State rests its case in Zach Adams' murder trial - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

State rests its case in Zach Adams' murder trial

Zach Adams' murder trial continued Monday. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Zach Adams' murder trial continued Monday. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

The Holly Bobo murder trial continued after a brief weekend session in which TBI investigator Michael Frezzell testified that Bobo's cell phone was in the same general location as her accused killers, Zach Adams and Jason Autry.

Zach Adams is currently on trial for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Holly Bobo, who went missing April 2011.

John Maxwell, an EMT who answered the 911 call the night Bobo went missing, was first to take the stand on Monday.

Maxwell said he received the call from Dick Adams, Zach Adams' grandfather, on April 13, 2011 at 9:47 p.m. Dick Adams said his grandson was causing problems. 

The prosecution played the 911 call for the courtroom.

"Zach Adams is raising hell again," Dick Adams said on the phone.

Two minutes later, Dick called back and told the 911 operator not to send any officers. But, two minutes after that, he called and said his grandson was trying to get a gun.

Dick said on the 911 call that he believed his grandson, Zach, was on drugs. Dick could be heard breathing heavily on the tape as he relayed that Zach was "trying to get his brother's keys."

Dick told dispatcher that if his grandson tried to get his gun, he'd shoot him.

The prosecution asked Maxwell if it took particularly long for first responders to get to his home that night, to which he responded, "Yes," and that they may have been 15 miles away.

Maxwell did not know of the number of responders out searching for Holly, but said "it was a busy night."

In a cross-examination, defense attorney Jennifer Thompson asked Maxwell to specify when each call happened.

Maxwell said he told two units to go to the Adams home after the first 911 call was made. He said the officers were at the home for nearly 20 minutes, and they noted the call as a verbal argument and no arrests were made.

Terry Britt, who is currently a Tennessee Department of Corrections inmate serving time for attempted rape, was next on the stand.

Britt said he's been in jail for rape, burglary, and robbery. He said he's served about 25 of his 58 years in prison.

Britt said he and his wife did not know of the Bobo family when Holly went missing. When he heard Bobo went missing, he figured he would be investigated because of his past.

Britt said police showed up at his house the morning Bobo went missing as he and his wife arrived home after buying a new tub. He said he was unaware TBI was surveying him, including wiretapping his house and phone.

Britt said law enforcement "came up with a couple charges" so they could search his home while he was placed in jail. He was not on probation or parole at the time.

Working as a contractor for the local newspaper at the time, Britt said his boss backed up his alibi, but he spent time in jail regardless as police searched his home.

Britt said he returned home to find his house had been rummaged through. He noted that pieces of his couch, his computer, cars, and other items had been taken.

Britt said he was never formally charged for a crime related to Holly Bobo.

Thompson said she visited Britt in prison and asked about his alibi. He told her he woke up around 6 a.m. that morning and had coffee. Then he and his wife went to Camden to buy a bathtub around 8 a.m. After buying the tub, he said they drove back home at around 25-30 miles per hour because of the size of it.

Britt was unsure what time they returned home.

"Y'all got the receipt," he said.

Britt said he returned home before lunch and "that's when the law showed up."

Britt said his wife was with him the entire day. The first thing he told police was that he did not rape anybody. He had already heard about the Amber Alert for Holly Bobo, so he assumed that was why investigators were at his house.

Thompson asked Britt if he knew Natalie Bobo and he replied, "No." She followed up by saying that he had seen her before, but Britt insisted he did not know her. Thompson then asked Britt if he had seen Natalie and Holly Bobo at a Dollar General and again, he replied, "No."

Thompson also asked Britt if he lied to investigators about owning a cell phone, but he said he has never owned a cellphone. She then asked about his work phone, which she said he used to call his wife frequently, and he agreed to having that phone.

The defense attorney then asked whether Britt purchased two phones one month before Holly went missing. Britt replied that Thompson is "in a different world than I am" if she has proof of that, because he's never purchased a phone.

Britt laughed as he answered more questions about whether he bought a chainsaw shortly after Bobo's disappearance or was stalking anyone. 

When asked if he knew about his house being wiretapped, Britt responded, "I don't trust no law."

When asked to elaborate, he said he's been "done dirty" by the law, but didn't offer any further details. 

During his questioning, Britt said it was possible he had done a Google search with the words "rape" and "abduction," but he linked those searches to his enjoyment of pornography. 

Thompson mentioned Britt referring to Holly as an "it." Britt did not remember doing that, but said was possible. He said he was being sarcastic because of the way the investigator treated him.

