» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News

Forgot your password?
TDN Services
Research millions of people and properties [+]
Monitor any person, property or company [+]

Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 10 | NO. 39 | Saturday, September 23, 2017

Adams Gets Life Without Parole For Bobo Murder in Sentencing Deal

By Bill Dries

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()

UPDATE: After a jury in Savannah, Tennessee convicted Zachary Adams Friday of first degree murder, kidnapping and rape, prosecutors and the defense announced a sentencing agreement Saturday that means Adams will serve life in prison without parole plus 50 years for the 2011 murder of Holly Bobo.

The agreement approved by Judge Creed McGinley avoided a sentencing hearing in which the jury would have decided between life or death for Adams. That hearing likely would have seen the defense continue to question the investigation of Bobo's murder by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The lead TBI investigator on the case at the outset testified for the defense in the trial saying he quickly ruled out Adams as a suspect.

Prosecutors from Shelby County were appointed to handle the case four years after Bobo's murder because of the dispute within the TBI.

The Memphis team that prosecuted the case were led by Deputy District Attorney General Jennifer Nichols and Assistant District Attorneys Paul Hagerman, Eric Christensen and Steve Ragland.

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich termed the deal a "bittersweet day for the Bobo family."

"But hopefully, it will give them some comfort in knowing that justice was done for their daughter Holly," she said in a written statement. "This verdict and sentence is the result of the dedication and hard work of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, four of the finest prosecutors in the country and, of course, an attentive and hard-working jury that listened to the proof and had the courage to convict a ruthless killer."

Holly Bobo, a nursing student, was 20 when she was reported missing from her home in rural Parsons on April 13, 2011.

Bobo's disappearance led to a massive search and her case received national attention. Her remains were found in September 2014 in woods not far from her home in Decatur County, located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Nashville.

Adams showed no reaction Friday when the verdict was read. Defense attorney Jennifer Thompson patted Adams on the shoulder and spoke into his ear shortly after the verdict was read.

After the jury was let out of the courtroom, Bobo's mother Karen hugged Nichols and Bobo's father Dana hugged Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn.

Rickey Alexander, a Bobo family friend, said the verdict was "6 1/2 years in the making." Alexander noted that Bobo used to sing at church. "She finally has the peace in the valley that she sang about."

Thompson, the defense attorney, said she was extremely disappointed in the verdict, and she said Adams was very upset. "He was really shaking his head. He was white as a ghost."

McGinley moved the trial from Decatur County to neighboring Hardin County in search of an unbiased jury. The jury deliberated 3 1/2 hours Thursday and all day Friday before reaching a verdict.

Two other men, Jason Autry and Adams' brother John Dylan Adams, also face charges of kidnapping, raping and killing Bobo.

Autry testified against Adams, telling jurors that Adams told him that he, his brother and their friend Shayne Austin had raped Bobo. Autry also said that he served as a lookout as Adams shot Bobo near a river in the day she was reported missing.

Autry was on a list of witnesses who were offered immunity in the case. He said he testified because he wanted leniency.

Autry's lawyer has told the judge that a trial does not need to be set for Autry, indicating he has reached a deal with prosecutors. A trial date has not been set for John Dylan Adams.

The TBI has said that the Bobo investigation is the most exhaustive and expensive in the agency's history.

- The Associated Press contributed to this story.

PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474
BANKRUPTCIES 19 19 3,289