Zachary Holly’s attorneys have asked for his trial to be pushed back to further prepare for his capital murder case in connection with the death of six-year-old Jersey Bridgeman.
The trial was scheduled to begin April 15, but has been rescheduled to July 29 in Benton County Circuit Court, according to the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office.
The case has gone through several delays and mental status hearings since Holly was arrested in November 2012 on suspicion of capital murder, kidnapping, rape and residential burglary. The suspect was declared fit for trial following two mental evaluations conducted last year.
Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren in January denied a motion by the defense attorneys to prevent Zachary Holly from being executed if he is found guilty.
At his Jan. 7, 2013, arraignment, Holly pleaded not guilty to the charges. Prosecutors have said they 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.