Update: The Holly Bobo Case

Tennessee Nursing Student Kidnapped From Home

bobo_web.jpg
Holly Bobo. Family Photo

On April 13, 2011, Clint Bobo of Parsons, Tennessee saw his sister Holly Bobo, a 20-year-old nursing student, being led into the woods by a man wearing camouflage. Police later determined that she was being abducted by the man and was in fear for her life.

Here are the latest developments in the Holly Bobo case:

State Wants to Sever Bobo Cases

Nov. 18, 2015 - Prosecutors have filed a motion to sever the cases against the three men indicted for murder and kidnapping in the Holly Bobo case.

Zach Adams, Dylan Adams, and Jason Autry are all facing possible death penalties if found guilty.

In the meantime, Judge Creed McGinley said he doesn't expect the trials to begin until 2017.

A hearing has not yet been set on the motion to sever the trials of the three men. If granted, Zach Adams, his brother Dylan and Jason Autry will all be tried separately for Bobo's murder.

The three have been in jail for more than a year, and no trial date has been set. Judge McGinley told the attorneys in the case that he wants the case to proceed as quickly as possible.

"This case is my highest priority and council has described this case like none other," he said. "I am interested in moving this case along but we have significant obstacles."

The judge said the discovery process is why the case is progressing slowly.

"We have some significant obstacles because the discovery in this case," Judge McGinley said.

"When I say it is voluminous that is absolutely an understatement."

There are reportedly more than 600 witnesses scheduled to testify in the case, and an estimated 150,000 documents were turned over to the defense attorneys in discovery. The files took up almost four terabytes of space digitally, prosecutors said.

"This was a four-year, thorough investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and they followed every lead," Prosecutor Ray Lepone said. "They documented everything they did which is good and that is when you end up with 180,000 pages in a file."

A spokesman for the Bobo family told reporters that they were disappointed with the continued delays.

"The family is disappointed but I think the judge expressed it right when he said he wanted to just do it one time and do it right," Pastor Don Franks said. "We agree completely and totally with the judge's idea on the trial."

Prosecution Turns Over Bobo Evidence

July 15, 2016 - Defense attorneys for three men facing the death penalty for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a Tennessee nursing student now have access to all of the evidence against their clients. Prosecutors have turned over thousands of pages of evidence in the Holly Bobo case.

Matt Maddox, defense attorney for John Dylan Adams, said the files released by the prosecution amounted to more than four terabytes of data. Defense attorneys for Adams, his brother Zachary Adams, and Jason Autry are hiring extra legal help to shift through the information.

Maddox said his priority is to find competent co-counsel for his client.

"Because of the state's intent to seek the death penalty, the defendant is entitled to two counselors," Maddox said. "... Once I have co-counsel, we will review the discovery and go through it intensively."

3 Face Death in Bobo Case

June 3, 2015 - Prosecutors have announced their intent to seek the death penalty for three men charged in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo. Jason Autry, Zachary Adams, and John Dylan Adams will face the death penalty if they are convicted in Bobo's death.

In filing a notice with the court of the death penalty case, special prosecutor Jennifer Nichols wrote,"The murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death."

The three were indicted last month by a grand jury for premeditate murder and murder in the perpetration of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape.

In total, they each face eight charges in connection with Bobo's death.

The men were re-arraigned this week after the charges against them were consolidated. They appeared in court wearing prison stripes.

No date has been set for their trials.

Third Man Charged in Bobo Murder

May 21, 2015 - A third man has been charged with kidnapping and murder in the Holly Bobo case. John Dylan Adams, who was previously charged with two counts of rape in the case, has now been charged with premeditated first-degree murder and murder in the perpetration of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape.

Adams is the brother of Zachary Adams, who along with Jason Autry, were previously charged with murder and kidnapping of the Tennessee nursing student, who was abducted from her home on April 13, 2011.

Hunters found human remains which were identified as Bobo's in Decatur County, Tennessee in September 2014. No trial date has been scheduled for any of the defendants charged in the case.

Defense Attorney Demands Bobo Evidence

Mar. 18, 2015 - One of the attorneys defending a man charged with the murder of Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo has filed a motion demanding that evidence against his client be turned over, the charges dropped, or the prosecutor held in contempt of court.

John Herbison, one of the attorneys for Jason Autry, who has been in jail since April 2014, said the judge previously ordered prosecutors to turn over the evidence against his client by the end of December 2014 and they still have not done so.

"The U.S. Constitution entitles us to know that he's charged and why and we don't have the why," said Fletcher Long, another attorney for Autry.

Herbison said he understands that three district attorneys have worked on the Bobo case since Autry was charged, but the delays are unnecessary. "We're running out of patience," Herbison told reporters.

No date has been set to hear Herbison's motion.

Holly Bobo Suspect Found Dead

Feb. 23, 2015 - A man who once had immunity to testify in the Holly Bobo investigation, before it was withdrawn, had been found dead.

Shayne Austin apparently committed suicide out of state according to his attorney, Luke Evans.

"Obviously a tragic loss for the Austin family and they are besides themselves with grief," Evans told reporters. "It's unfortunate the government came in and made allegations without basis. People had to live with those allegations ... under the cloud of those allegations."

