SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) — A judge set a tentative trial date Tuesday for a man charged with kidnapping, raping and killing a Tennessee nursing student who disappeared from her rural home more than six years ago.
Judge C. Creed McGinley said he plans to hold the trial of John Dylan Adams during the last week of May 2018. Adams is charged in the case of Holly Bobo, who was 20 when she was reported missing from her home in Parsons, Tennessee, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Nashville.
Bobo's disappearance on April 13, 2011, led to a massive search of the woods, fields and farms of west Tennessee, and her case received national attention. Her remains were found in September 2014 by two ginseng hunters in woods not far from Bobo's home in Decatur County.
John Dylan Adams is the younger brother of Zachary Adams, who was convicted of Bobo's kidnapping, rape and murder on Sept. 22 and was sentenced the next day to life in prison without parole plus 50 years. Zachary Adams avoided a possible death sentence when he reached a deal with prosecutors minutes before his sentencing hearing was to begin.
Zachary Adams' jury selection and trial was moved from Decatur County to neighboring Hardin County because of the intense publicity the case received in Bobo's home county. McGinley said he is making arrangements to hold John Dylan Adams' jury selection in Chattanooga, located in Hamilton County in southeast Tennessee.
The trial would still be held in Hardin County, said Matt Maddox, the lawyer for John Dylan Adams.
"I cannot get another jury in Hardin County," McGinley said.
The judge said he was setting a tentative trial date for the "day after Memorial Day," which is May 29. Jury selection would be held the week before, and the panel will be sequestered, the judge said.
Prosecutors have indicated they no longer intend to seek the death penalty or life in prison without parole if John Dylan Adams is convicted, McGinley said.
A third man, Jason Autry, also is charged with kidnapping, rape and murder in the case. Autry testified in Zachary Adams' trial, telling jurors that Adams used graphic details when he told Autry that he, his brother John and friend Shayne Austin raped Bobo.
Autry said he served as a lookout while Zachary Adams shot Bobo under a bridge spanning the Tennessee River.
Autry was on a list of witnesses offered immunity in the case. He said during the trial that he testified because he wanted leniency. Autry's lawyer has told the judge that a trial does not need to be set for Autry, indicating he has reached a deal with prosecutors.
John Dylan Adams' name came up several times in his brother's trial.
Shawn Cooper, who was jailed with Zachary Adams in Chester County after his arrest in March 2014, testified that Adams threatened his own brother for speaking about the Bobo case.
Cooper was awaiting transfer to the Obion County Jail on a separate case when he says Zachary Adams told him he was involved in the "Holly Bobo murder case."
Cooper said Adams told him his brother was being held in Obion County Jail. Adams then asked him to relay to John Dylan Adams that he should stay quiet or he would "put him in a hole beside her," Cooper said.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has said that the Bobo investigation was the most exhaustive and expensive in the agency's history.