Plea hearing rescheduled for Jemison murder suspect

Published 3:47 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The plea hearing for a Jemison man accused of killing his wife during a dispute in Jemison in April was rescheduled until Oct. 28.

Eric Heath Price, 26, faces one charge of murder in the shooting death of his wife, Leaj Jarvis Price, and three charges of making terrorist threats.

Court records show Price’s attorney filed a motion requesting the court to reschedule his plea hearing scheduled for Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. to a later time due to Price undergoing a psychiatric examination.

Chilton County Circuit Judge Ben A. Fuller filed an order rescheduling the plea hearing for Price until Oct. 28 at 8:30 a.m. to give enough time for the results of the psychiatric examination to be reviewed.

Price allegedly shot Leaj Price April 13 at Jemison Internal Medicine, a doctor’s office near the couple’s residence, as she tried to escape him.

The three charges of making terrorist threats stem from Price pointing a gun at three different people in the doctor’s office during the incident, including a doctor.

Price was indicted by an August grand jury in Chilton County.

Price remains in jail without a bond after Chilton County District Judge Rhonda Hardesty filed an order May 5 citing the nature of the offense charged, the probability of convictions, the likelihood of a lengthy sentence and the type of weapon used in the crime, a firearm, as reasons a bond would not be set in the case.

After the shooting at Jemison Internal Medicine, located off U.S. Highway 31 in Jemison, Price returned to the nearby home he shared with Leaj Price and barricaded himself inside, leading to a lengthy standoff with police.

Authorities said at the time of the incident that the suspect and victim had been involved in a domestic altercation that led Leaj Price to the doctor’s office asking for help.

While she was standing in the lobby with witnesses, Price entered with a firearm in hand and approached Leaj Price. After words were exchanged, Price allegedly fired a single shot, striking the victim.

No one else in or around the area was harmed. The doctor’s office staff immediately locked themselves in a back room until the office was secured by law enforcement.

Agencies including the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, Jemison Police Department, Thorsby Police Department, Clanton Police Department, Alabama State Troopers, State of Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and U.S. Marshals responded to the incident.

If convicted, the murder charge carries a punishment of 10 years to life in prison.