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Jersey Bridgeman

December 30, 2005 - November 20, 2012

Life was not easy for Jersey when she was living with her father and stepmother who had kept her chained to a dresser in their home at night. David and Jana Bridgeman told police that they had used a belt around Jersey's ankle
and chained her to the dresser because she "got into things in the house".  David and Jana both plead guilty to charges of false imprisonment, permitting abuse of a minor and endangering the welfare of a child, with David being sentenced to 18 years in prison and Jana being sentenced to 12 years and three years of probation. Jersey
would be taken away from those monsters and sent to live with her mother, DesaRae Bridgeman where she finally had a good life.

About one year later, DesaRae went to work on the 19th of November and she left her children with her good friends, Zach and Amanda Holly. When her shift was over at 11:00 p.m., she went over to pick up her children. DesaRae carried her youngest daughter home and Zach called Jersey. When DesaRae woke up the next morning, she checked on her children and found Jersey was missing. Police wasted no time and when an officer noticed an open door
to an abandoned home, on the same street where Jersey lived, Jersey was found, she was inside a closet and she was dead.

One week later, Zachary Holly, who was 28 years old at the time, was arrested and charged with capital murder and
rape. Zach had been questioned immediately since he was the last person to see Jersey alive. Zach claimed that
he had woke up in the night and walked to a convenience store to buy some medication and after that he had gone
home and back to bed. DNA evidence was found on Jersey's body and the police took a DNA sample from Zach.
On Zach's Facebook profile, he posted clues that he had made a big mistake and it was threatening to ruin his life
with his wife, Amanda. Amanda made a statement saying she was sorry for what happened and said that her
children were not coping very well with the loss of Jersey.

Zach was no stranger to the legal system and he had been in jail at least four times on various charges including
public intoxication and contempt of court. In jail for Jersey's murder, Zach was attacked by another inmate, but was not seriously hurt. Family members started a fund to raise money to bury Jersey.

Neighbors said that when Jersey's body was found, Zach cried:

"He was crying for a long time"
Julie Pickard

Julie lives across from where Jersey was found and police questioned her to find out of she had seen anyone wearing Mountain Dew pajama bottoms, Julie said that Zach had been wearing some like that.

Charges against him for what he did to Jersey include capital murder, kidnapping and residential burglary. Prosecutor Van Stone was not aware of Zach having an attorney and the public defender had no comments on the case.

Judge Green presided over the arraignment and ordered Zach to be held with no bond. Judge Green also denied Zach's request to go to Jersey's funeral. Zach was also ordered to not have contact of any kind with the Bridgeman family. Chief Jon Simpson reported that Jersey had died between midnight and 6:45 a.m. and the cause of death was asphyxiation:

"Obviously this has been a very intense week for us at the police department as well as
the city of Bentonville. That said, I'm sure it's been a very difficult week for the family members
of Jersey Bridgeman. The investigation has been assisted by Rogers Police Department and the
Benton County Sheriffs office as well as numerous other law enforcement agencies that comprise
the Benton County Child Abduction Team"

Jersey was laid to rest on Tuesday, November 27, 2012.



"Jersey had some tragedies brought on by people with no hearts
but she loved life. She laughed much and she smiled more"



David Bridgeman would later apologize and say he felt guilty about the death of his daughter:

"She meant a whole lot to me"

When asked why he agreed to be interviewed, David said:

"To let everybody know that I'm not a bad person. I did some horrible things in the past
and I will never be able to be forgiven for what I've done"

Admitting to a marijuana and meth problem, David said it had a lot to do with what he did to his children. When asked
about the picture of Jersey he was holding he said:

"She was my first. Yeah, I prayed for four years for her. God finally gave her to me"



David said he did have something he would like to say to Zachary Holly, but the words he would use, could not be aired on television.

UPDATE:

In January of 2014, a judge denied a motion from Zachary's defense to take the death penalty off of the table. Prosecutors said they would continue to seek the death penalty. Zachary had plead not guilty and in August of 2013 was found fit to stand trial after undergoing a mental evaluation.


UPDATE: May 20, 2016 - Thank you Rita for this update.

In May of 2105, Zachary Holly was sentenced to death for what he did to Jersey. Zachary had been found guilty of capital murder, rape, kidnapping and residential burglary on May 20th and was sentenced on May 27th. DesaRae Crouch and her family members cried and hugged each other after the sentence was read:

"It has been pretty much ongoing funeral, we no longer have to remember
a bad day, we get to remember our baby, we get to remember the good
times and no longer have to focus on the nightmare"
DesaRae Crouch


DesaRae said that Jersey could finally be laid to rest and that having to see Zachary in court was sickening to her. Zachary made a statement in court, speaking to the family he said:

"I want to sincerely apologize for the pain I have caused and I hope you find
it in your heart to forgive me"

DresaRae chose not to make a statement to or about Zachary other than to say she was glad he was headed for death row:

"This is my daughter's day, this is not his, he can't take this away from her.
I'm going to keep loving my other ones, I'm going to keep going on as a mom"


Prosecutor Nathan Smith said he was grateful and proud of the jury for all of their hard work:

"When you look at this case and look at the crime that was committed
and what Jersey was deprived of, I do think that it's her day and I do
think it was the verdict for her"

A few hours after the sentence was read, a grave side memorial was held for Jersey. Doves were released as a symbol of that Jersey was finally and truly set free. At the memorial were law enforcement, family and friends:

"I'm really glad that it's finally over, to get it settled for the families
because of what they've been through with it happening years ago,
so it's finally finalized for them and my heart goes out to them"
Trudi Cates

"There will be appeals and repeals and reviews and it will go on for
a number of years, it will be in the case study books and so forth, it'll
be a fairly long, drawn out process"
Dick Anderson

Dick Anderson said he feels badly for the family with so much still having to happen before it's really over. Zachary's execution date was set for November 16, 2015. Nathan Smith said that of course the sentenced would be appealed and that it was typically what happens in any case where someone is sentenced to death and that the appeal would be filed within 30 days.

