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Jason Autry Pleads Not Guilty In Holly Bobo Kidnapping, Murder

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Jason Autry Pleads Not Guilty In Holly Bobo Kidnapping, Murder

CREATED May 1, 2014
DECATURVILLE, Tenn. – Jason Wayne Autry pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder in the Holly Bobo case.

During his brief court appearance, Autry was incredibly vocal about the charges against him. As he walked up to the courthouse Wednesday afternoon, he repeatedly told those outside he had been wrongly accused in the case.

While standing before the judge, Autry asked for time to secure a lawyer and later pleaded not guilty.

“Sir, I’m falsely accused and innocent,” he said in the crowded courtroom.

Autry, age 39, was already being held at the Riverbend Maximum Security prison in Nashville. He was incarcerated after pleading guilty in May 2013 in federal court to felon in possession of a firearm charges and sentenced to serve 100 months in prison.

The charges were issued by after a special meeting of the grand jury that convened at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials announced the indictments against Autry during a 4 p.m. briefing at the Decatur County Sheriff's Office in Decaturville.

Zachary Rye Adams, age 29, was the first suspect charged in the case after TBI investigators presented evidence to a grand jury on March 5. Adams, age 29, was already in custody on an unrelated charge.

Adams and Autry were also co-defendants in a Benton County case when they were charged with theft over $500 but less than $1000 during an August 2012 incident.

Autry made news in January 2008 when he escaped from the Decatur County Jail. He was jailed on charges of burglary and theft over $1,000 and less than $10,000.

A third man was also expected to be charged in the case. The Jackson Sun reported 29-year-old Shayne Kyle Austin was granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation, but officials voided the agreement because he was allegedly not entirely forthcoming with information.

Bobo, a 20-year-old nursing student at the time of her disappearance, was taken from her family's home in Decatur County in 2011.

Authorities have yet to disclose a motive.

Adams was in a Decatur County courtroom Tuesday morning in relation to two charges against him, including to an unrelated aggravated assault charge, which was dismissed.

The other charge was coercion of a witness, which was filed earlier this month after it was learned the 29-year-old allegedly tried to threaten his own brother, who is a witness in the case and incarcerated in the Obion County Jail.

A special agent with TBI testified along with the inmate who Adams allegedly tried to pass the message through. Sean Cooper was brought in from the Obion County jail.

Cooper testified that he and Adams were both in court on March 4 for hearings in their cases. Both were being held in the hallway outside the courtroom when a bailiff allegedly told Cooper that he was likely not going to be bailed out, but would be transferred to Obion County Jail.

Cooper said Adams heard what the bailiff told him and made his way over to him. Adams allegedly asked Cooper if he knew he was and if he could pass a message along to federal prisoners. Cooper said Adams then told to give a message to his brother, who was also being held at the Obion County jail.

An affidavit said the message said in part "he's the one who started this s*** and if he don't shut his mouth he will be in the hole beside her."

The TBI found out about that message because Cooper told his girlfriend about it over the jail phone.

Adams' current representation, Jennifer Johnson, argued the coercion charge should be thrown out because it happened in Chester County, but the judge denied it.

Along with the charges against Autry, the grand jury issued an indictment Tuesday on Adams for coercion of a witness.

Adams was also in court Wednesday at 1 p.m. for a status hearing on the kidnapping and murder charges. The state apparently has thousands of pages of evidence against Adams, all of which his lawyer said she has yet to see.

Adams’ lawyer said he could not afford his legal fees and would have to be declared indigent.

The Bobo case remains active and ongoing, according to the TBI. A reward remains in place for information leading to additional arrests in the case. Anyone with information about Bobo's disappearance has again been urged to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463).

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(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)