click below to fill out the form to oppose the parole of David McGee
In the summer of 2000, 19 year-old David Peet was working at a comedy club in a suburb of Cincinnati. David had just finished his first year of college at the University of Cincinnati in the urban planning program, but had switched majors to the highly selective industrial design program. His dream was to design toys for a living. David, a talented artist and musician, loved to bring art to life and to bring happiness to those around him. At the comedy club where he worked, David could memorize a comedian’s routine after hearing it once, and then “play” it back for friends and family to enjoy.
On August 13, a Sunday night, David got off work and went to a club near the university with some co-workers. Around 11:30p he told them he was leaving early because his mother was home by herself. His sister, who had just gotten married the week before, was out of town on her honeymoon, and his father was on a back country fishing trip in Alaska. David told his friends he was going to stop at Taco Bell for a late night snack on his way home.
On that same night, McGee recruited his friend Michael Price to “hit a lick” or to rob somebody. McGee’s plan was to stake out the parking lot at the nearby Taco Bell to find a mark. Price brought a pistol with him, and had it in his pocket as they waited and watched. Then they saw young David pull up by himself and they chose him as their target.
They approached David and asked him for a ride. They explained that they were stranded and it was a long walk, but a short ride to where they were going. David initially refused and told them he was not familiar with the area, but they were persistent. Eventually they got David to reluctantly agree and the two climbed into the car. They directed him out of the area and then had him pull over. That is when Price pulled out the pistol and they ordered David from the car. At gunpoint they walked him to the back of the car. David freely gave them his wallet and money, and begged them not to kill him. He began to cry as they stuffed him into the hatchback area of the small car.
McGee and Price got back in the car, with Price driving because he knew how to drive a manual transmission car and McGee didn’t. In their later statements, McGee and Price’s stories diverge at this point. According to McGee, Price kept the gun, but according to Price he handed the gun to McGee because he needed both hands to drive the stick shift car. Additionally, the hatchback area where they stuffed David was open to the backseat of the car and they needed to continue controlling David. Both agree that David continued to cry and beg for his life as they drove away.
Price drove them to a secluded industrial area, and down to the end of a dead end street. They got David out of the car and walked him to a small wooded area near some railroad tracks. They put David down on his knees, and according to Price, McGee put the pistol to his head and fired four shots. They left his body there and drove off. They stripped the stereo equipment out of the car and Price dropped McGee off at a relative’s house. Price then went to dispose of the car by dousing it with lighter fluid and setting it ablaze.
A passerby spotted David’s body the next day and police were summoned. They found him lying where McGee had left him, dead. Police recovered a pager from David’s waistband that was repeatedly going off. Through the pager they were able to identify the body and contact the family. David’s mother received the news by herself. She was eventually able to get in contact with David’s father who had to get out of the back country and find his way home. David’s sister returned from her honeymoon to find her younger brother had been murdered.
From talking to friends and co-workers, police were able to track David’s movements to the Taco Bell and a plea for information was put out through Crime Stoppers. Another young man came forward with information. He had also been at that Taco Bell and approached by McGee and Price, but he did not give them a ride. His information led police to another individual who knew McGee and who told police McGee had confided in him what happened. Police subsequently arrested McGee and he told them it was his plan to commit the robbery with Price. McGee, of course, laid the blame for David’s murder on Price and vice versa.
Both were indicted for Aggravated Murder, Kidnapping and Aggravated Robbery. Because he was 17 years old, McGee had to be bound over from the juvenile court and the murder could not be charged as a death penalty case. Price, who was only one year older, was charged with capital murder, but entered into a plea arrangement to avoid the death penalty. David, who was only 19 years old at the time, was sentenced to death by McGee and Price. They carried out that sentence as David cried and begged for his life. Because he wanted some money, and to cover up his crime, McGee murdered a promising young man whose only crime was that he tried to help a stranger. Had David refused like the other young man did, he would have lived that night.
McGee is still a young man, who has not even turned 40 years old yet. Even at his young age, he has already lived 20 years longer than David Peet. While the pistol may have been Price’s, the plan to rob someone that night was McGee’s. And, Price’s explanation that he handed the pistol to McGee so that he could drive makes more sense than McGee’s claim that Price kept the pistol. What is clear is that the two of them executed their plan together, shared in the proceeds of the robbery and should share in the punishment as well. Price is serving Life without the possibility of parole, and while that sentence was not available for McGee, this Board should deny McGee the opportunity to live the life he stole from David Peet. The Hamilton County Prosecutors Office strongly opposes early release for David McGee.