Bobo's face might not be shown during murder trial - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bobo's face might not be shown during murder trial unless law changes

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It's been a long three years since the disappearance of Holly Bobo. And during that time her face became a familiar image for many people in Middle Tennessee and beyond.

But her face might not be shown in the courtroom at all during the potential murder trial of Zachary Adams.

It's up to a judge whether to allow a victim's photo to be shown during murder trials, and that can be a real source of agony for families.

Now, there's a plan that could change everything.

Chris Davis was a security guard at Shoe Carnival when he was murdered by a teenager for a $40 pair of shoes.

Davis' mom wanted the jury to know how her son looked with love at his newborn baby.

"I felt like the jury needed to see that side. They need to know the human being, the father. The children had their father taken away," said Judy Davis.

But the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld an appeals court ruling that said photographs of murder victims, "have the potential to undermine and place in jeopardy the outcome of the entire judicial proceedings."

Verna Wyatt, with the group Tennessee Voices for Victims, says this is not right.

"They had a life, and they had people who loved them, and hopes and dreams. And if they could be in court to represent themselves, they would be," Wyatt said.

Next week, the state legislature is set to consider a bill that would allow victims' photos to be shown in murder trials.

Defense attorneys say that it isn't fair, and are against the law for a reason.

"No disrespect to the state legislature, but there's this thing called separation of powers - judicial, legislative and executive - and I don't see how in the world the legislature thinks it can overrule hundreds of years of evidence and relevancy and prejudice," said defense attorney Jim Todd.

Todd said victims' pictures just inflame the jury and have nothing to do with the facts of a murder case.

But victim family members like Judy Davis are asking lawmakers to look past the face of the defendant and look at the face who lost everything.

"If you take that away, then you're hurting the families all over again," she said.

This is certainly a touchy subject. And some people may remember that Davidson County prosecutor Tom Thurman said aloud the name of Sarah Jackson several times during the Paul Reid trial.

The defense kept a note of every time he said the name and included that in an appeal of the murder conviction.

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