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Man Convicted of Animal Cruelty Now Charged with Murder

By Erin Meyer | April 8, 2013 4:13pm | Updated on April 8, 2013 4:57pm
 Robert Easter, 28, of the 3800 block of South State Street, is charged with murder in the February shooting death of Donald Price.
Robert Easter, 28, of the 3800 block of South State Street, is charged with murder in the February shooting death of Donald Price.
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Bronzeville man who recently served time in jail for cruelty to animals is now charged with murder.

Robert Easter, 29, of the 3800 block of South State Street, is accused in the Feb. 23 shooting death of Donald Price.

According to Cook County prosecutors, Price, 32, was standing outside a house in the 4800 block of West Ferdinand Street at about 5:30 p.m. when Easter allegedly approached on foot and opened fire.

Witnesses later identified Easter as the shooter, Assistant State's Attorney Melissa Samp said.

He was ordered held without bail by a Cook County judge on Monday.

Easter, who has an extensive criminal history in Illinois and Minnesota, has been convicted on charges including possession of a controlled substance, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and assault.

He served several stints in jail, most recently a 30-day sentence for cruelty to animals.

Price, gunned down outside his childhood home in the Austin neighborhood, also had a criminal past.

Convicted of second-degree murder, he had been released from prison about eight months prior to his death after serving only a portion of his sentence.

Days after the murder, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy pointed to the case as evidence that stiffer sentences for gun violence are needed.

"This murder could well have been prevented had Price still been incarcerated under another sentencing guideline," said McCarthy, according to a report published by ABC7 News.

Police listed Price's death as a gang-related murder, but family members said Price was cleaning up his act. They said Price was "reconstructing his life" and had recently enrolled at Malcolm X College.

Lamenting Chicago gun violence, also family members said at the time of Price's death that his brother, Melvin Jones, 26, had been shot to death in Humboldt Park in 2005.