Jurors heard testimony Tuesday from witnesses called by the prosecution team in the trial of Zach Adams. Adams stands accused of kidnapping, raping, and killing Holly Bobo in 2011.
The second day of the trial began with former Decatur County deputy Tony Weber on the stand as the defense cross-examined him.
The defense began former Decatur County deputy Tony Weber’s cross-examination with a recording of the call Weber made to AT&T requesting to track Holly Bobo’s phone. The track resulted in several locations that Bobo’s phone could have been.
The defense asked Weber if he sent officers to all locations; he said officers were sent to some, but did not know if they were sent to each one. One of the pings was close to the home of Zach Adams.
The defense also questioned what Weber did when he got to the Bobo home.
He said he spoke to Clint Bobo (Holly’s brother. The report Weber wrote said Clint was the one to hear a woman’s scream; however, a neighbor was the one to hear the scream, according to earlier testimony.
The defense questioned the speed at which Weber filed the report, to which he said would have been within a day or two; he was unsure when the report was filed exactly.
Weber said he believes he photographed blood on his work-issued phone, but he did not go in the home.
Weber then visited sex offenders in the area with other deputies.
The prosecution then followed with questions of their own.
They confirmed with Weber that AT&T did not give exact locations. He also said he gave the ping locations to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and anyone else who asked for them.
Prosecutor Paul Hagerman showed the jury a photo of the crime scene, which had blood spatter on the wall of the carport, according to Weber.
Defense attorney Jennifer Thompson then questioned Weber about the timing of the crime scene.
Weber said he got to the home, spoke to Clint, and gave him a form to fill out all before Karen Bobo (Holly’s mother) arrived.
Weber said it was not until he noticed the blood that he began setting up a crime scene; he said he did not tape off the carport and that tape was done by someone else.
After all of this occurred, Thompson asked Weber if he ever went into the woods; he said no.
TBI Special Agent Lawrence James took the stand next.
James described his background in forensic science and DNA. He said his job on this case was to focus on the garage and search for blood or footprints.
James was shown pictures of the home and the surrounding area. James said he retrieved a pair of underwear from the home to be used as DNA reference.
James reviewed photos from inside the garage, showing areas they searched for evidence.
Bobo’s car trunk was open, and there were drops of blood on the floor and on the steps, including a larger pool of blood in one spot.
Several shoe prints were taken from the garage. Because the floor was dirty, James said it was easier to pull shoe prints.
James said one blood spot stood out to him–he said the stain was more of a smear than a drop.
Ultimately, James said there were 50-60 drops of blood in the garage. He grouped these into five areas and observed them.
From there, he matched the blood against the underwear and got a partial match for Holly Bobo.
He said the DNA match was partial due to the interference of dirt, but he emphasized that it was still a reliable match.
James ran the DNA three times; one test had his DNA in it (meaning the sample was compromised in the lab), which he said has happened to him just twice in his 18 years of work.
The defense then cross-examined Lawrence.
Thompson handed him a bag of evidence with shoes inside. James said he went through Clint Bobo’s clothes to check for blood stains, “just in case someone changed before we get there.”
Tennessee Highway Patrolman Warren Rainey was next on the stand.
Hagerman asked if Rainey had investigated Zach Adams, which he answered yes.
Soon after Bobo was taken, Rainey said he asked people about anyone in the area north of Parsons that had a history of being a criminal or sex offender, among other things.
Rainey said he was looking for someone in the area, because he felt like whoever took Holly Bobo had to know the area well, due to the complicated web of back roads.
Rainey said Zach Adams’ name was a name that came up several times when he questioned people in the area. He said he used a map of cell phone points and it led him to Adams’ house. He went to Adams house, roughly a week-and-a-half after the abduction.
“My troopers knew him well,” he said.
Rainey said he knocked on Adams’ door, and he answered shirtless and acting as if he just woke up.
Rainey said he asked Adams for his cellphone number, which Adams replied that his girlfriend had already given it to authorities. Adams then said he needed to go inside to put on a shirt. When he turned to go inside, Rainey followed Adams. Rainey said Adams reacted negatively to being followed inside.
Rainey said Adams was nervous the entire time. “He was shaking. He was scared.”
As Rainey drove away from the home, he observed Adams in his mirror. He said Adams ran back to the house.
Concerned, Rainey said he hid to observe Adams. At one point, he saw someone (who he later identified as Zach’s brother Dylan) drive up in a pickup truck; another trooper later pulled over Dylan for driving recklessly.
The next day, Rainey assembled a search team with K-9s to search behind the home, where there were hundreds of acres of county property.
At that point, Rainey returned to the Adams home and asked Zach and his grandfather to search the area.
Rainey at this point noticed a mattress (in good condition) leaned up against the home. Despite his suspicions, he didn’t ask about it.
“I don’t know why you’d leave a mattress like that outside,” he testified.
Rainey and his search team found a tree that had been cut down, laying over a dirt area. He believed it could be a grave, so he got a shovel from Adams and dug; however, he found nothing.
The defense then grilled Rainey on his suspicions of Adams. Thompson said Rainey was trying to imply that Adams’ nervousness was because he had kidnapped Holly Bobo and kept her in the house. Rainey denied this, but admitted that it did line up with his suspicions.
Thompson suggested that Rainey, who had a gun on him as part of his THP uniform, made Adams nervous by questioning and asking for his phone number.
“He was nervous when I opened the door,” Rainey said.
Thompson also suggested that Adams’ past as a known meth user could have contributed to his nervousness. When Thompson suggested Adams was hiding drugs, Rainey said he already knew where those were. Rainey said he knew of hundreds of marijuana plants behind the home.
Lastly, Thompson said the mattress implied a link to Holly. Thompson suggested the mattress could have belonged to Zach’s girlfriend.
