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Holly Bobo trial: State rests its case after suspect's former jailmates take the stand

(Submitted to WZTV)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - The state rested its case in the Holly Bobo trial after a day filled with testimony from suspect Zach Adams' former jailmates.

Adams is accused of kidnapping, raping and killing Bobo in Decatur County. Her remains were found three years after her disappearance. If convicted, Adams faces the death penalty.

The state called 44 witnesses to the stand during the first seven days of the trial.

Day 7 witness testimony

Terry Britt

The state called Terry Britt to the stand Monday, the focus of their attention in 2011 after Bobo went missing.

A convicted sex offender, Britt lived close to the Bobo family and agents believed Britt fit the profile. In court Monday, Britt admitted he thought they would make him a suspect based on his past, saying, "I figured it."

He said police "came up with a couple charges" (failure to report) and were able to arrest and hold him for three months. During that time, the TBI admittedly turned Britt's life upside-down, tapping his phones, his home and seizing property.

However, Britt had an alibi, saying he was with his wife all day and went shopping at the All Goods salvage store and the All Goods discount store. Britt also provided a receipt for the shopping trip, which had been saved in a safe by his wife.

The defense tried to seize on Britt's history, pointing out he actually has three rape convictions, one in the late '70s, one in the '80s, and one for which he is currently incarcerated. Adams' attorney also pointed to cellphones Britt had purchased, silicone lubricant, a chainsaw, and storage equipment both before and after Holly's disappearance.

Following their attempt to paint Britt as a person potentially responsible for Bobo's disappearance instead of their client, Adams' attorney also referenced Britt's Googling of kidnapping, rape and abduction on pornography sites.

Britt admitted to also having weapons in the home at the time the TBI and FBI searched his home. The defense also pointed to statements made in the wake of Bobo's disappearance, saying "she looked good ... whoever got her probably got her for a sex slave." He also allegedly stated, "If you killed it you would have to hide the body."

The state countered the arguments, supported by previous testimony by lead TBI Agent Brent Booth, who stated they turned Britt's life upside-down while making the "big mistake" of not checking out the alibis of Zach Adams, Dylan Adams, Shayne Austin and Jason Autry.

Anthony Phoenix

Anthony Phoenix, who is on bond for meth charges and made the trek from Texas for the Bobo trial, testified Monday that suspect Zach Adams repeatedly referenced raping Bobo.

Phoenix said he and Zach used to use drugs together. Phoenix knew the Bobo family and knew of Holly. At the time of her disappearance, Phoenix was incarcerated but said he immediately wondered where Zach was.

Zach had met with Bobo’s mother Karen after the initial disappearance and according to Phoenix, Karen gave him a hug. Phoenix said Zach wondered if this meant Karen believed his innocence.

Phoenix testified that Zach was referencing Holly when he said “let’s rape this b****,” “I couldn’t have picked a prettier b****,” and that “it was fun.”

Jamie Darnell

Decatur County resident Jamie Darnell testified to an incident involving Zach Adams in which he fired a shot near Darnell’s girlfriend’s head – then acted strangely after the ordeal and began crying as if “remorseful.”

Darnell said Adams came over to his house and tried to get Darnell to do meth with him by injecting a needle. Darnell allegedly refused because he doesn’t like needles.

Darnell said Adams brought a knife and shotgun with him during this encounter and at one point, Zach fired a shot about a foot above Darnell’s girlfriend’s head.

After the shot fired, Adams apparently started acting strangely and crying as if remorseful, Darnell said.

Darnell says Zach showed him marks and bruises on his arms and said: “this is what meth does to you."

The defense tried to poke holes in Darnell's testimony in comparison to the story he told attorneys prior to the trial.

Carl Stateler

Former Parsons resident Carl Stateler testified Monday that he once heard Zach Adams tell a bartender, “I’ll kill you like I did Holly Bobo.”

Stateler knew Adams and others during the time of Bobo’s disappearance and murder. The summer after the victim disappeared, Stateler said he was riding around with Adams when Adams allegedly said, “I let Shayne hit it.”

On two other occasions that summer, Stateler testified to hearing Adams tell a bartender, “I’ll kill you like I did Holly Bobo” and “I did it.” During cross-examination, the defense said Stateler previously reported to authorities one of the quotes was, “I’ll do you like I did Holly Bobo.”

Corey Rivers

Corey Rivers, Zach Adam’s former next-door cellmate, testified that Adams told him about an alleged video regarding the murder case.

Rivers testified as he was getting ready to be let out of Williamson County Jail, Adams told him he had something he wanted to show Rivers. Adams allegedly said it was “right under the nose of people looking into it.”

When talking about why he was incarcerated, Rivers said Adams told him the story about Bobo. Adams allegedly said he and his friends were drinking when they took a girl into the woods and was “there for the worst of it.”

Adams also saw Rivers frequently reading his Bible, and Rivers said Adams had asked him if he thought God could forgive him.

During cross-examination, the defense brought up the fact that Rivers is a registered sex offender. Rivers testified that it happened when he was 17 and the other person was 16.

Shawn Cooper

Shawn Cooper, who is currently jailed on a probation violation, testified that Zach Adams told him to give a message to his brother Dylan to keep quiet about the case.

Cooper said Adams questioned him if Cooper had contact with any federal inmates and to tell his brother to keep his mouth shut or "I will put him in a hole beside her."

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