Man Sentenced for Killing Serena and Venus Williams' Sister Was Released This Year — Then Was Re-Arrested
Robert Maxfield, whom authorities said killed Serena Williams' older sister Yetunde Price in 2003, was freed this year after serving nearly 15 years
The man whom authorities said fatally shot Serena and Venus Williams‘ older sister Yetunde Price in 2003 was released from prison earlier this year, after more than a decade behind bars, PEOPLE confirms.
However, Robert Edward Maxfield was re-arrested on Friday night in Compton, California, after allegedly violating his parole, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and jail records.
Maxfield was subsequently released around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, the county jail log shows. PEOPLE’s efforts to reach him directly were unsuccessful.
A law enforcement source confirms that the Maxfield arrested last week was the same one as in Price’s case.
The nature of the alleged parole violation was unclear. It was not clear if Maxfield has been back in court since his Friday arrest.
A spokesman with the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, who confirmed Maxfield’s release from prison, was not immediately able to comment on his new arrest.
Speaking generically, DOC spokesman Luis Patiño tells PEOPLE that someone who violates their parole then goes before a judge and could have their parole revoked, at which point they would be sent back to jail.
Maxfield, now 38, pleaded no contest in 2006 to voluntary manslaughter in Price’s death just after midnight on Sept. 14, 2003, the Associated Press previously reported. He had been charged with murder but accepted the lesser count on the eve of his third trial, following two mistrials.
(A no-contest plea essentially has the same effect as a guilty plea, but the defendant does not admit the accusations against them.)
Maxfield was sentenced in April 2006 to 15 years in prison, the L.A. Times reported, and he was paroled in March, according to state corrections officials.
Patiño, the DOC spokesman, could not say for how long Maxfield was set to be paroled after his release — but he disputed reports that Maxfield was freed “early.”
Maxfield served nearly three years in jail, between his arrest and sentencing, and was then placed in prison where he served nearly another 12 years, according to Patiño.
Price, a 31-year-old mother of three at the time of her death, was a nurse and the owner of a hair salon, according to a previous PEOPLE report. She also worked as a personal assistant to her tennis superstar sisters, Serena and Venus.
She was one of the Williams’ three other sisters, a half-sibling from a previous relationship between their mother, Oracene Price, and Yusef Rasheed.
The Williams sisters have not commented on Maxfield’s release. (Prosecutors also declined to comment.) But Serena reportedly faced him in court in 2006.
She said then that she initially wasn’t “going to speak … because it’s too hard for me to talk.”
However, she said she wanted to tell Maxfield “that this was unfair to our family, and our family has always been positive and we always try to help people,” according to the Times.
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L.A. County prosecutors have said Maxfield allegedly opened fire with an assault weapon on Price’s SUV, with her boyfriend behind the wheel, as they traveled down East Greenleaf Boulevard near a suspected drug house in 2003.
Price was hit in the back of the head about a mile from the playground where her sisters began playing tennis, according to the AP, the Times and previous PEOPLE reports.
Maxfield was a member of the Southside Crips gang, prosecutors argued, and the shooting was retaliation on who he thought was another gang member.
(Charges against a second suspect in the case, who also allegedly opened fire on Price’s vehicle, were ultimately dropped following a mistrial.)
Rolland Wormley, Price’s boyfriend at the time, was not hit in the shooting. Speaking with the Times later in 2003, Wormley recalled of that night:
“I’m trying to get through this. I’m trying to get away, I’m trying to get her to safety. Once I get to Long Beach Boulevard, I see the back window is shattered. I look to the right and said, ‘Baby, are you all right?’ I look at [Price] and there was blood everywhere.”
The surprise slaying sent shockwaves through the Williams family. In an interview with PEOPLE in 2007, Serena said it was “still hard for me to talk about.”
“Yetunde and I were so close; she changed my diapers,” Serena said. “But I finally came to an acceptance of things.”
Price’s siblings opened the Yetunde Price Resource Center, in Compton, in late 2016.
“We definitely wanted to honor our sister’s memory because she was a great sister, she was our oldest sister and obviously she meant a lot to us,” Serena said then, according to The Root. “And it meant a lot to us, to myself and to Venus and my other sisters as well, Isha and Lyndrea, that we’ve been wanting to do something for years in memory of her, especially the way it happened, a violent crime.”
• With reporting by JULIE JORDAN