Formal Charges Filed Against Jersey Bridgeman’s Accused Killer

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The Benton County prosecutor filed formal charges Wednesday against the Bentonville man accused of killing 6-year-old Jersey Bridgeman.

Van Stone, prosecuting attorney, filed paperwork with the Benton County Circuit Court charging Zachary Dwayne Holly with raping and killing the Bentonville girl before disposing of her body in a vacant house two doors down from her home on Nov. 20.

Holly, 28, is charged with capital murder, kidnapping, rape and residential burglary. He was arrested Nov. 26 and remains in the Benton County Jail without bond.

His arraignment is set for Jan. 7 in Circuit Court Judge Robin Greene’s courtroom.

Holly lives in the trailer next door to Jersey’s home in Bentonville. He also lives between Jersey’s home and a vacant house where her body was found.

Jersey lived at 608 S.E. A St. with her mother, who called the police early in the morning to report her daughter was missing. Officers found Jersey’s body fewer than 15 minutes later, in a nearby vacant house at 704 S.E. A St.

The probable cause affidavit states Holly and his wife babysat Jersey the night of her death while DesaRae Bridgeman and Bridgeman’s boyfriend were working. Holly later carried Jersey back to her house shortly after Desarae Bridgeman returned around 11 p.m.. He told police he had nothing to do with Jersey’s death, according to the report.

A swab test on Jersey’s body showed traces of sperm, according to the affidavit. Holly consented to cheek swabs for DNA comparison. He also gave authorities clothes he had worn since going to bed the night of Jersey’s death, the report states.

Investigators also collected DNA samples from other persons of interest in the case, although police would not elaborate in the probable cause affidavit.

Holly’s wife has been booked four times into local jails since 2007, according to records from the Washington County Detention Center and the Benton County Jail. She was booked into Benton County in July on suspicion of driving with a suspended license and contempt of court. The wife was booked into Washington County twice in 2010, once on suspicion of failure to pay costs, and the other time on suspicion of failure to have proper insurance.

She was also booked into Washington County jail in 2007 on suspicion of writing hot checks, according to records.

Holly went to the nearby E-Z Mart at about 3:30 a.m. for Pepto Bismol stomach medicine and is seen on surveillance video, the probable cause affidavit states. He told police he went to bed after getting the stomach medicine and woke up at 6:30 p.m. to get his four-year-old stepson ready for school.

DesaRae Bridgeman called police at about 6:45 a.m. to report her daughter missing. Jersey and her younger sister shared a bed, but Jersey was nowhere to be seen, the report states. Police estimated her death to have been between midnight and 6:45 a.m.

While on the phone with police, Bridgeman became so upset that she had to hand the phone off to Holly’s wife.

While searching for Jersey, an officer noticed the back door to 704 S.E. A St. was open. Jersey’s body was found minutes later inside the vacant house.

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