“I find that highly unlikely,” Rainey said.
Rainey said the location of the mattress was odd, and that the mattress could have been left on the deck, in the garage, or somewhere else if it was intended to be used again.
“When I saw the mattress, it gave me the feeling that something was off.”
Rainey’s testimony wrapped up as the court headed to lunch.
After lunch, prosecutors called Stephen Young, a commercial fisherman and local restaurant owner.
Young helped in the search for Holly Bobo.
Next, prosecutors called Matthew Ross to the stand. Ross is a special agent with FBI. He was involved in the search and investigation for Holly Bobo.
He explained that he was in charge of the investigation at Zach Adams’ house. He said Adams allowed him access to the home and cooperated during his investigation.
Ross was shown several pictures he took during the investigation. He explained that the pictures showed scratches on Zach’s arms and legs.
Prosecutors then called park ranger Chris Hill. He pulled over Zach Adam on April 4, 2011 (days before Holly Bobo was abducted) as he drove his pickup truck through a state park.
During the traffic stop, Adams grabbed a bag from his truck and ran. Hill chased Adams through the woods and eventually caught him, tackled him, and arrested him.
Prosecutors asked Hill if Adams had any scratches on his arms or legs like the one’s Ross testified about. Hill said he did not.
The defense team cross-examined Hill. The defense team said Adams could have gotten the scratches during the chase through the woods and while being tackled to the ground by Hill.
Prosecutors then called Christee Clenney to the stand. She had a potential run-in with Zach Adams days before Holly Bobo’s disappearance.
In April 2011, Clenney was regularly walking in the area around the Bobo home. She was recovering from neck surgery, and walking was park of her rehab.
One day a truck slowly idled by her on her walk. She said she remembered it, because of how slowly the truck idled by her. She said the truck then turned around and the driver talked to her.
The driver asked her if he scared her, and then he said he was sorry, but he thought she was a girl he knew that lived in the area.
She said after Holly Bobo’s kidnapping, she reported what happened to police. She was given a photo lineup to try and identify the driver of the truck. She said she couldn’t identify the driver specifically, but she kept coming back to the same picture–one she thought matched the description of the man she saw in the truck.
She did not know the name of the person in the photo, but her husband did. So prosecutors then called her husband, Timothy Clenney to the stand.
Timothy identified the picture that his wife pointed out as being a picture of Zach Adams.
The defense team cross-examined Timothy asking him how many pictures they looked at the day they did the photo lineup. Timothy said around 20.
The defense team asked Timothy if he knew that his wife changed the physical traits of the driver from her initial report to when they pegged Zach Adams as the driver. Timothy said he was not aware of that.
After a brief recess, court resumed with Rebecca Earp on the witness stand. Earp was Zach Adams’ girlfriend at the time of Holly Bobo’s disappearance.
Earp described her relationship with Adams as “awful” at the time of Holly’s disappearance. She said she tried to break up with him multiple times, but each time he was “stern and threatening” toward her.
She said Zach, Dylan, Jason Autry, and Shayne Austin all spent time together and did drugs together.
On April 12, 2011 (the day before Holly’s disappearance), Earp tried to break up with Zach Adams. He convinced her to come back over to talk about it. So she went there and spent the night. She said she doesn’t remember him going to bed, but she remembers him waking her up around 6-7:30 a.m. on the day Holly Bobo disappeared.
She said Zach kissed her on the forehead and told her he was going to haul off scrap. She got up thirty minutes later and went to work.
She said she saw Zach again that afternoon when he came to her work. She said they got into an argument again. She said she accused Zach of cheating on her. She said she thought he was cheating because he had his brother’s (Dylan’s) phone.
The next day Earp said she was cooking dinner when the news started talking about Holly Bobo. She said Shayne Austin smirked and Zach Adams said, “They’ll never be able to find her.”
Months after Holly Bobo’s disappearance, and during another argument, Earp said Zach threatened her.
“He said he’d tie me up, like he did Holly Bobo, and nobody would ever see me again,” Earp said. She said that happened July 13; she remembered because it was a day before her birthday. She also remembered the date because it’s the day she finally ended her relationship with Adams.
She said she called her mother, because she was afraid for her life. Her mother sent her nephew to pick her up, but before Earp left Adams warned her to not go to the authorities with anything.
Zach Adam’s defense team then questioned Earp and her story.
The defense team questioned Earp on her testimony. They said her story changed multiple times. Earp agreed.
The defense team then asked if she was doing drugs at the time. Earp said she was and admitted that’s probably why the details of her stories changed multiple times.
During cross-examination, Earp said Holly Bobo was never in the Adams’ house. She said she loved Zach Adams, but she would not have covered up anything for him. In fact, she said she was eager to help TBI convict Adams because she felt exposed and distraught about being in love with a man who could’ve committed such a crime.
Defense attorney’s also got Earp to admit that TBI threatened to take away her baby, if she didn’t cooperate in the investigation.
The judge ended day two just before 5:30 p.m. He said the trial would resume Wednesday morning with more testimony.
Bobo’s immediate family took the stage, culminating with Holly’s mother, who collapsed in the court room–bringing up talk of a mistrial that was shot down by the judge.
Prosecutors opened up the trial, revealing that they believe Holly was alive when Jason Autry and Zach Adams dumped her body, before Adams killed her by shooting her in the head.
They said Adams covered up the crime and even bragged about it.
Adams’ defense attorney said the state has a big problem–the physical evidence in the case doesn’t match the story Adams’ brother gave investigators.
Holly’s brother Clint also took the stand, saying he caught a glimpse of the man he believe took Holly. He admitted the man he saw dressed in camouflage did not match the stature of Zach Adams or Jason Autry; instead he matched the body style of Shayne Austin, who was charged in the case but killed himself in 2015.
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