Suspect, key witness in Holly Bobo case found dead
(WSMV.COM) NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A man allegedly tied to the kidnapping and murder of Holly Bobo has been found dead.
Shayne Austin, who has not been indicted and was originally offered immunity for his testimony in the case, apparently committed suicide out-of-state, according Luke Evans, Austin’s attorney.
“Obviously a tragic loss for the Austin family and they are besides themselves with grief,” said Evans.
“It’s unfortunate the government came in and made allegations without basis. People had to live with those allegations … under the cloud of those allegations,” Evans added.
Former District Attorney Hansel McCadams allegedly pulled the offer of immunity from Austin that had been offered in March 2014.
Evans said Austin, 30, signed the immunity agreement on March 6, one week after the TBI announced the indictments against Zach Adams, the first man arrested in the case on the murder and kidnapping of Bobo.
Jason Autry was later indicted on the same charges.
Austin had never been charged in the Bobo case because of an immunity deal in exchange for his cooperation and assistance.
“Shortly after that, Mr. Austin was informed by an assistant district attorney via email that they intended to revoke his immunity agreement and consider it null and void,” Evans told Channel 4 News in November.
The state said they revoked the immunity agreement because Austin was not being truthful and was not fully cooperating. That prompted Austin to take civil action against the state.
“Mr. Austin’s position was that he was immune not just from being convicted of a crime, but charged with a crime,” Evans said.
Austin remained a person of interest.
“He’s maintained this from the beginning, that he had nothing to do with the tragic circumstances that befell Ms. Bobo,” Evans said.
In May, a chancery court judge ruled she did not have jurisdiction over the case and referred it to circuit court. That lawsuit has been sitting in the files, until now.
Evans has re-initiated that his motion for the immunity agreement be heard. He also filed a motion to compel the deposition testimony of two TBI agents linked to the Bobo investigation.
“They have yet to produce any specific incident to support their allegation to prove that he has been untruthful,” Evans said.
The immunity hearing was originally scheduled to be heard in December, but it was canceled and rescheduled for a later date.
It is unknown what Austin told detectives before his death.
Channel 4 legal analyst Jim Todd said depending on the circumstances, Austin’s testimony could still be used in court.
“Any sort of under oath testimony where he’s cross-examined by an adverse party, that locks his testimony in,” Todd said. “But again, if he’s only given a statement to a detective or only to a grand jury, those statements will not be admissible at trial.”