Charges dropped against torture suspect

Published 12:35 pm Thursday, July 7, 2016

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

CLANTON – A felony sexual torture charge has been dropped against a 44-year-old Clanton man after the victim in the case did not appear in court for the trial, according to Chilton County Circuit Court records.



Circuit Court Judge John Bush agreed on July 7 to dismiss without prejudice a felony charge of sexual torture and a misdemeanor charge of third-degree domestic violence against Henry Jason Varden, who lists an address on Chilton County 13.

According to court documents, Varden was set to stand trial on the charges beginning at 10 a.m. on July 7.

“The defendant and counsel were present for trial. The alleged victim was not present, although she was served with a subpoena to appear,” read the dismissal order. “Defense counsel moved to dismiss for want of prosecution. The motion is granted and this case is dismissed without prejudice.”

When a case is dismissed without prejudice, it means the charges could possibly be brought against the suspect again in the future.

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office arrested Varden on March 9, 2015, after a Chilton County grand jury indicted the suspect on the two charges and issued a warrant for his arrest.

According to his indictment, Varden’s charges stemmed from an alleged sexual torture incident involving a baseball bat. Varden also was accused of directing a threat toward the victim.

Varden remained in the Chilton County Jail on a $150,750 bond from his March arrest date through Sept. 25, 2015, when he was released on a reduced bond of $60,750.