Plea hearing set for Jemison murder suspect

Published 2:53 pm Monday, February 22, 2016

The Jemison man accused of killing his wife during a dispute in April 2015 is scheduled to appear in court for a plea hearing March 9.

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

According to court records, the plea hearing is scheduled before Chilton County Circuit Judge Ben A. Fuller at 9 a.m. at the Chilton County Courthouse.

At the hearing, Price will have the option to inform the court whether the case will go to trial or whether he will enter a plea of guilty.

Price allegedly shot a female April 13, 2015, 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 2015 grand jury in Chilton County.

Price remains in jail without a bond after Chilton County District Judge Rhonda Hardesty filed an order May 5, 2015, 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 the victim 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 the victim 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 the victim. After words were exchanged, Price allegedly fired a 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.