papers filed Thursday show Torrence Deshawn Price pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder, each reduced from capital murder, in exchange for the 100-year term imposed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright.
Price will have to serve 70 years before he can qualify for parole. The sentence was negotiated by Price's public defender team of Lott Rolfe and Brett Qualls and prosecutors Jeanna Sherrill and John Johnson.
Johnson said Friday that authorities aren't completely certain why Price killed the victims, but said there is evidence that Price was looking to collect a debt from another woman, a former girlfriend who had moved out of the house about three months before the killings. She had known all three of the victims.
"As best as we call tell, that's the motive we can piece together," the prosecutor said.
Killed were Sydne Elise Bolden, 14; her aunt, Dontriece Danielle Hughes, 26; and Ramonda Holmes, 24. Police reports show several children, the youngest 2, saw the June 13, 2019, attack at 4601 W. 16th St. Hughes had two children, and Holmes was the mother of three. Police were called when the terrified children showed up at a neighbor's home on Princeton Drive about 2 p.m.
Police arrived and found a pool of blood on the front porch. Through an open window they could see Price in the living room, smoking a cigarette and standing next to the body of a half-naked woman facedown on the floor.
Officers climbed through a window to get to Price, taking him into custody at gunpoint. His clothes were bloody, and he had a .40-caliber pistol, also flecked with blood, in his waistband.
Once in the room, police saw a second body, with her pants down. Price told officers that he'd just found the victims and directed them to the third body, also partially undressed. They all had been shot. Price told officers at the scene that he had just arrived at the house and discovered the bodies.
But neighbors said they had seen a man leave the house in a white Ford F-150 pickup and drive around the block before returning and parking in front of the house. The truck was still there when police arrived.
Price wouldn't answer investigators' questions and asked for a lawyer, but indicated the pickup was his.
Police found blood on truck's driver-door handle, steering wheel, brake pedal and driver's floor mat and collected five .40-caliber shell casings from the house.
Hughes' 8-year-old daughter said she was out front playing when she saw a bald man talking to her mother just before the shooting started. She then saw the man run toward Sydne on the front porch. The girl said she thought he was trying to save Sydne, but instead he grabbed the girl by the arm, dragged her into the house and shot her.
Holmes' 5-year-old daughter said she saw the man shoot Sydne in the stomach and shoot her mom and Hughes.
The pickup Price was driving was owned by Beverly Patterson of Pine Bluff, who told detectives she had been dating Price for about two weeks and that he was living with her.
Patterson told investigators that on the day of the killings, she had gone to work but left Price her truck to drive. Patterson said she last seen Price when he arrived at her job about 9:30 a.m. and spent her 15-minute break with him. She said she texted him at 1:01 p.m. and he'd responded three minutes later, stating "I love you more, babe."
Records show Price was a parolee who had been sent to prison four times. His first sentence was for 3½ years in 1995 for three counts of robbery. In 2000, he received a six-year term in Jefferson County for residential and commercial burglaries.
Two years later, Price was arrested in June 2002 after forcing his way into a woman's Pine Bluff apartment with a gun. He told arresting officers that he was running from some drug dealers who were trying to kill him because he owed them money and that he had gotten the pistol from a friend to protect himself.
Price subsequently pleaded guilty to a federal gun charge and was sentenced to eight years in prison in November 2004. He was released from the federal penitentiary in November 2011.
Less than a year later, while living in Little Rock, Price pawned a rifle and a shotgun, one of them stolen, in the city in October 2012, which resulted in his arrest on state charges of theft by receiving and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
He pleaded guilty to those charges in June 2013 in exchange for a 20-year prison. He was approved for parole in November 2016.