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Whitney Duncan Reacts as Zachary Adams Sentenced in Holly Bobo Murder

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Frederick Breedon, Getty Images / AP

Zachary Adams, the man convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing nursing student Holly Bobo, was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years in a Tennessee courtroom on Saturday (Sept. 23).

The news comes less than 24 hours after 33-year-old Adams was found guilty on multiple criminal counts he faced for his role in Bobo’s disappearance and death. A sequestered jury handed down guilty verdicts on all eight counts in a Savannah, Tenn., courtroom early Friday evening (Sept. 22).

Bobo’s cousin, country singer Whitney Duncan, turned to Twitter to weigh in immediately after the guilty verdict was read Friday, writing simply, “Praise God!!!!!!” She tweeted again on Saturday after the sentencing, sharing a video in which Bobo’s mother, Karen Bobo, addressed Adams in court.

“I know that my daughter fought, and fought hard, for her life,” she told Adams in a quivering but resolute voice, making sure that he was looking directly at her. “I know that she begged for her life, because my daughter loved and enjoyed her life. But you chose to take that from her, and you have shown absolutely no remorse for anything that you have done.”

Addressing the courtroom, she stressed that the decision regarding Adams’ sentence has “absolutely nothing to do with that animal,” adding that it had to do “with the future of our family, if there can ever be more joy in our family.”

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ABC News in Chicago reports Judge C. Creed McGinley told the jury on Saturday that Adams struck a last-minute deal with prosecutors just minutes ahead of his sentencing. Adams agreed to a prison term of life without parole in Bobo’s murder, and he was sentenced to additional consecutive terms of 25 years for both the kidnapping and rape convictions.

Adams was facing the possibility of the death sentence due to the especially brutal nature of the crimes he committed against Bobo, who was a 20-year-old nursing student at the time she went missing from her Tennessee home in April 2011. Her remains were found more than three years later. Prosecutors revealed a shocking timeline in which Adams and a group of accomplices kidnapped Bobo from her family’s property, raped her in a secluded area and then killed her and discarded her body.

The case against Adams required the cooperation of Jason Wayne Autry, who’s also been indicted for aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder in Bobo’s death. Autry testified that he assisted Zach Adams in moving what he thought to be Bobo’s body, which was wrapped in a blanket. When she started moving and they realized she was still alive, Autry also stood watch while Adams shot Bobo and made sure that she was dead.

There are still charges pending in Bobo’s murder against Adams’ brother, John Dylan Adams, who has been charged with a range of crimes including first-degree murder in the perpetration of a felony, especially aggravated kidnapping, first-degree murder in the perpetration of a felony, to wit: aggravated rape, and premeditated first-degree murder. Brothers Jeffrey and Mark Pearcy also faced charges of tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact, but those charges were dismissed. Another suspect, Shayne Austin, was charged in the Holly Bobo case before he was found dead in a Florida hotel room in 2015 after an apparent suicide.

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