MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. — Two Marshall County residents were arrested and charged with sodomy and bestiality after a disturbing video was shared with authorities.
Investigators told WHNT News 19 the video was shared with community members through Facebook messenger, text messages, and e-mail.
Van Christopher Havis, 53, of Guntersville, and Holly Renae Debord, 36 of Albertville, were arrested Thursday after investigators said they identified them and the victim. Havis is being held on a $250,000 bond. Bond has not been set for Debord.
During a news conference Friday, investigators said the video involved a person with a mental disability.
“This is a different, unique type case from what it involved. I’m sure one of the charges is not what you often hear, called bestiality. I’ll just say it involves a domesticated animal and leave it at that,” said Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims.
“This is one of the most disturbing and offensive, the facts of this case as I’ve been involved in criminal law for a long time,” said Marshall County District Attorney Everette Johnson.
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, Guntersville Police Department, Boaz Police Department, Arab Police Department, Marshall County DHR, the Department of Mental Health, Mountain Lakes Behavioral, and the Marshall County DA’s Office all participated in the investigation.
Johnson told WHNT News 19 Sodomy in the first degree is a Class A felony, which is punishable by 10 years to life in prison depending on prior convictions and criminal history.
“It is top of the line when it comes to sentence and, of course, Class A felony other than capital offense is the most serious offense we have,” said Johnson.
Johnson explained Havis does have a criminal history that will be considered.
During the press conference Friday afternoon, Guntersville Police Chief Jim Peterson thanked the public for their tips and information regarding the suspects and the victim.
“We are all very fortunate that the public came forward. We had a lot of information from a lot of different sources, mostly civilians and citizens, that got us to the point where we are today,” said Peterson.
Sheriff Sims told WHNT News 19 that the victim was an acquaintance of Havis and Debord.
Havis was arrested at his home on Rayburn Avenue in Guntersville after law enforcement served a search warrant.
Investigators said Debord was arrested near the Dekalb County line.