Holly Bobo Trial: Former TBI agent explains focus on Terry Britt, not Zach Adams
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Day eight of the trial for Zach Adams, accused of kidnapping, raping, and killing nursing student Holly Bobo resumed with the defense taking the lead after prosecutors rested their case.
Dicus, a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) was the case agent for the Holly Bobo case when she went missing on April 13, 2011.
The TBI agent who first interviewed Zach Adams found enough to check him out further, also sending out the FBI. Adams told investigators he was at home with his girlfriend and brother the morning of Holly's disappearance. Zach said he and Dylan then drove in Dylan's vehicle to pick up Shayne Austin around 10 in the morning. Adams claimed the three went to a local gas station, filled up with $5.00 in gas and it was then that they noticed a "wave" of police vehicles driving down interstate.
Surveillance from a local pharmaceutical company, possibly identifying Dylan Adams' vehicle were shared, taken around 11:07 a.m. the morning of Bobo's disappearance off Highway 641 in Parsons, Tennessee. Dicus says he spent days and weeks reviewing the footage which could possibly support Adams' alibi.
Dicus then shared how he combed cell phone data records from Bobo and the suspects. Dicus says he even called in an AT&T engineer who used a device pinpointing which tower would have been used by Bobo. Four or five pings were mapped out by an AT&T engineer indicating where Bobo's phone could have been the morning of her disappearance.
Based on mapping of Bobo's phone pings and Zach Adams' pings at 8:28 a.m., Dicus said he determined Adams could not have been involved in Bobo's kidnapping. Dicus says Adams' phone pinged in area of his residence, several miles from Bobo's residence where her phone had pinged at 8:26 in the morning, putting the two in separate areas.
"She was kidnapped at 7:45...her phone is disassembled around 9:40," Dicus said of his focus on people with cell phone records placing them in the area of Holly's disappearance the morning of April 13, 2011. Despite the focus and multiple investigations, Dicus said he could give four or five reasons why an individual did not kidnap Holly Bobo.
The defense then circled to Terry Britt, who Dicus says had a "weak" alibi. Although Britt had an alibi he was with his wife, Dicus says his wife had actually been with him on previous occasions where Britt had allegedly stalked girls. Dicus also pointed to Janet Britt as an alibi, saying he was told she had gone to work that morning but then called by her husband to leave her job at the local paper "on the biggest news day" of the county's history.
According to Dicus, Britt had been staring at Natalie Bobo and Holly Bobo at a store the week before Holly's disappearance. Dicus says Karen Bobo also told the former agent he needed to check Britt, known as 'Chester the molester,' out. Dicus says another girl the week after Holly's disappearance filed a report about Britt stalking her.
In all, Dicus says he determined there were eight mostly "blonde hair and blue eyed" women had been stalked by Britt. Dicus says he didn't believe Bobo's kidnapping was random and deemed Britt was capable of the kidnapping. "The alibi was garbage," Dicus says of the Britt's statements on their whereabouts. Dicus says based on telephone records, Britt's cell phone called his wife's the morning of Holly's disappearance. Britt had told investigators he and his wife were together and had gone shopping for a bath tub at Allgoods Salvage.
Dicus says he went to the store and no employee recalled seeing Britt and the store did not have a receipt of a bath tub purchase the whole week of April 13, 2011. It was not until a search warrant was served at the home that investigators found a handwritten receipt in Terry Britt's safe for the purchase.
Other receipts found from the same day also poked holes in Britt's alibi, Dicus saying they reflected Britt was in Benton County three times an April 13th not twice as Britt had told investigators. When questioned on that, Dicus says Britt just looked at him like "you got me." The defense also entered receipts of cell phones and minutes purchased by Britt the days before Holly disappeared and a receipt for a chainsaw purchased on April 29, 2011.
Dicus says the search warrant also yielded a shovel, hammer, and ax which cadaver dogs allegedly 'hit on' for human decomposition.