In June of 2015, that appeal was filed by Zachary's Attorneys. In November of 2015, it was reported that the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that eight executions were under a temporary stay. Zachary Holly was the last person to be added to death row in Arkansas.

In May of 2016, reports were saying that Arkansas was running out of time to execute those eight men who had been given stays in 2015. The state was to hear inmate challenges in a weeks time and even if a the okay was given for quick executions, the supply of the paralytic Vecuronium Bromide, which is one of three drugs needed to proceed with an executions, was going to expire June 30, 2016 and the previous supplier of this drug has said they will no longer sell it to the state.

Arguments were set to be heard on May 19th, that's yesterday as I am typing this, where the inmates are using the constitution to challenge the fact that the state allows the manufacturer and seller of the lethal drugs to remain unknown. If Justices rule quickly enough and in favor of the state, Arkansas would then have five weeks to proceed with the executions due to the expiration date coming up so quickly.

During that time, the Parole Board would have to arrange for the inmates to have clemency hearings though it was reported that policy states that inmates be given 40 days before their execution dates to apply for that hearing, that policy would have to be waived in these cases:

"We generally try to stay within the parameters of the policy as best
as we can. Certainly it would be a situation where would have to do
a lot of coordination. It would be something we have certainly not
done before"
John Felts - Parole Board Chairman

Also taken into consideration would be weather the Department Of Correction would be able to proceed with all eight executions as policy says that two sets of each drug must be available for each execution in case of any kind of error or something going wrong. Arkansas has enough of the drugs for eight executions, though after they were tested for potency and purity, records state that there are only 15 complete doses of two of the drugs. With two sets being prepared for each inmate, if the fist dose works, the second must them be disposed of.

Reports say that the only state to have executed eight inmates in one month, is Texas with eight inmates being executed in the months of May and June of 1997. A nonprofit anti death penalty group which keeps track of executions says that in January of 2001, the state of Oklahoma executed seven inmates:

"Even in the days when you had multiple executions on the same day, I
don't know of anyone who was faced with having to sign the many
execution warrants potentially in such a short window of time"
Matt DeCample - Spokesman for former Governor Mike Beebe's

The Governors office was not giving any information on if execution dates were going to be set or not:

"We're following the action by the court and we will address those questions
once a decision is made by the court"
Governor Spokeman - J.R. Davis

This is all I am able to find at this time.

UPDATE:
December 5, 2018

It is now December of 2018 and after a long time of not being able to do much, a little over two years, I am checking the e-mails in my files to start updating, adding children and making myself available through e-mail again. The first e-mail I checked was from a woman named Ami. Ami told me about an update for the court date on this case. I had already made that update, however, in checking the page and doing a search to find out what has happened in this case since then, I found another update.

In June of 2018, Zachary Holly, who was 32 years old at the time, was in court arguing his case and trying to get his conviction over turned. Zachary argued that a charge of burglary should be dismissed, his confession should never have been admitted into evidence and jurors should have been made aware that he had offered to plead guilty to capital murder before he went to trial.

During his appeal Zachary said that he had access to the home he entered and was not there to burglarize the home. When Zachary got to the home, the door was unlocked so he didn't have to use his key to get in. Zachary claimed that the night he entered the home, he was looking for medicine to soothe an upset stomach and was not there to commit a felony so that charge should have been dropped.

Judge Josephine Hart did not buy this story and said that Zachary's argument was not credible. The Judge said that since Zachary had never brought this up in the original trial, it would not be taken into consideration in the appeal. In court it was stated that Jersey's mother said that she had given Zachary's wife permission to enter her home, but that invitation was never extended to him. Zachary also tried to say that it was the urging of the Police, his wife Amanda had coerced him into talking to them. Zachary stated that this meant the Police had used his wife in an improper way to get him to confess even though he had already asked for an attorney. It was determined by the Supreme Court that Amanda Holly had urged Zachary to speak to the Police and to take a polygraph test, however, it was denied that she did it for any reason other than her belief that he was innocent and she wanted him to clear his name.

Zachary also said in court that during the penalty phase of his trial, that  had jurors known about his offer of a plea deal, that would have shown them that he was accepting responsibility for what he had done and they might have considered that when debating the penalty for his conviction. The Supreme Court did not agree, stating:

"Proof that Holly offered to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sanction is not
evidence that Holly was taking responsibility for his crime"
Judge Josephine Hart

I'm not sure I agree with this. No one can be 100% sure of what his motive was for offering to plead this way. The Supreme Court has no way to read his mind and had no business second guessing what he said. It might not legally be evidence, but I believe the jury had that right to know every aspect of the crime, all of the evidence, include this offer should have been given to the jurors. JUST MY OPINION.

The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Zachary Holly.

Justice Rhonda Wood agreed with the decision to uphold Zachary's conviction, however, she had concerns about the fact that Zachary, who it was said read at only a third grade level, had been through two medical evaluations and the second one was never entered into the record. According to the Justice Rhonda Wood, the only mention of the second evaluation was the fact that  Zachary's attorney had stated he was fit to proceed in the trial. Justice Rhonda Wood stated that she hopes the issue of whether Zachary had adequate counsel during his trial would be fully resolved during future proceedings.

I want to thank Ami for asking me to update this story. I never would have found THIS update had she not sent me an e-mail.

Death Occurred in the state of Arkansas

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