When asked whether he had anything to do with Holly Bobo's rape and murder, Britt said, "No."

Anthony Phoenix took the stand next. He currently lives in Texas, but lived in Decatur County in 2011.

Phoenix admits he had a drug problem while living there and is currently on parole for drug and theft charges.

Phoenix said he knew Shayne Austin, Jason Autry, and Dylan and Zach Adams. He also knew the Bobo family at the time, but was in jail when Holly Bobo went missing. 

"Actually, the first words that came out of my mouth was, 'I wonder where Zach was,'" Phoenix said.

Phoenix said he got out of jail in October 2011. He said he met up with his friends at a party and mentioned Holly Bobo. That's when Zach Adams "cleared the house out."

Phoenix said at one point, Zach met with Holly's mother, Karen, and hugged her as he left.

During one night out with Zach, Phoenix said they were looking for something to steal when Zach said, "Let's rape this [expletive]." Phoenix recalled being confused because he was only looking for something to steal.

Phoenix said Adams later went up to him and said, "It sure was fun," and, "I couldn't have picked a prettier [expletive]." He feels certain Zach was talking about Holly Bobo.

Thompson attempted to bring a prior conviction of Phoenix's into evidence. The judge denied the attempt because Phoenix had already admitted guilt to the theft.

Phoenix said he and Zach were "meth buddies." He explained Zach's "sketchy" demeanor as a result of being paranoid and having something to hide.

"When we were having a good time, he wouldn't be," he said.

The defense attorney clarified that Adams never specifically mentioned Holly Bobo, but that it was Phoenix's assumption. She also said his own name had come up during the investigation.

"Too bad I was locked up," Phoenix replied. 

Phoenix said he was unaware of any rumors that he was believed to commit the crime.

Jamie Darnell, who has known Zach Adams almost all of his life, took the stand next.

In July 2012, Darnell said he met up with Adams, who was "wound up and energetic" and wanted to do drugs.

Darnell said Adams wanted to do meth from a needle, but he said "no" because he does not like needles. His response agitated Zach.

Darnell told a story about Adams showing him a knife, which he held, and Adams said, "If he knew what he did with that knife, he wouldn't be holding it."

That same evening, Darnell said Adams pulled out a pistol and fired it over Darnell's girlfriend's head. After that, Darnell said Zach became apologetic and started crying.

Darnell explained that Adams could no longer come over because he has kids coming and going from his house.

The court recessed for a lunch break as a smell came over the courtroom. 

When Darnell's testimony resumed, he reiterated the incident that happened at his house, but said Zach never came back around after that.

Carl Stateler, 28, of Parsons, TN, testified that he grew up in Parsons where he admitted was caught up in the drug culture until he moved to Nashville. 

When asked about Holly Bobo, he said he heard of her, but did not know her or her family personally.

On the stand, Stateler recalled driving around with Zach Adams and at some point the summer after she went missing. While driving, Zach said, "I let Shayne hit it." Stateler said he didn't ask Adams any further questions about his statement, but said he was referring to Holly Bobo's disappearance.

He also recalled spending time at a bar later that summer where he witnessed Zach threatening the bartender, saying, "I'll kill you like I did Holly Bobo."

Corey Rivers, who was incarcerated with Zach Adams in Tennessee, also took the stand on Monday.

Rivers served time for using someone else's driver's license when he was pulled over driving through Tennessee in 2016.

Before he spent time in a cell next door to Zach Adams, Rivers said he had never heard of him or any of the other men involved in Holly Bobo's disappearance.

Rivers explained that when Zach would see him reading his Bible, he would ask about forgiveness and whether God could ever forgive him.

Even after finding out that Zach was accused of kidnapping, rape, and murder, Rivers said he kept talking to him because he knows other people who have been accused of similar things.

"You know, my mom was like that. She was accused of murder when I was 4 years old. I had gotten molested at age of 4. I had to get 36 stitches. She came home from work and she saw my stepdad inside of me so she killed him and they sentenced my mom to life without parole," he said. "I didn't want to pass judgment on him because I didn't know the background about why he was accused of that, so I just kept talking to him like he was a normal person."

When he would ask Zach what happened, he said Zach wouldn't go into details or elaborate. 

"He said a couple of his friends got drunk and went into the woods with this girl and you know, one thing led to another, and then he was like, 'I was there for the worst of it,' and I was like, 'Did you do it?' and he said, 'I was there for the worst of it,'" Rivers recalled.

