HOLLY BOBO TRIAL, LIVE: Verdict expected soon

UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.:

The jury in the Holly Bobo case says it is making progress toward a verdict after a full day of deliberations in the case against Zach Adams.

Judge C. Creed McGinley asked jury members the question when he brought the jury back into the courtroom to answer a question during deliberations Friday afternoon.

He told the jurors they must base their decision exclusively based on what they heard in the courtroom and that they are the exclusive judges of the law.

This is the second question the jury has asked today. McGinley answered an earlier question on paper only.

Jurors in the Holly Bobo murder trial have been deliberating a verdict for almost 11 hours now.

Zach Adams faces the death penalty if convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering the 20-year-old nursing student over six years ago.

There is no physical evidence here tied to Zach Adams but there is certainly a lot of witness testimony against him.

The state is focused on the 10 people who testified about Adams telling them statements like, he took a girl into the woods and later chopped her up, he let another person hit it, and he was there for the worst of it.

We heard gruesome testimony about Bobo being taken, wrapped up, raped and shot in the head.

But the defense on the other hand says convicted rapist Terry Britt is the one who committed this crime.

They say Adams was just a drug addict who was trying to act tough by making statements about Bobo and can’t be actually linked to it.

It’s also a huge problem that a TBI agent admitted they made major mistakes in the beginning of the investigation and didn’t follow up on checking Adams’ and his codefendants’ alibis.

“In those first few weeks this thing could have been done, but he wasn’t listening,” prosecutor Paul Hagerman said.

Defense attorney Jennifer Thompson said Adams had done some bad things, but it did not mean he was a killer.

“Zach Adams has said some silly stupid things over the years. He was a drug dealer living in Decatur County, he was a drug user, a meth user, a meth dealer, he wasn’t a good person. And yes he was walking around saying a bunch of stupid stuff. He’s not the only person that said a bunch of stupid stuff. But that does not mean he killed Holly Bobo.”

***** EARLIER 

SAVANNAH, Tenn. — A jury will resume deliberating a verdict in the tense trial of a man charged with kidnapping and fatally shooting Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo.

The sequestered panel of 12 people began considering physical evidence and witness testimony Thursday in the trial of Zachary Adams in Savannah, Tennessee. They deliberated 3 ½ hours and will resume Friday morning — the trial’s 11th day.

Adams has pleaded not guilty to abducting, raping and killing Bobo. She was 20 when she reportedly walked into the woods behind her family’s house with an unidentified man wearing camouflage and disappeared on April 13, 2011.

Her remains were found 3 ½ years later, near her home in Parsons.

Judge C. Creed McGinley moved the trial to Hardin County in search of an unbiased jury.

Bobo’s disappearance sparked a massive search in the fields, barns and woods of western Tennessee, and the case received national attention. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has said the investigation was the most exhaustive and expensive in the agency’s history.

WREG’s coverage of the Holly Bobo trial

Two other men, Jason Autry and Adams’ brother, John Dylan Adams, also are charged with kidnapping, raping and killing Bobo. Autry, who was on the list of witnesses who had been offered immunity in the case, testified during the trial. Autry said he was seeking leniency in return for his testimony.

Autry said Adams used graphic details when he told Autry that he, his brother and friend Shayne Austin raped Bobo in Austin’s grandmother’s barn. Autry said he injected himself with morphine and methamphetamine before he served as a lookout as Adams shot Bobo under a bridge spanning the scenic Tennessee River.

Austin had reached an immunity agreement that depended on Bobo’s body being recovered from the place where Austin said it was buried. The deal was rescinded after prosecutors said he wasn’t truthful. Austin was found dead in a Florida hotel room in what police said was an apparent suicide in February 2015.

Autry already knew of evidence accumulated in the case when he told investigators his story in January 2017 — about three years after he and Zachary Adams were charged, defense attorney Jennifer Thompson said during closing arguments Thursday.

Autry was too “street smart” to allow himself to be manipulated into helping Adams dispose of Bobo’s body, Thompson said, and challenged details of his story.

Thompson said Autry sold his death penalty to the government.

The latest from Bridget Chapman:

Prosecution’s Closing Arguments

Defense’s Closing Arguments