Giddens, 22, from Auburn, Alabama, is facing charges of first degree murder with a firearm and attempted robbery with a firearm.

PANAMA CITY — The man charged in the slaying of 16-year-old Arnold High School student Jason Ian Price in a CVS parking lot last year will face a jury this week as the trial of Demarcus Giddens begins today.

 

Giddens, 22, from Auburn, Alabama, is facing charges of first degree murder with a firearm and attempted robbery with a firearm, according to court records. Law enforcement say they have pinned him as the triggerman in the early-morning parking lot confrontation that allegedly started after Giddens and his two co-defendants, Rodney Jones and Gertavious Canada, were smoking marijuana with a group of local teenagers at the nearby Taco Bell.

According to testimony given by Jones, Giddens hatched a plan to have the teenagers call for more drugs, then rob them at gunpoint. When Price and another local teenager arrived, he allegedly got into a confrontation with Giddens and was shot in the chest with a Draco AK-47 style pistol.

Giddens, Jones and Canada then took off and were picked up by law enforcement later in the morning.

Jones was charged with principal to robbery with a deadly weapon and first degree murder with a firearm, while Canada was charged with principal to attempted robbery with a deadly weapon and first degree murder with a firearm.

Earlier this year, Jones took a plea deal with the state that saw him plead no contest to principal to robbery with a deadly weapon in exchange for 20 years in prison and his cooperation in the state’s case against Giddens at trial. Several months later, Jones got cold feet about the deal, writing a letter to the judge and asking for leniency, saying he did not understand that his charges “carried so much time.” In August, court records stated he had backed out of the deal, but a filing on Sept. 5 indicated Jones will “continue to comply with the plea offer previously entered with the state.” A status conference in Jones’ case is scheduled for this morning at 8:30 a.m., according to court records.

Last Wednesday, Canada too entered into a plea deal with the state, agreeing to plead no contest to charges of principal to attempted robbery with a deadly weapon and testimony at Giddens’ trial in exchange for four years in prison. He will be sentenced October 1.