Judge to allow evidence of past threats and fights in cold case murder trial
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
The man at the center of a 16-year-old cold case was back in court Monday. Adolphus Hollingsworth, 44, is charged with first degree murder.
Prosecutors say he's responsible for the death of his wife, Vicky Carr Hollingsworth in 1997. She was found nearly two years later, stabbed to death in the woods on Billy Goat Hill in E. Chattanooga.
The case has received plenty of local and even national attention after Chattanooga Police re-opened the cold case murder with the help of the TNT television series "Cold Justice."
On Monday Judge Rebecca Stern ruled to allow a jury to hear a couple of the ways Hollingsworth was aggressive and violent towards his ex-wife -- especially in the days and weeks leading up to her murder and disappearance.
Some of Vicky Carr's old friends will be able to testify about the couple's fights that occurred in public and Hollingsworth's threats to kill her.
"I didn't know a whole lot about him. I didn't see much of him," said Benjamin Witherspoon, who didn't recall much about his daughter's accused killer. "He was one of those fellas that did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it."
Although police questioned Hollingsworth and searched his home soon after Vicky's disappearance, it was a cold case for 16 years.
"I didn't appreciate that because I think they (police) should've held him," said Witherspoon.
"From what I gathered from her, there was a lot of violence there," said family friend Orville Hughes, who remembers a time hollingsworth threatened Vicky while sitting with her family on their front porch.
"He was hollerin' out he was gonna hurt her, he was gonna kill her," Hughes testified. "and I'm looking at him like, this guy's crazy."
Hughes recalls Hollingsworth driving up and down the street, doing multiple u-turns and screaming at Vicky from behind the wheel.
"I was looking at him like I'm looking at him now," Hughes said. "He was just ignorant. That's just ignorant to me."
"He was grabbing on her and he was cussing her," remembered Adolphus Mitchell, who saw the couple at a flea market in East Ridge just one week before Vicky's disappearance.
He said Hollingsworth was aggressively yelling about her new tattoo.
"It was senseless to me because it was just a tattoo," Mitchell said, "but he was mad about it."
He said Hollingsworth told her, "If I can't have you, then no one will."
"She said she wanted to leave him, but she was scared of him," Mitchell said.
Hollingsworth is set to go to trial in five weeks. Witherspoon hopes justice for his daughter is the next step.
"That brought it back to light...and things are moving in the right direction," he said.
Vicky's murder was solved in January, but there are still 120 unsolved homicides in Hamilton County. District Attorney General Neal Pinkston will discuss a major announcement regarding cold cases in the county on Tuesday morning.