Zach Adams found guilty of Holly Bobo murder

Holly Bobo's family and friends hug and support one another after hearing the ‘guilty’ verdict. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Holly Bobo's family and friends hug and support one another after hearing the ‘guilty’ verdict. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

DECATUR COUNTY, TN (WMC) - A jury found Zach Adams guilty of Holly Bobo's murder.

The jury reached its verdict just before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, after more than 10 hours of deliberation.

Holly Bobo, a 20-year-old nursing student, went missing in 2011. Her remains were found in a wooded area near Holladay, Tennessee, in 2014. They were positively identified as belonging to Holly Bobo through dental records.

The jury pored over more than 240 pieces of evidence and unanimously found Adams guilty on all eight charges against him. Those charges include kidnapping, rape, and murder.

The jury must now decide what sentence Adams will serve for his crimes and the death penalty is on the table.

Court will resume again Saturday morning for the sentencing phase of the trial. Victim impact statements from both sides are expected to be read.

WMC5 will stream the sentencing phase and impact statements on its digital platforms beginning at 10 a.m.

After the verdict was announced, Holly Bobo's friends and family in the courtroom hugged. The family's pastor, Don Franks, spoke outside the courtroom.

"Took us six-and-a-half years to get here, lots of tears, lots of prayers, and lots of hard work. But our theme has been 'Justice for Holly,' and we won't stop until we get justice for Holly," Franks said.

Adams' attorney, Jennifer Thompson, also spoke to media following the verdict. She explained that she doesn't think the jury came to the right conclusion.

"We knew going in it was going to be a very hard case to win, because you have this beautiful young woman who had been taken from her home and those facts balanced against my client who had had kind of a tough background, you know? He'd been involved in drugs; he'd been a drug addict, a drug dealer, and we knew that was going to be really a stark contrast between the two. So we recognized that," said Thompson. "But, you know the whole thing is that this whole case has been based on what people said. There is absolutely no evidence that ever linked Zach Adams to Holly Bobo."

Thompson said the prosecution passed hearsay and took what Adams told his friends as truth, which influenced the jury in the state's favor.

"I'm afraid the fact that Zach Adams went around high and was saying a lot of inappropriate stuff before he was arrested. You know, some of that stuff is just stuff you can't get past. I'm afraid that the jury took a lot of those comments to heart," she added.

Thompson and her team's focus now is to keep Adams alive.

"I'm concerned that the jury might go for death. And, for me, who sees Zach Adams as being an innocent man who has been convicted, the fact that he could get death penalty is really frightening to me," she said.

Thompson concluded that after the sentencing phase of the trial, she and Adams will turn their attention to the possibility of an appeal.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn spoke after the trial, saying despite allegations that TBI made mistakes during the investigation, he stands behind his agency's work.

"TBI has been on this investigation from day one. I made a promise to the Bobo family six-and-a-half years ago: we would never stop investigating this until we brought someone to justice, and today that justice has been served," Gwyn said.

Below are the charges of which Adams was found guilty:

  1. Felony first-degree murder
  2. Especially aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon
  3. Especially aggravated kidnapping with serious bodily injuries
  4. First-degree murder during the perpetration of rape or attempted rape
  5. Aggravated rape by the use of force or coercion with the use of a deadly weapon
  6. Aggravated rape suffered bodily injuries
  7. Rape by use of force or coercion
  8. First-degree premeditated murder

Below you can read our previous stories from the trial. Each story has video of 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 5: TBI never found Bobo's DNA at Zach Adams' home

Day 9: Zach Adams' defense team rests, closing arguments to begin Thursday

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