Longtime Syracuse defense attorney Richard Priest dies at 88

Longtime defense attorney Richard Priest died this week at age 88, his relatives said Friday.

Longtime defense attorney Richard Priest died this week at age 88, his relatives said Friday.

Priest died at residence surrounded by loved ones, according to his daughter, Margaret Silky.

He is survived by his spouse Ellen, and his youngsters Richard Jr., James, William, Robert, Linda Sheedy, Kathleen Celeste, Margaret Silky and Thomas.

Priest graduated from Georgetown Regulation Faculty, served as a member of the Maritime Corps, labored for the CIA and at first landed a task as counsel for the Syracuse Law enforcement Division just before starting to be a protection attorney.

He was married to his wife, Ellen Priest, for 42 many years. The two labored in the exact same observe for a range of years. Ellen Priest joked her husband employed to attempt to give her instances he didn’t want in advance of she went into actual estate legislation.

“It was either his circumstance or my situation,” Ellen Priest joked.

Priest defended individuals in a range of Syracuse’s most significant-profile conditions. He defended Eugene Bersani, who was the accused bagman in the federal corruption case involving former Syracuse mayor Lee Alexander.

He later on also defended Jeff Cahill, who was convicted of poisoning his spouse with cyanide, in one particular of New York State’s previous loss of life penalty circumstances.

As not long ago as 2016, Priest took on Rashaad Walker Sr. as a defendant. Walker was accused of capturing and killing a gentleman in Syracuse immediately after his individual toddler was shot and killed. He would sooner or later be sentenced to 40 yrs in jail.

Men and women who understood Priest said that he held his perception of humor during his career.

Richard Priest, 88, defended shoppers in some of Syracuse’s most large-profile situations (Courtesy of Margaret Silky).

Ellen Priest recalled one of her husband’s wisecracks from when a single of his defendants fell asleep throughout his demo.

“That’s mainly because he had the utmost faith in me,” she remembers her spouse joking.

Onondaga County District Lawyer William Fitzpatrick and Richard Priest had overlapping longtime professions and relished swapping stories, Fitzpatrick claimed.

“I produced a snide remark at the time in response to a person of his motions and 40 years later on he would continue to torture me about it, specially on the golf system,” Fitzpatrick said.

Priest was an avid golfer and performed at Bellevue Region Club from the time he was 3 decades previous.

In spite of retiring from training legislation in 2017, Ellen Priest reported, her husband’s exercise frequently been given phone calls asking for Richard.

Just last week, she claimed his outdated practice received a contact inquiring for him.

“What do you mean, ‘retired’?” the caller stated when they have been advised he retired.

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