Jemison man pleads guilty to wife's murder

Published: Apr. 18, 2016 at 3:11 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2016 at 3:44 PM CDT
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CHILTON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A man accused of fatally shooting his wife in a doctor's office in Jemison a year ago has pleaded guilty to her murder.

Eric Heath Price entered a guilty plea on Monday, April 18 in the death of his wife, 24-year-old Leaj Jarvis Price.

According to Chilton County Assistant District Attorney CJ Robinson, the plea deal recommends Eric Price get 40 years in prison. He will be eligible for a parole hearing after 15 years.

In the plea deal, the District Attorney's Office dismissed the three making terrorist threat charges Price was facing for pointing a gun at others in the doctor's office.

Robinson said Leaj Price's family agreed to that length of time after several meetings and added he feels it's actually more than time than a life sentence would carry.

"In the state of Alabama, the term life is calculated anywhere from 25 to 35 years and I understand that as time goes by, that may become less at some point," Robinson explained. "So instead of it being a moving target, we wanted a hard number that's why we chose 40 years."

He says there is a mixture of emotions from the community and Leah Price's family as a result of Eric Price's plea.

"We're all looking forward to May the 11th at sentencing. We know nothing will ever bring Leaj back. But it'll be a chance for this family to close this chapter of the process. Today was a very important day for the family and the community. I think we were actually able to take one step closer to closing this awful chapter," Robinson said.

Investigators said Eric and Leaj Price were involved in a domestic dispute at their home on April 13, 2015 and Leaj Price ran to a nearby doctor's office for help.

"The first thing she told them was that she needed some help and to call the police. Instantly, he walked in behind her with the gun in hand," Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer said.

Police said Eric Price shot his wife with a small handgun, then ran back to their home where he barricaded himself inside for hours.

During the standoff with police, officials say Price shot himself in the head, but survived.

Price posted on Facebook shortly after the shooting, "im sorry everyone, its been real. good bye and i love you all" and "i dei today."

Leaj and Heath Price's 6-year-old son was at school when the shooting occurred. Police said the couple did have a history of some domestic situations.

Leaj Prices' family and friends remembered her in a vigil last week marking the one year anniversary of her death.

Price's sentencing is set for May 11 at 9 a.m.

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