A private high school football player from Alabama is accused of taking part in the beheading of three puppies and posting a video of it to Snapchat. That man has been named as Ashley Johnston, 18. He’s charged with animal cruelty, along with another student at Wilcox Academy in Camden, Alabama. The other suspect, 17, hasn’t been named due to his age.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He’s Accused of Recording the Beheadings
WSFA reports that Johnston is accused of helping his friend behead three stray puppies with a machete. The station, quoting Wilcox County Sheriff Earnest Evans, said that the video showed that Johnston recorded the beheadings. The unnamed 17-year-old is accused of doing the beheading. The friend threw the puppies into the air and then cut their heads off in mid-air, say cops. Evans told the station, “It would be fair to say the 18-year-old confessed. He kind of owned it, took the photos, and he actually didn’t like it. The pictures were on social media for about 15 seconds.” The sheriff added that Johnston has shown remorse for what he did.
2. He Is an Eagle Scout
On his now-deleted Facebook page (you can view a cache of the page here), Johnston’s profile picture looks similar to a Snapchat manipulated image. He identifies himself as a Christian and likes numerous prominent conservatives such as Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz.
Sheriff Earnest Evans told WSFA that Johnston is an Eagle Scout. After Johnston was arrested, his mother, Jenny, posted on Facebook that she loved “her son unconditionally.” She works on the campaign for Montgomery mayoral candidate Artur Davis.
3. Johnston Attends a Private School of Just Over 300 Students
Both Johnston and the unnamed other suspect are students at the private Wilcox Academy High School in Camden, Alabama. The school has just over 300 students and has been described as being “100 percent white” by the Birmingham News. Wilcox was founded as a “segregation academy” in 1970 so that white parents could send their kids to a place with no black students.
4. He’s a Wide Receiver on His School’s Varsity Team
His profile at Hudl.com says that Johnston plays as a wide receiver for the Wilcox Academy Wildcats. His page shows three video highlights from the 2013/14 season.
5. Johnston Could Face 10 Years in Prison
Cruelty to animals in Alabama is covered in chapter 11 of the state’s criminal code. It’s a felony to kill any animal without good cause. The phrase “good cause” is qualified with the example of a marauding dog. If found guilty, Johnston could face up to 10 years in prison.