Holly Bobo guilty verdict: Man convicted for kidnapping, raping and murdering nursing student

A jury reached a verdict Friday in the case of a missing Tennessee nursing student who was first reported missing in 2011.

Zachary Adams was convicted for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Holly Bobo, 20.

A sentencing hearing for Adams' fate is scheduled to begin on Saturday. It's possible that he could face the death penalty.

Adams showed no reaction when the verdict was read.

Defense attorney Jennifer Thompson patted Adams on the shoulder and spoke into his ear shortly after the verdict was read.

After the jury was let out of the courtroom, Bobo's mother Karen hugged prosecutor Jennifer Nichols and Bobo's father Dana hugged Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn.


Bobo, who was reported missing on April 13, 2011, lived with her family in Decatur County, Tenn. and was a nursing student at the University of Tennessee at Martin. She was last seen by her brother, Clint Bobo, in the early hours of the morning.

He reported seeing his sister around 7:30 a.m. being led into the woods by a man, who he told investigators he initially assumed was Holly’s boyfriend. But after finding blood outside, Clint said he called 911.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) began a massive search for Bobo. It would eventually become the costliest and most exhaustive missing persons search in the state’s history.

On Sept. 7, 2014, two men in the woods came across the skeletal remains of what would be later identified as the nursing student. Her body was discovered about 400 yards into the woods in northern Decatur County, approximately 20 miles away from her parents’ home.

Rickey Alexander, a Bobo family friend, said the verdict was "6 1/2 years in the making." Alexander noted that Bobo used to sing at church.

"She finally has the peace in the valley that she sang about," Alexander said.


Thompson, the defense attorney, said she was extremely disappointed in the verdict, and she said Adams was very upset.

"He was really shaking his head. He was white as a ghost," Thompson said.

Adams had pleaded not guilty in court to Bobo's murder.

Judge C. Creed McGinley had moved the trial from Decatur County to neighboring Hardin County in search of an unbiased jury. The jury deliberated 3½ hours Thursday and all day Friday before reaching a verdict.

Two other men, Jason Autry and Adams' brother, John Dylan Adams, also face charges of kidnapping, raping and killing Bobo.

Autry testified against Adams, telling jurors that Adams told him that he, his brother and their friend Shayne Austin had raped Bobo. Autry also said that he served as a lookout as Adams shot Bobo near a river on the day she was reported missing.

Autry was on a list of witnesses who were offered immunity in the case. He said he testified because he wanted leniency.

Autry's lawyer has told the judge that a trial does not need to be set for Autry, indicating he has reached a deal with prosecutors. A trial date has not been set for John Dylan Adams.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.