One Of 2017's Top Stories: Jury Convicts Killer In Holly Bobo Murder Case

Posted at 9:41 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 23:24:41-05

For years we wondered: would there be justice for Holly Bobo? Now we know, and the answer is yes.

The high-profile cold case finally went to trial six years after the young nursing student disappeared.

One of her accused killers was convicted making the Bobo trial one of the top stories of 2017.

Bobo disappeared from her Decatur County home in 2011. Many wondered if her killer would ever be caught, much less convicted.

Six years later, Zach Adams stood trial for murder.

"She was taken. She was kidnapped. She was raped and murdered," said prosecutor Paul Hagerman.

But this was no open and shut case. Yes, some of Bobo's remains were recovered -- proving she was dead.

But prosecutors had no DNA evidence linking Adams to the crime -- no blood, no semen --  a fact his attorney made clear to the jury.

"Zachary Rye Adams is 100 percent innocent of the charges he's facing in this case," said Jennifer Thompson, Adams' attorney.

The Bobo murder is a death penalty case, but the evidence that led to Adams' indictment was circumstantial.

In fact, the case hinged entirely on witness testimony and the key -- the star witness -- was Adams co-defendant Jason Autry.

"Jason Autry was able to sell his death penalty to the government for a tall-tale," Thompson told the jury.

Yes, Autry and Adams' younger brother Dylan both were also charged with Bobo's murder, but Autry turned State's witness.

"I did not kidnap or rape her, and I did not, but I lied and said I had no involvement," said Autry at trial.

He did admit to some involvement. Autry told the jury he tried to help Adams get rid of Bobo's body which they drove to the Tennessee River.

"I grabbed the upper torso of Miss Bobo. Zach let the tailgate down. I brought the torso to the tailgate where he grabbed the legs," testified Autry.

That's when Autry told the jury he heard moaning and realized Bobo was still alive.

He testified that Adams then shot her in the head. A bullet hole was found in Bobo's skull.

It was Autry  -- along with the testimony of other witnesses who told of Adams bragging about the murder -- that ultimately convinced the jury to convict.

The jury responded they'd found Adams guilty on all charges when the judge asked if they'd reached a verdict.

There was no doubt.

"As they are polling the jury to see if this is your verdict the jurors were yelling out yes. That's my verdict before the judge got them. So, they were enthusiastically claiming the verdict," said Thompson.

She felt the jury would surely sentence her client to death, but then the prosecution offered a sentence of life in prison with one condition: Adams must look Holly's mother Karen in the eye at sentencing.

"I would like Mr. Adams to look at me when I am speaking to him. I know that my daughter fought hard and fought hard for her life," Karen Bobo told Adams at sentencing.

And that was it. No conviction will ever bring Holly Bobo back, but a jury of six men and six women finally did deliver what the family, prosecutors, and so many others sought: justice for Holly.

Zach Adams was convicted, but will appeal. His broth Dylan and Jason Autry have still been awaiting trial.