Murder suspect appears in court

Published 8:41 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The suspect in a shooting that rocked Jemison appeared in court Wednesday for the first time.

Eric Heath Price, 25, has been charged with murder in the shooting death of his wife, Leaj Jarvis Price.

Eric Heath Price allegedly shot Leaj Marie Jarvis Price on Wednesday at Jemison Internal Medicine, a doctor’s office near the couple’s residence, as she tried to escape him.

District Judge Rhonda Hardesty went over with Eric Heath Price his charges and rights on Wednesday, as he appeared in a courtroom at the Chilton County Courthouse wearing a pink jumpsuit issued by the Chilton County Jail.

In addition to the murder charge, which carries a punishment of 10 years to life in prison, Price also faces three charges of making terrorist threats.

Price told Hardesty that he didn’t understand the charges, and she explained that they stem from him pointing a gun at three different people in the doctor’s office during the incident, including a doctor.

Price has been held at Chilton County Jail following his release from a hospital Tuesday. Assistant district attorney Dan Cowell asked Hardesty that no bond be set, or if it were, for a minimum of $1 million.

Cowell said Price told officers he intended to kill himself and that the gun used in the alleged murder was purchased on April 8, five days before the shooting.

Cowell also relayed a conversation Price had with medics on his way to the hospital. Cowell said Price asked if Leaj Marie Jarvis Price had “made it.” Cowell said Eric Heath Price was pleased when he was told she died and has shown no remorse.

“We just don’t know what he would do out in public,” Cowell said.

Price will have a preliminary hearing within 30 days.

Ellison Memorial Funeral Home, a press release Wednesday, announced that visitation for Leaj Marie Jarvis Price, 24, would be held from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home, located at 1709 Lay Dam Road in Clanton.

Funeral services will be Friday at the funeral home. Burial will follow in New Cedron Baptist Church in Billingsley.

A fund has been set up to assist the family and Price’s young son, according to the release, at Leaj Marie Jarvis Price Memorial Fund C/O Peoples Southern Bank, P.O. Box 269 Clanton, AL 35046.

“We ask that everyone continue to uplift this family in your thoughts and prayers, and please respect their privacy during this very difficult time,” J. Aaron Ellison, owner of Ellison Memorial Funeral Home, said in the release.

Price’s parents, Margaret and Mark Johnson, also released a statement:

“Our family would like to thank the many law enforcement agencies that responded to and worked the scene this past Monday. We would like to especially give a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Jay Patel and the patient in his office who tried so desperately to help Leaj. Our family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support that we have received from so many during this very difficult time in our lives.”