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High school senior Jesse Holton, 17, has been charged with murdering his father, Mike Holton, the former mayor of the family’s hometown of Eclectic, Alabama on Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin tells PEOPLE.
“Eclectic is a very small, close knit community where everybody knows everybody,” says Franklin.
“It’s not everyday that we have a double homicide.”
Holton has been charged as an adult, says Franklin. Pending autopsy results, he is also expected to be charged in the death of his mother, April Holton, says Franklin.
The trouble began on Sunday, when Holton’s parents returned home from a trip and grew angry when they saw that their house had been “trashed” after an apparent party there – one that Mike Holton told police involved drugs, says Franklin.
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Angry at his son, Mike Holton called police. The deputy who arrived at the scene said Holton, a volunteer fireman, had handcuffed his son, saying he wanted to “get his attention,” says Franklin.
Mile Holton told the deputy that the following morning, he and his wife intended to sign a petition – a juvenile warrant – against his son, for doing drugs and causing damage to the family home, says Franklin.
“He was upset,” says Franklin. “It was obvious when the deputy arrived, that this had been an ongoing situation as far as the son having a drug problem. But it was more focused around marijuana than anything else.”
Franklin says the teen later told police he takes the prescription medication, Adderall, which is often used to treat ADHD.
Before leaving, the deputy collected evidence from the party including a pipe used to smoke marijuana before leaving the Holton’s home, says Franklin.
“Everything was calm when the deputy left,” he says.
Twenty minutes later, police received another 911 call.
This time, when the deputy returned to the Holton’s house, he found Mike Holton dead of a gunshot wound to the head in the master bedroom, says Franklin.
His wife, April Holton, was also in the master bedroom, “clinging to life” from a gunshot wound to the head, says Franklin. She died on Monday afternoon, he says.
As for any alleged drug use, Jesse Holton allegedly told police that “he is a pothead,” says Franklin. “He said as long as he has his marijuana and Adderall that he is not easily agitated,” says Franklin.
The sheriff says he was shocked by the teenager’s demeanor after his parents’ deaths. “He was emotionless,” he says.
The teen asked about his mother’s condition once, but didn’t ask about his father’s at all, he says.
In addition to Jesse Holton, the couple leaves behind two other sons, 14 and 10, who are staying with relatives, says Franklin.
According to her obituary, April Holton was a devoted mother who was frequently seen in the dugout at her sons’ baseball games.
Mike Holton was mayor of Eclectic from 2012 to 2014 but stepped down “because of family,” says Franklin.
“They were both well known in the community,” he says. “It’s a very sad situation.”
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