Police say Charleston man fatally shot in retaliation for reporting abuse
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police asked a Charleston man to take a lie detector test 48 hours before they said he killed a man who reported child sexual abuse allegations against him.
Patrick Michael Price, 34, had told police he was working out of town but would eventually cooperate with their investigation, Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper told reporters Tuesday.
However, on Sunday night, Price went to the home of Michael Gene Cassell, 36, at 926 Red Oak St. on Charleston's West Side and shot him to death, police said. Price then fatally shot himself at the scene.
Cooper said Price retaliated because Cassell had reported Price to Child Protective Services for the alleged sexual abuse of Price's young female relative.
Cassell's family members said on Monday that he was targeted for trying to protect the 14-year-old girl. They described Price as a violent man.
Detectives opened an investigation late January but didn't have enough evidence then to charge Price with any crime, Cooper said. The girl provided inconsistent statements and was afraid to cooperate, he said.
"Unfortunately you have to be able to prove a case in court and we were not ready at that point," he said.
Detectives continued investigating and had asked Price to come in for an interview and to take a lie detector test.
The alleged victim plays with Cassell's stepdaughter and the young girl told Michael Cassell about the alleged abuse, Cooper said.
Price confronted Cassell and the two men began a contentious relationship that eventually led to the slaying, Cooper said.
"It's a real tragedy that shows Mr. Price was a very dangerous person," he said. "Without even being able to charge him with a crime, we sensed he may be a volatile-type person."
Cooper said the sexual abuse investigation is still open and detectives are looking into another person's alleged involvement in the abuse. Child Protective Service authorities also are investigating.
Reach Travis Crum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5163.