Holly Bobo suspect pleads not guilty in court

DECATURVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of kidnapping and killing 20-year-old nursing student Holly Bobo, whose highly publicized disappearance happened almost three years ago.

Despite an arrest in the case, there are plenty of questions authorities have yet to answer. What was the connection between the suspect, Zachary Adams, and Bobo? How did she die? And have authorities found her body?

In the days following Adams’ arrest, authorities have been tight-lipped about evidence in the investigation, saying only that it is ongoing.

Adams appeared in a Decatur County courtroom Tuesday and was arraigned on charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder. Adams was shackled at the wrists and wore a black and gray striped shirt during the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes. Relatives and friends of Bobo attended the hearing.

Attorney Jennifer Lynn Thompson entered the plea on Adams’ behalf. Circuit Court Judge Charles Creed McGinley asked Adams if he understood the charges, and Adams replied, “Yes, sir.”

Nashville defense attorney David Raybin, a former prosecutor, said the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation must have had some sort of break in the case, given the recent flurry of activity, including multiple search warrants. Raybin said prosecutors may have decided to charge Adams because they didn’t want the case to get any colder.

“They may have concluded that they will never find a body and the case is not going to get any stronger,” Raybin said. “Witnesses die and evidence evaporates. It could be that it was now or never.”

In Parsons, near where Bobo disappeared in West Tennessee, townspeople were looking for closure.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” said Ronda Philpott, who attended the school where Bobo’s mother taught. “At this point in time, it’s believed that Holly’s deceased and the most important thing now is for her poor family to have some peace.”

Prosecutors are considering asking for the death penalty if they get a conviction.

Adams is the only suspect named by authorities since Bobo disappeared on the morning of April 13, 2011, outside her home near Parsons, about 120 miles northeast of Memphis. Her brother told police that he saw a man dressed in camouflage leading her away into the woods.

An April 9 status hearing has been set.

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