The Michigan Court of Appeals heard oral arguments yesterday in a sexual assault case involving a former Howell business owner.

52-year-old David Price III, owner of the now-closed Hog Wild BBQ and Catering in Howell, was charged in two separate cases with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. A ruling to exclude evidence in his case is being challenged, which was heard Tuesday in Lansing by a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The charges stem from allegations made by two 20-year-old women who were fairly new employees at Hog Wild when each incident occurred. The first assault occurred on the victim’s first day of work in November 2014, and on the third day of work for the other victim in August of 2015. Price claims the sex in both instances was consensual.

The first victim went to St. Joe’s Livingston following the alleged assault. The evidence gathered from that visit matched up with Price’s DNA. However, she passed away in 2016. In January of this year, a judge granted a motion on behalf of Price that excluded evidence of prior acts from being admitted as evidence in the current case against him. The Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office then appealed. There’s no timeline on when the appeals panel will issue a ruling, but it could take several months. (JK)