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Judge Addresses Evidence Questions In Bobo Case

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Judge Addresses Evidence Questions In Bobo Case

CREATED Jun 5, 2014
DECATURVILLE, Tenn. - A judge said prosecutors should not wait until the end of a court-ordered 90-day period to hand over all their evidence to the defense attorney for a man charged in the disappearance of a West Tennessee nursing student three years ago.

Decatur County Circuit Judge Charles Creed McGinley said Wednesday that prosecutors should start handing over evidence they have already gathered in the case of Zachary Adams.

For the brief hearing, Zachary Adams entered Decatur County Circuit Court wearing a black and white prison jumpsuit and shackles on his hands and feet. 

The judge said that the state must present discovery, or evidence, to lawyers by August 29. All pre-trial motions must be filed by October 30, and those will be heard on December 17. A settlement date was also set for January 14, 2015, when a trial date will be set if the case is not settled by then.

The 29-year-old Adams was indicted on murder and kidnapping charges in March as part of the investigation into the disappearance of 20-year-old Holly Bobo in April 2011.

His lawyer has also filed a motion asking for better access to Adams in jail, and asked the judge to allow Adams' family to visit him without her being present.

Adams has also been charged with coercion for allegedly threatening a witness, so the state argued that he needs to be kept in solitary confinement.

Prosecutors and officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have released few details of the case. Investigators said Bobo's body has not been found.

Another man, 39-year-old Jason Autry, also has been charged with murder and kidnapping in the Bobo case. The dates the judge set for Adams apply to his case as well.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

In an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 5 reporter Nick Beres, Autry said he was not involved in Bobo’s kidnapping or interference. His lawyer, Fletcher Long, said Autry may have an alibi, saying he was out of the county when Bobo allegedly was taken.

In court last week, Judge McGinley said he would not be issuing a gag order "at this time" in Autry’s case.

A gag order would bar those involved in the case from speaking publicly about it. McGinley said he has not granted a gag order in 26 years as a judge. However, the judge also advised the defendant to "exercise his right to remain silent."

The request was filed by prosecutors following our exclusive interview with Autry.. McGinley advised everyone involved in the case to "try the case in the court and not in the media."

The state objected to the broad content of our interview and claimed the comments made by Autry and his attorney, Fletcher Long, could intentionally or unintentionally pose a substantial likelihood of prejudicing a fair trial because of the publicity.

Attorney General Beth Boswell claimed Long inappropriately allowed NewChannel 5 to interview his client while he was being held in segregation at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison.

Inmates in segregation are not allowed to do interviews in the prison. Our interview was conducted by way of video conferencing. The NewsChannel 5 crew was not at the prison.

Bobo was 20 when she disappeared from her family's rural home near Parsons on April 13, 2011.

Another man, Shayne Austin, has not yet been charged in the case, but prosecutors have sought to revoke an immunity agreement with him in order to charge him.

Decatur County Chancery Court Judge Carma D. McGee ruled last week that only a criminal court can decide to revoke the agreement reached with Austin.

A March 6 agreement granted Austin immunity from various charges, including "all charges arising out of the disposal, destruction, burial, and/or concealment of Holly Bobo's deceased body."

Prosecutors later revoked the agreement, saying Austin wasn't truthful with them. Austin's lawyer then sued in chancery court for breach of contract.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)