Elderly Couple, Dozens of Animals Dead
Detectives say the same gun killed John and Laverne Holter, as well as 31 goats, 6 dogs, a donkey and a miniature pony.
"1 cow, 4 horses, 9 goats and i seen a chicken on the property that was alive," says Lt. Evan Sullivan of the Levy County Sheriff's Office. "I can't answer why."
Those miniature ponies and horses are some of the lucky ones, compared to the dozens of animals that were killed. They were found by a deputy Tuesday afternoon.
"When he got to the second gate...there was a donkey shot." says Sullivan, "There were 3 goats killed and also a miniature pony."
Inside, it was even worse. 82 year old John Holter was found in an open kitchen area... shot in the back of the head. 73 year old Laverne was found lying on the bed with a 22 magnum pistol on her chest.
"Our investigation showed through relatives and the son, which do not live at the residence, that the marriage was rocky."
Sullivan says a sworn complaint was made to deputies by Laverne on a neighbor after a verbal disagreement Friday night. Deputies were called out the next night when a neighbor called saying she heard a gun shot Saturday evening.
"He arrived and as you can see, it's a long walk to the residence," says Sullivan. "He beeped the horn, flashed his spotlight and turned his emergency equipment on and no one would come to the gate."
Deputies are feeding the animals for now while the Holter's son decides what he wants to do next.
"We have been told that Mr. and Mrs. Holter had at least 80 goats," says Sullivan. "Right now the number we have is 9 goats surviving."
Sullivan says the exact time of death still has not been established. He also didn't know whether John or the animals were killed first, but all were shot at close range.
He adds the Holters had a small history with the Sheriff's Office. Since 1996, deputies had been called out for another disturbance and seven medical calls.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News
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