Based on Britt's mug shot history, Dicus says Britt may have also changed his appearance once there were reports of eye-witnesses to Holly's disappearance. Previously having long hair, Dicus says Britt cut his hair short at some point between his last arrest and when he was arrested when Bobo went missing. Another point Dicus focused on was Britt's build. Based on statements from Clint Bobo, Clint had stated the person he saw the morning of Holly's disappearance had a build similar to a family member. When matched up to Britt's build in photos presented to the court, Dicus says Britt fit the description physically as well.
Prosecutors on cross examination questioned why a sock found with semen in Shayne Austin's room was never collected and tested. Dicus admitted investigators who found the sock took Austin's word it was used to clean up after masturbating based on information and the description of the suspect as provided by Clint Bobo. Since Austin did not match the description at the time, investigators did not take the sock.
Prosecutors then pressed on the alibi's provided by the Adams brothers and Austin, stating the convenience of three suspects sharing the same alibi by allegedly being with one another.
Although holes remained in their alibis, Dicus says he and the investigators were working off the physical description provided to them by Clint Bobo. Since "sexual predators work alone," Dicus admitted Zach Adams, Dylan Adams, and Jason Autry were ruled out as suspects.
Prosecutors stated Shayne Austin does fit the description but Dicus says he ruled Austin out based on his location data. Dicus added "if Clint Bobo was lying about the description of the person who took Holly then we'll never know who did it."
The state also questioned surveillance photos believed to be showing Dylan Adams' truck. Dicus admitted they could not tell who was inside the truck and exactly who it belonged to despite fitting the vehcile description. The state also clarified the direction in which the truck is headed in photos would also place it in the area of where some of Bobo's items were found.
Dicus also told prosecutors Zach Adams and Jason Autry never told investigators about going to the river the day of Holly's disappearance. He was also never told about Zach attempting to take guns from his grandfather's home the night of the disappearance.
Prosecutors also questioned Dicus' decision not to see cousin Natalie Bobo as a suspect given she was a stripper at a club a mile away from Zach Adams' home. Prosecutors also asked Dicus, "Were you aware Natalie Bobo was trading sex for drugs with Zach Adams?" Dicus said he was not aware of the information or other information developed once he was off the case in 2013.
Dicus also said he is not aware of any of the statements allegedly made by Zach Adams connecting him to the crime since they were made after Dicus left the case. Dicus was also not on the case when Bobo's body was found.
Zach and Dylan's grandfather Dick Adams was also called by the defense on Tuesday and questioning by attorneys focused on Dylan's capabilities and the white pickup truck Zach allegedly used the day of Bobo's disappearance.
Dick Adams says at the time of Bobo's disappearance, Dylan was living with him inside his home while Zach lived on the property, but separately. The senior Adams called into question Dylan's accuracy in statements to authorities given Dylan "had a learnin' problem" and "below average" IQ.
Adams added due to his learning impairment, Dyaln could not tell time without looking at a digital watch and "was bad to tell you a story," saying Dylan wasn't often clear on facts.
Despite that, the state countered with the fact Dylan was able to get a driver's license and handle other life tasks without issue.
The defense also focused on the vehicle Zach Adams allegedly used the day of Bobo's murder. According to Jason Autry's previous testimony, Zach was driving his grandfather's white pickup truck, which is where Zach had Holly's body wrapped in a blanket. Autry also testified that was the truck used to transport Holly's body to the river where Adams shot Bobo while Autry served as the lookout.
Dick Adams says nine days before Bobo's murder, he was forced to pick up his white truck Zach was using when he was arrested on Natchez Trace by a park ranger. Grandpa Adams said after doing so, he drove the truck to a friend's home where he left it for two weeks in an effort to hid it from Zach, who had a suspended license.
Adams said he held on to the only set of keys and to his knowledge, Zach never was able to get a hold of the keys. The son of the friend where Dick Adams left the truck testified the truck was at the home the night before Bobo's disappearance and approximately the two to three weeks previous. The son says he believes the truck was also at his mother's home the morning of Bobo's disappearance, but could not be sure of the exact time.
In addition, the senior Adams added neither he or Zach owned a .32 at the time of Bobo's murder, which is the believed caliber weapon used to shoot her.