Judge Denies Motion To Shield Accused Child Killer From Death Penalty

A Benton County judge on Friday (Jan. 31) denied a motion by a defense lawyer to prevent accused child killer Zachary Holly from being executed if he is found guilty.

Defense lawyers for Zachary Holly asked Circuit Judge Brad Karren to prevent the suspect from being executed on ground that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, according to court documents.

However, the judge denied the motion. Judge Karren heard close to 30 motion. Most were granted, other were denied, or ruled under advisement or moot.

Also at the hearing on Jan. 31, the judge scheduled a July 29 trial date for Holly, whose trial had been set to begin on April 15.

The defense told Judge Karren they couldn’t comply with the original date because they were working on getting DHS documents from California. Prosecuting attorney Van Stone said changing the date would be in Holly’s best interest to ensure “Mr. Holly a fair trial.”

Holly remains in the Benton County Jail without bond on charges of capital murder, kidnapping, rape and burglary.

At his Jan. 7, 2013, arraignment, Holly pleaded not guilty to the charges. Prosecuting Attorney Van Stone has said he will seek the death penalty against Holly in the case.

The Bentonville girl, who was found killed Nov. 20, 2012, died of asphyxiation, according to an affidavit of probable cause released by authorities.

Jersey lived at 608 S.E. A St. with her mother, who called the police early in the morning of Nov. 20, 2012, 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 at a nearby convenience store.

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.

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 happened between midnight and 6:45 a.m.

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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