San Francisco home explosion suspect charged for wife's death
SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco District Attorney charged a husband for allegedly killing his wife when their home-- an alleged makeshift drug lab-- exploded in a fireball so large that it rattled the house off its foundation.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins charged 53-year-old Darron Price with multiple felony charges on Wednesday, including involuntary manslaughter, drug manufacturing and two counts of child endangerment, among others.
The child endangerment charges include his two children ages 14 and 17.
Officials said the Feb. 10 blast killed Price's wife, 51-year-old Rita Price and burning his caregiver. A GoFundMe identified the injured woman as a caretaker from Thailand.
Price remains in custody.
Prosecutors said the defendant was processing hash oil at the home, a dangerous operation involving highly flammable chemicals. Authorities said that is what led to the blast on Feb. 9 at the home, located on the 1700 block of 22nd Avenue in San Francisco's Sunset district.
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In court on Wednesday, prosecutors said fumes from the drug manufacturing operation were ignited by a dryer. Investigators said some of the chemicals and devices used to process cannabis into hash oil are similar to those used in making methamphetamine.
"We are not talking about somebody growing marijuana or plants, or in plant form. We're talking about something that was extremely flammable and dangerous," Jenkins said.
Price's attorney argued that she had just received information on the case and asked to delay entering a plea, which the judge granted.
"It is horrific what his family is going through and what he is going through and the amount of pain that they are processing while having Mr. Price in custody is impossible to describe," said Sierra Villaran, deputy public defender.
The defense also successfully argued that Price should be allowed to speak with the couple's two teenaged children who were not home at the time of the explosion. The judge agreed and as the children are mooring the loss of their mother. However, the children are potential witnesses so Price and his children are allowed to discuss the charges he is facing.
"Obviously we vehemently deny these accusations and I think that once all the evidence is turned over, discovered, reviewed by experts and further investigated that Mr. Price will be exonerated," said Villaran added.
A home next door was also a complete loss. Neighbors said they thought they were experiencing an earthquake. Windows from nearby homes were blown out as a result of the blast.
"When I saw my house broken, my heart is broken too," said Linda Wang, a neighbor whose home was damaged.
Price is scheduled to be back in court on Friday.