When asked about the time he spent in a juvenile program, Rivers explained that he was arrested for touching a 16-year-old boy when he was 17. He took a plea deal because he "didn't have an attorney," just a public defender, his mother was in jail, and he didn't know any better. The defense attorney took that opportunity to point out that while Rivers maintains he is innocent of that crime, he still went to court and pleaded guilty in order to do less time for the crime.

The state then called Jason Kirk, a prisoner, to the stand. He is currently serving 25 years in prison.Kirk escaped prison and led police on a high-speed chase. He has felony convictions for thefts, police chases, and running from the police.

Kirk ran into Zach Adams while going to court one day. He said Adams told him to give his brother a message: to keep his [expletive] mouth shut or he would plant him next to that [expletive].

Kirk then said Adams told him in regards to his bail: "I got $2 million. I guess you've got to kill a [expletive] to get that kind of bail around here." He also said that Adams told him that he wasn't worried because they had no body, no gun, no conviction.

Kirk said he knew very little about what was going on outside of jail.

Zach Adams' Facebook page and posts were introduced into evidence.

The state then called Chris Swift to the stand.

Swift, who had pleaded guilty to forgery, third-degree rape, attempted spousal rape, and aggravated assault, was in Williamson County Jail in 2016 when he met Zach Adams.

Swift said he and Adams would talk during the recreation hour they were given and when Adams would pass by his cell. He said Adams asked about whether God would forgive him for "the Holly killing." He was told that Adams wasn't involved in the killing, but he was "involved in the worst part of it."

According to Swift, Adams said that he was with his brother and "some boy that killed himself" in a back room having sex with Holly Bobo. Swift said Adams told him that after the trial he was going home because they didn't have a body, a weapon, or a motive. But, after Adams met with his attorney, he came back and told Swift that things didn't look good for him.

Zach Adams' defense attorney said that Swift told defense investigators that he didn't believe Adams did the crime based on what he told him.

The prosecution asked Swift about saying he didn't believe Adams did it. Swift clarified by saying he said that to defense investigators because of what Adams had said to him and the brief time he knew him.

After Swift finished testifying, the state rested its case. 

The defense asked for an acquittal before they began their arguments, but the judge overruled the request.

The defense then called its first witness, Rita Austin, to the stand. Rita is Shayne Austin's mother. 

Rita began by saying that Shayne would not have had any quilts or a burn barrel at his trailer. She said her son's driveway had a fence, but his driveway did not have a gate. 

Rita said that Shayne had a motorcycle wreck in 2009, and he had some "really bad scars on his face." She said he had a goatee all the time in an effort to hide the scarring on his face because he was self conscious. She said the scarring on his face, including under his eye, would be one of the first things a person would notice about Shayne.

Rita said that Shayne had an S-10 truck, but she had taken his keys away because he was not in a good place.

Rita said that Jason Autry and Shayne Austin were distantly related. She said she would visit Autry, her nephew, in jail often. She said he would often share evidence in the case with her.

While on the stand, she also recalled the period of time in 2015 when Shayne slipped back into drug abuse and eventually killed himself.

During cross-examination, the prosecution said that Shayne kept things from his family. Rita admitted that there were many things that she didn't know about her son's life, including doing drugs, cooking meth, and going to the Coon Hunt fair.

Rita says her son's drug use got worse in late-2014 or early-2015.

After Rita Austin was finished testifying, Shayne and Jason's aunt, Judy Evans, took the stand. 

Evans said she went to the barn she owned two days after Holly Bobo went missing and nothing appeared out of the ordinary. She and her husband tore the barn down because it was in such bad shape, but she built another one with the materials. 

The prosecution cross-examined Evans, arguing that you may not have been able to hear screams coming from the barn and it would have depended on what other noises were in the area at the time.  

After Evans was finished testifying, the court broke for the day. The defense is expected to call more witnesses Tuesday.

WMC Action News 5 will continue to bring you gavel-to-gavel coverage on and the WMC Action News 5 app.

Below you can read our previous stories from the trial. Each story has video of every witness' testimony.

Day 1: Emotional testimony culminates with Holly's mother

Day 2: Zach Adam's ex-girlfriend: 'He said he'd tie me up, like he did Holly Bobo'

Day 3: DNA, personal items entered as evidence in Holly Bobo murder trial

Day 4: Jason Autry testifies all day, explains how Zach Adams killed Holly Bobo

Day 5: TBI never found Bobo's DNA at Zach Adams' home

Day 6: TBI agent testifies phones of Bobo, Adams, Autry in same general location day she was taken

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