Murder Trial Set To Start Next Week For Accused Child Killer Zachary Holly
BENTONVILLE (KFSM) – The murder trial for accused child killer Zachary Holly is set to begin next week as scheduled, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said Monday (Oct. 27).
Jury selection is on track to begin Monday (Nov. 3) in Benton County Circuit Court in Holly’s capital murder trial, according to Nathan Smith, deputy prosecuting attorney. A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Monday (Oct. 27) to prepare for the murder trial next week.
Holly is charged with capital murder in the 2012 killing of six-year-old Jersey Bridgeman in Bentonville.
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.
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.
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.
The probable cause affidavit states 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 the affidavit. 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, the report states.
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, the report states. 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.
The girl died of asphyxiation, according to the probable cause affidavit.