Austin, 30, signed an immunity agreement on March 6, 2014, a week after Zachary Adams was indicted for kidnapping and murder in the case, but before Jason Autry was indicted on the same charges.

But later, former District Attorney Hansel McCadams rescinded the immunity deal because he said Austin was not being honest and was not cooperating.

When the immunity was withdrawn, Austin filed a lawsuit to force prosecutors and investigators to produce evidence to support their allegation that Austin had been dishonest or was not cooperating.

"They have yet to produce any specific incident to support their allegation to prove that he has been untruthful," Evans said. "He's maintained this from the beginning, that he had nothing to do with the tragic circumstances that befell Ms. Bobo."

Austin was never charged with a crime or indicted. However, he remained a person of interest in the case.

Bobo Suspects Want Charges Dropped

Jan 2, 2015 - Two men charged with the abduction and murder of Holly Bobo have asked the judge to dismiss the charges against them because their attorneys said they had seen no evidence that links them to her murder.

In fact, claim attorneys for Zach Adams and Jason Autry, prosecutors have not turned over any evidence that shows that the Tennessee nursing student is dead.

"It would appear to me if they had a skull with a dental match they would have given that to us right away. It's a little suspicious why we don't have that forensic information," Autry's attorney Fletcher Long told reporters.

On Dec. 17, Judge Creed McGinley ordered the state to begin turning over key evidence to the defense by December 24. Long says prosecutors missed that deadline. He said they have received no evidence linking Adams and Autry to a homicide.

"It would seem to me in a murder case the first thing they would want to give us is proof that someone has been killed," Long said.

Change of Venue Likely in Bobo Case

Dec. 17, 2014 - The judge presiding over the Holly Bobo case has indicated that he will probably grant motions of the defendants for a change of venue when they are filed. Judge C. Creed McKinley said during a hearing that he thought it would be impossible to find an impartial jury in Decatur County due to pretrial publicity and emotions in the community.

Attorneys for defendants Zachary Adams and Jason Autry, both charged with felony murder and kidnapping of Bobo, said they would file a change of venue motions once trials dates have been set.

Also during the hearings, Judge McKinley complained more than once about the lack of progress in the case. He warned District Attorney Matt Stowe that all evidence needed to be turned over to the defense and prosecutors needed to make a decision about seeking the death penalty.

Meanwhile, Stowe has stepped down as the prosecutor in the case. After an earlier dispute with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that resulted in the TBI withdrawing its support from the entire court district, Stowe decided to appoint a special prosecutor for the Holly Bobo case.

As a result, the TBI has rejoined the investigation.

Man Charged With 2 Counts of Rape

Oct. 14, 2014 - A man previously charged with disposing of evidence in the Holly Bobo case, has now been indicted on two counts of rape as the investigation into the death of the Tennessee nursing student continues. John Dylan Adams, who was indicted this week, is the brother of Zachary Adams who has been charged with kidnapping and murder in the case.

Investigators said John Adams admitted last month that he raped Bobo. He was indicted by a special grand jury panel this week.

John Adams is being held without bail at the Robertson County jail, according to the TBI. On September 7, the remains of Bobo were found by hunters less than 15 miles from Zachary Adams' home.

The TBI said the continuing Bobo investigation had become the most expensive in the bureau's history.

Another Arrest in Holly Bobo Murder

Sept. 20, 2014 - The brother of the man charged with the murder of Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo has been arrested in connection with the case and charged with tampering with evidence. John Dylan Adams, the brother of Zach Adams, was being held without bond in the Madison County jail.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Adams "disposed of items he knew to be of evidentiary value to the case."

Adams arrest makes five people who have been charged in the Bobo case, with a sixth suspect facing possible grand jury indictment after he was originally granted immunity.

Zach Adams is charged with felony murder and aggravated kidnapping in the case. Jason Autry has also been charged with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree felony murder.

Brothers Jeffrey and Mark Pearcy have been charged with tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact. Shayne Austin, previously granted immunity, is facing possible indictment.

Holly Bobo's Remains Found

Sept. 9, 2014 - Human remains found by two people who were digging for ginseng root in Decatur County, Tennessee have been identified as that of missing nursing student Holly Bobo. The human skull was found near property owned by the family of Zachary Adams, a suspect in the case.

Bobo was kidnapped from her home in Parsons, about 10 miles south of the community of Holladay, near where Adams lived and where her remains were found. The hunters did not dig up the skull; it was found laying on the ground, TBI officials said.

Two days after the discovery of the skull and a day after Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials confirmed it was Holly Bobo, a grand jury indicted Adams on murder and kidnapping charges. District Attorney Matt Stowe said he plans to make a decision on seeking a possible death penalty after consulting with Bobo's family.

"The evidence is voluminous," Stowe said. "We are going to make sure that everyone who played a part in the heinous crime that has attacked the peace and dignity of the state of Tennessee faces a consequence for that."

A second suspect, Jason Autry, has been charged with murder and kidnapping in the case. He and Adams have pleaded not guilty.

