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Holly Bobo’s Parents Reveal Why They Agreed to Let Her Rapist and Murderer Avoid the Death Penalty

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Holly Bobo’s parents say in a new interview that they agreed with prosecutors to let her convicted killer be spared a possible death sentence so that they could “hopefully” begin to recover from her murder more than six years ago.

Dana and Karen Bobo discussed the decision in a sit-down with ABC News’ 20/20, airing on Friday night and exclusively previewed above.

Asked why they chose to spare 33-year-old Zach Adams the possibility of an execution, Karen says it was about their own peace: “So that we can hopefully start doing a little bit of healing.”

Adams was convicted on Sept. 22 of kidnapping, rape and first-degree murder in connection with Holly’s slaying. He was sentenced the next day to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 50 years.

Holly, a 20-year-old nursing student, vanished from her home in Decatur County, Tennessee, on April 13, 2011. Her remains were found three years later, in the woods not far away.

Adams was the first of three suspects to go on trial in Holly’s death. Jason Autry and John Dylan Adams, Zach’s brother, are also charged.

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From left: Zach Adams and Holly Bobo
Kenneth Cummings/The Jackson Sun/AP; Facebook

Autry was reportedly offered immunity in exchange for key testimony against Zach at this trial; a trial date has not been set for John.

All three men originally pleaded not guilty.

At Zach’s trial, Autry testified that he had acted as a lookout when Zach fatally shot Holly in the head not long after she was abducted. According to Autry’s testimony, she was drugged and raped before being murdered.

In their 20/20 interview, Holly’s parents are asked if they believe Zach’s life sentence behind bars is enough punishment.

“There’ll never be enough punishment for him,” Karen says.

Her husband adds, “He don’t deserve to be breathing the air that he’s breathing today.”

20/20 airs Friday (10 p.m. ET) on ABC.