Longtime Syracuse defense attorney Richard Priest dies at 88

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

Priest died at home surrounded by relatives, according to his daughter, Margaret Silky.

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

Priest graduated from Georgetown Regulation University, served as a member of the Marine Corps, labored for the CIA and at first landed a work as counsel for the Syracuse Law enforcement Department in advance of getting to be a defense legal professional.

He was married to his wife, Ellen Priest, for 42 many years. The two labored in the identical practice for a variety of several years. Ellen Priest joked her spouse used to consider to give her circumstances he did not want right before she went into actual estate legislation.

“It was both his situation or my scenario,” Ellen Priest joked.

Priest defended people in a variety of Syracuse’s most higher-profile situations. He defended Eugene Bersani, who was the accused bagman in the federal corruption situation involving former Syracuse mayor Lee Alexander.

He later also defended Jeff Cahill, who was convicted of poisoning his wife with cyanide, in just one of New York State’s very last dying penalty instances.

As recently as 2016, Priest took on Rashaad Walker Sr. as a defendant. Walker was accused of taking pictures and killing a guy in Syracuse following his own toddler was shot and killed. He would inevitably be sentenced to 40 many years in jail.

Men and women who realized Priest stated that he held his feeling of humor all over his job.

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

Ellen Priest recalled a person of her husband’s wisecracks from when a person of his defendants fell asleep all through his trial.

“That’s simply because he had the utmost religion in me,” she remembers her husband joking.

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

“I created a snide remark at the time in reaction to one particular of his motions and 40 decades later he would continue to torture me about it, primarily on the golfing study course,” Fitzpatrick mentioned.

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

Despite retiring from working towards law in 2017, Ellen Priest explained, her husband’s follow frequently acquired calls inquiring for Richard.

Just final 7 days, she reported his old exercise been given a simply call asking for him.

“What do you suggest, ‘retired’?” the caller explained when they have been informed he retired.

Received a tip, comment or tale notion? Speak to Chris Libonati via the Signal application for encrypted messaging at 585-290-0718, by cell phone at the very same variety, by e mail or on Twitter.

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