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Zach Adams seeks new trial 5 years after conviction in Holly Bobo case

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Posted at 8:06 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 19:10:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The man accused of murdering Holly Bobo wants a new trial. This comes now, five-years after Zach Adams began serving his life sentence.

NewsChannel 5 obtained an exclusive copy of a nearly 200-page appeal alleging errors and bias by the judge, lies from a key witness and more. Appeals are commonplace for convicts serving life sentences and new trials are rarely granted.

But this legal challenge comes five-years after the fact and gives the Appellate Court plenty to consider.

"Some of the claims are meritorious," said Newschannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

Any long trial has mistakes. The issue is were they bad enough to overturn a jury conviction of Adams?

"What the court of appeals will look at is okay is this harmless error or is this reversable error? That's the threshold," said Leonardo.

Leonardo covered the trial and says Adams was convicted on a circumstantial case in the murder of Holly Bobo. No DNA or physical evidence linked directly him to her death.

But co-defendant Jason Autry did. He cooperated with prosecutors and testified he helped Adams disposed of Bobo's body after Adam's shot her.

"I grabbed the upper torso of Ms. Bobo...Zach left the tailgate down. I brought the torso to the tailgate where he grabbed the legs," Autry testified at trial in 2017.

The appeal alleges contradictions in Autry's testimony and questions whether there was bias by the judge. It also argues damaging statements from witnesses about Adams not related to the case were allowed during trial improperly influencing the jury.

His attorney Jennifer Thompson said in the days after the trail there is a strong case for a reversal. "It would be malpractice not to appeal a case where somebody gets life in prison without possibility of parole."

Adams faced the death penalty before the prosecution agreed to life in prison. Leonardo says a new trial and another conviction may not bring the same result. "Be careful what you wish for because he may end up with the death penalty if they try this case again," Leonardo said.

Hearings on the appeal are expected soon and a decision on a new trial could come before the end of the year.

The state did responded to Adam's legal brief arguing he received a fair trial, was convicted by a jury, and that Adams is Holly Bobo's killer.

Bobo disappeared in 2011 and her partial remains were found in 2014. Her skull showed evidence of a gunshot wound.

Hearings are now underway on the motion and the appellate court could rule before the end of the year.