Holly To Stand Trial for Death Of Bentonville Girl
Posted: August 30, 2013 at 12:32 p.m.
BENTONVILLE Zachary Holly will stand trial April 15 for the murder of 6-year-old Jersey Bridgeman after mental health experts deemed him fit to proceed to trial.
Holly, 28, appeared before Judge Brad Karren today for a mental status hearing wearing gray slacks and a tie. Police officers in bullet-proof vests escorted Holly into the courtroom.
The Arkansas State Hospital conducted intelligence testing and an evaluation to determine if Holly understood right from wrong. The defense team had additional testing done by its own expert. The results of the tests are under seal, but defense lawyers and prosecutors said the evaluations determined Holly is fit to stand trial.
“We’re prepared to announce he is fit to proceed to trial,” said Madison Aydelott III, Holly’s attorney.
In addition to the trial date, a pretrial hearing was set for Feb. 14. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty.
Holly is charged with capital murder, kidnapping, rape and residential burglary. He is being held without bond in the Benton County Jail. He lived next door to Jersey’s family on Southwest A Street in Bentonville, and he and his wife sometimes baby-sat Jersey and her younger sister, according to court documents.
Holly did not say anything during the the hearing, but signed a formed acknowledging his trial date.
Denise Smith held up a sign on the Bentonville square next to the courthouse during the hearing that read, “Justice for Jersey.” Smith said she did not know Jersey, but was moved when she heard about the girl’s death.
“Children are our only hope in this world to do better,” she said. “I’m going to do this until he gets the death penalty. I believe in justice, and I don’t think Benton County will fail us.”