Two brothers, Jeffrey Kurt Pearcy and Mark Pearcy, have been charged with tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact in the case. The also have pleaded not guilty.

Bobo family attorney Steve Farese said the family had requested privacy at this time.

"We believe we have the right to mourn privately as a family, and as a community," he said. "Now is a time for grieving. Please honor our request."

Woman Saw Video of Holly Bobo

July 30, 2014 - Testimony in a preliminary hearing for one of the men accused of being an accessory in the Holly Bobo case has confirmed the existence of at least one video of the missing Tennessee nursing student being abused by her abductor.

Sandra King, a woman who gave Jeffrey Kurt Pearcy a place to stay so that his sons could finish school, testified that he showed her a video that showed Holly Bobo tied up and crying. Pearcy has been charged with tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact in the case.

King told the court that she watched less than a minute of the video then told Pearcy to turn it off. She said she didn't contact police about it for a couple of weeks because she was not sure that she wanted to get involved.

"It looked like Holly Bobo," she said. "It was a shock to see it."

King also testified that Pearcy told her that his brother, Mark Pearcy, had a video showing Zachary Adams having sex with Bobo. Mark Pearcy is also charged as an accessory in the case. Zachary Adams and Jason Autry have been charged with kidnapping and murder.

Also at the hearing, TBI Agent Brent Booth told the judge that he has possession of Mark Percy's phone and is waiting for a code from Apple so that he can access it.

The judge ruled there was enough evidence to bind Jeffrey Pearcy over to the grand jury. A preliminary hearing for Mark Pearcy is scheduled in August.

Two More Men Charged in Bobo Case

The list of defendants keeps getting longer in the Holly Bobo case. Two more men have been charged in connection with the disappearance of the missing Tennessee nursing student.

Two brothers, Jeffrey Kurt Pearcy and Mark Pearcy, are facing charges of tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact in the kidnapping and murder of Bobo, said Josh DeVine of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The charges apparently stem from their knowledge of or possession of a video that was taken of Bobo after she was abducted from her home. DeVine would not give further details.

But, Olin Baker, Jeffrey Pearcy's attorney, said there is no such video or recording, according to his client.

"He says there's no truth to it, no video. He's been questioned on it by the TBI, and they're out on hearsay making arrests. The TBI is on a fishing expedition," Baker told reporters.

Jeffrey Pearcy's bond has been set at $25,000. Mark Pearcy, who is a registered sex offender, is being held without bond in the Henderson County Jail.

News Sources:
CBS News: 2 More Charged in Case of Missing Nursing Student Holly Bobo

Immunity Dispute for Bobo Witness Headed to Court

March 28, 2014 - A 29-year-old Tennessee man who was granted immunity in March in the Holly Bobo case in exchange for his cooperation had filed a lawsuit claiming that prosecutors breached a contract when they later revoked that immunity.

The lawsuit was filed in chancery court by Shayne Austin's attorney, but Judge Carma D. McGee agreed with Assistant Attorney General Scott Sutherland that the chancery court does not have jurisdiction over the issue and only a criminal court can decide the matter.

Austin's immunity agreement granted him protection from prosecution for "all charges arising out of the disposal, destruction, burial, and/or concealment of Bobo's deceased body."

Prosecutors revoked the immunity deal later because they said Austin was not truthful with them.

According to court records, the agreement was dependent upon Bobo's body being found. It has not been recovered. The deal also included immunity for Austin on drug-related charges "not to include any drugs administered to Holly Lynn Bobo."

If the revocation of the immunity deal holds up in criminal court, Austin can be indicted, according to court records.

See Also:
Immunity dispute in Holly Bobo case headed to criminal court

Previous Developments

3rd Man Suspected in Holly Bobo Kidnapping
May 4, 2014
A third man, who originally had been given immunity from prosecution in the case, may now be indicted along with two previous suspects in the kidnapping and murder of missing Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo. Shayne Austin is expected to be indicted along with Zachary Adams and Jason Autry.

Second Man Arrested in Holly Bobo Case
April 29, 2014
Jason Wayne Autry, a longtime friend of a man arrested earlier for kidnapping and murder in the case, is now facing similar charges in connection with Holly Bobo's disappearance. Autry and Zachary Adams have been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.

New Charges Filed in Bobo Case
April 2, 2014
The man arrested in the kidnapping and murder of Holly Bobo and being held without bond is now facing additional charges due to his making a threat against a witness in the case. The witness Zachary Adams threatened is his brother.

Man Charged in Holly Bobo Case
March 7, 2014
Police charged Zachary Adams with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder in the Holly Bobo case after an extensive search of his home and property. Adams is being held without bond although the body of the missing nursing student has not be found.

Home Searched in Holly Bobo Case
March 4, 2014
After almost two years, investigators began to make progress in the Holly Bobo case when they executed several search warrants, including one for the home and property of a man being held on an unrelated assault on another woman. The assault took place at his home.

Police Seek Help in Holly Bobo Case
April 19, 2014
After following more than 250 leads in the case of a missing 20-year-old nursing student, Tennessee police asked for the public's help in the small community of Parsons. No suspects or persons of interest have been identified in the case of Holly Bobo's disappearance.