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WATCH: Zachary Adams Faces Death Penalty Phase in Holly Bobo Murder


A Hardin County, Tennessee jury convicted defendant Zachary Adams of every single charge he faced over the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 20-year-old nursing student Holly Bobo.

That verdict came Friday night after ten and eleven hours of deliberation stretched over two days.

The jury ultimately believed the testimony of accused co-conspirator Jason Autry, who testified that Adams asked him to hide Bobo’s body. Autry said he was present with Adams realized Bobo was still alive and shot her in the head. Autry also claimed that Adams admitted to raping Bobo. Autry had previously denied any involvement in the crime, admitted to lying on the stand, and told jurors he was telling the truth this time in order to seek leniency.

The case against Adams now moves to the penalty phase of the case. Because the state is seeking the death penalty against Adams, a two-part trial is necessary under current U.S. Supreme Court case law. The first part of the trial determines the defendant’s guilt. The second part determines the defendant’s punishment.

In all, the jury convicted Adams of the following charges:

  1. Murder while attempting to perpetrate a kidnapping (1st degree);
  2. Especially aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon;
  3. Especially aggravated kidnapping with serious bodily injury;
  4. Murder while attempting to perpetrate a rape (1st degree);
  5. Aggravated rape through coercion with a deadly weapon;
  6. Aggravated rape with bodily injury;
  7. Aggravated rape with force & coercion with the aid of one or more persons;
  8. Premeditated murder (1st degree).

Because the jury has been sequestered through the duration of both the guilt and the penalty phases of the trial, the judge has opted to work Saturdays. It remains unclear if the jury will also work Sunday.

Six men and six women make up the final jury. Three alternates remain sequestered in the event there is a problem with the other twelve jurors. Testimony is expected to begin at 10 on Saturday.


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Aaron Keller is an attorney licensed in two states. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. During law school, he completed legal residencies in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General and in a local prosecutor’s office. He was employed as a summer associate in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which manages the state police, and further served as a summer law clerk for a New York trial judge. Before law school, Keller worked for television stations in New York and in the Midwest, mostly as an evening news anchor and investigative reporter. His original reporting on the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach was years later featured in the Netflix film "Making A Murderer."