Attorneys For Accused Benton County Child Killer Request DNA Evidence Suppression
BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) – Attorneys for Zachary Holly, a man charged with capital murder in the 2012 killing of six-year-old Jersey Bridgeman, filed a request on April 15 to suppress DNA evidence in the trial, according to court documents.
Jersey Bridgeman 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 the child’s body fewer than 15 minutes later in a nearby vacant house at 704 S.E. A St., officials said.
Court documents state that Holly and his wife babysat the child the night of her death while her mother, DesaRae Bridgeman, and Bridgeman’s boyfriend were working at a nearby convenience store.
A swab test on Jersey Bridgeman’s body showed traces of sperm, according to court documents. Holly consented to cheek swabs for DNA comparison and also gave authorities the clothing he had worn since going to bed the night of Jersey Bridgeman’s death, documents state.
DesaRae Bridgeman called police at about 6:45 a.m. to report her daughter missing. Jersey Bridgeman and her younger sister shared a bed, but Jersey was nowhere to be seen, documents state. Police estimated her death to have happened between midnight and 6:45 a.m.
While searching for Jersey Bridgeman, an officer noticed the back door to 704 S.E. A St. was open. The child’s body was found minutes later inside the vacant house, officials said.
The girl died of asphyxiation, according to court documents.
The defense requested on Wednesday that the DNA evidence from Holly be suppressed on the grounds that law enforcement did not advise Holly that he had a right to refuse to provide a DNA sample before he had a cheek swab done on Nov. 22, 2012, court documents state.
On Thursday, prosecutors said transcripts made the day the cheek swab was taken revealed law enforcement did ask permission to get a DNA sample from Holly, according to court records.
“Detective Stegall asked defendant, ‘Are you okay with me swabbing you for DNA?’ Defendant answered in the affirmative,” court documents state. “A review of the recorded interaction makes it clear that Detective Stegall is obtaining a consensual DNA swab from defendant. After the DNA swab was collected, Detective Stegall took the extra precaution to have the defendant sign a consent form.”
Holly’s trial has been set for May 11, officials said.