One of the men facing charges in the 2011 murder of Holly Bobo told jurors in graphic testimony Thursday about how he was asked to help dispose of the Tennessee nursing student’s body after she had been kidnapped and raped.
Jason Autry said 33-year-old Zachary Adams — who is on trial for the abduction, rape and murder of Bobo — showed him a body wrapped in a blanket and identified it as Bobo’s after Autry visited Adams to purchase drugs at a home in rural Tennessee, not far from where Bobo disappeared on April 13, 2011.
Upon learning the body was Bobo’s, Autry said he agreed to help dispose of the remains.
The plan, Autry said, was to “gut her” and “put her in the deep end” of the Tennessee River so that her body would not float to the water’s surface. But when Bobo — who was thought to be dead — moved her foot and made a noise, Adams shot her in the head as Autry made sure no one else was watching, he told jurors.
“I see the foot move ... and a sound of distress ... come from the blanket,” Autry testified.
“I told him [Adams] this f---ing b-tch is still alive,” he said.
“I told Zach she’s heard my name called and me talking and all,” Autry said.
Adams then pulled a pistol from his pickup truck, according to Autry. After Autry told him the “coast was clear,” Adams shot Bobo, he said.
The pair — fearing that a boater might have seen them — loaded the body back into the truck, Autry told jurors.
Autry — a star witness for the prosecution — described the plot in graphic details in front of a packed courtroom, which included Bobo’s family.
Autry, 43, also claimed that Zachary Adams later asked him to kill his younger brother, Dylan Adams — who allegedly also participated in the rape — because he was talking too much about the crime and might expose them.
Adams has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, raping and murdering Bobo, who was 20 when she was last seen being led by a stranger into the woods near her home in Parsons on April 13, 2011. Her partial remains turned up in woods near Adams’ home — about 10 miles to the north — in September 2014.
If convicted, Adams faces the death penalty.
In all, six men were arrested for varying degrees of involvement in the death of Bobo — including Autry, who in July was offered federal immunity in exchange for his testimony against Adams, though the precise details of the deal are not publicly known.
The prosecution said in opening arguments Monday that evidence and testimony will show Adams told Autry that he, Shayne Austin, and John “Dylan” Adams had kidnapped and raped Holly. Austin was found dead of an apparent suicide in 2015.
Jennifer Thompson, Adams’ defense attorney, said in her opening argument that her client is not guilty. She said Adams was charged after investigators interviewed several other men and they needed someone to blame.
Authorities found no hair, fingerprints or DNA belonging to Bobo in a search of Adams’ home before he was charged in 2014, Thompson told jurors.