Testimony provided by retired UTC biology professor Dr. Gene Van Horn assisted in the murder conviction of Adolphus Hollingsworth for the death of his wife, Victoria, in 1997. The case was tried before Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern.
The unsolved murder case of Victoria Hollingsworth was explored by the television program “Cold Justice” on TNT. The show paid to have a piece of evidence, a carpet sample with blood on it, sent to a private laboratory. Hollingsworth’s daughter’s DNA matched the sample taken from the carpet, according to Sorenson Forensics.
Before Van Horn took the stand, he met with both the District Attorney Pinkston and the Public Defender, Stephen Brown. Both wanted to learn more about Van Horn and the information he had about another piece of evidence before the trial began.
“I live north of Spring City, about 90 minutes from downtown Chattanooga. I met the D.A. and two other people at the library in Dayton and I met the Public Defender at the library in Spring City,” Van Horn explained.
Van Horn was brought in to discuss a piece of brush found on the bumper of Adolphus Hollingsworth’s car. It was identified by Van Horn as being from the same species as a bush investigators found in Hollingsworth’s yard.
It was the first time Van Horn had been asked to provide testimony in court case. He took the task seriously and prepared by reading about Viburnum in several books. He prepared for difficult questions from the public defender, but he was only asked a few simple questions during his fifteen minutes on the stand.
“I enjoyed getting ready for the trial, as I like to read in my field. I could have spoken about Viburnum in Tennessee, the United States, and at the world levels,” Van Horn said.