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LAURA HOBBS - KRYSTAL TOBIAS - JERRY HOBBS FREED - DNA LINKS JORGE "GEORGE" TORREZ TO MURDERS OF LAURA & KRYSTAL

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Aug 24 10 9:30 AM

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                                     FREEDOM
 
Lake County prosecutors were seeking the death penalty against Jerry Hobbs -
All charges dropped.

 
2010 - August 4 - Jerry Hobbs (39), father of Laura Hobbs, is freed from prison.

                          Hobbs has been in jail awaiting trial on capital murder charges
                          for the past five years. He was charged with the 2005 murders
                          of his daughter Laura (8), and Krystal Tobias (9) in a Zion, Illinois
                          park.
 
                                    LAURA & KRYSTAL

 
   2005 - April - Jorge "George" Torrez is discharged from the Marines.


   2005 - May 9 - Mother's Day - Jerry Hobbs discovers Laura and Krystal, beaten and
                         murdered at a nearby local park. Police question Jerry Hobbs close
                         to 20 hours the next day. After extensive interrogation Jerry Hobbs
                         confesses to the murders. Hobbs later said his confession was
                         coerced.

                        Detectives told Hobbs they were positive he had murdered his
                        daughter Laura, 8, and her friend Krystal Tobias, 9. He had denied
                        being responsible for the last 20 hours.
 
                        A police officer testified that when Hobbs was told he could soothe
                        the grieving families' anguish if he explained why he killed the girls,
                        Hobbs stated "I did it. Just write it down. Start this thing and send
                        me to the judge."


                                    FALSE CONFESSION

                       Center on Wrongful Convictions, innocentproject.org
                       Rob Warden, executive director for the Center of Wrongful
                       Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law's Bluhm
                       Legal Clinic.

                      "Since 1985, 20 people have made false confessions in Illinois.
                       In about 25 percent of DNA exoneration cases, innocent
                       defendants made incriminating statements, delivered outright
                       confessions or pleaded guilty. In more than 25 percent of 
                       cases in a National Institute of Justice study, suspects were
                       excluded once DNA testing was conducted during the criminal
                       investigation.
                                        .

                       
                        We think in the Hobbs case he was psychology coerced. It's
                        counter-intuitive that anybody would confess to a crime he or
                        she didn't commit,He's obviously in a precarious emotional

                        state -- his daughter was just murdered and he found the body,
                        Of course, he's cooperating with police, and as a matter of
                        course they ask him to sign away his Miranda rights.
                        Hours later, police started accusing him of committing the 
                        crime. After extensive interrogation, people will say almost 
                        anything just to stop the grilling,

 
                        Police typically are "very accusatory" during interrogations.
                        There is no law against police lying to elicit information and

                        confessions. This means police can tell a person they have
                        evidence against those being interviewed when they may not,  
                        This can lead to people making fear-based confessions under 
                        pressure.

 
                        Many false confessions are factually inaccurate to the facts
                        of the crime. Once DNA evidence points to another perpetrator,

                        the false confessor should be released. Hobbs remained in
                        custody two years after his DNA did not match what was
                        found on his daughter."
 
                                    DNA DOESN'T MATCH HOBBS

  2008 - DNA recovered does not match Jerry Hobbs.
           The state does not drop charges.

Michael Waller (State's Attorney) "Just because DNA evidence is present doesn't
                          automatically dismiss the case. The case has to be weighed against '
                          all other evidence. The identity of the DNA match was not made 
                          until June 25 this year (2010).  Once authorities had this new

                          information they worked nonstop to determine if the case against
                          Hobbs should be dismissed.

                          The discovery at the crime scene of DNA that did not match Hobbs's 
                          was "a red flag" but did not immediately exonerate Hobbs. Authorities

                          reopened the investigation after the link to Torrez came to light. 
                          Obviously it was a red flag... That's why we put it in the database.                           It wasn't necessarily linked to the crime. The girls were fully clothed,

                          there was no evidence that they had been sexually assaulted at the 
                          time."

 


Keith Grant (Assistant Public Defender) "Jerry Hobbs has never been anything other
                  than a grieving father."

                                   DNA MATCHES JORGE "GEORGE" TORREZ

Former Marine Jorge "George" Torrez lived a few blocks from Laura Hobbs
and Krystal Tobias.
 
Sara Torrez (Sister of Jorge) "Jorge joined the Marine Corps at 18, immediately
                    after graduating from high school in Zion. He served in Okinawa, Japan,
                    for two years before moving to Northern Virginia last year. My brother
                    worked at the Pentagon at the time of his arrest."
 
                    The family's home in Zion had been searched by Lake County police,
                    who said they were investigating the deaths of two children.
 
                    My brother was friends with Krystal Tobias's older brother."
 


2010 - February - Arlington, Virgina - Police arrest Torrez, an ex-Marine who had been
                           stationed at Fort Myer. Afterward, a sample of his DNA was entered
                           in the databank.
 
Theo Stamos (Arlington Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney)
"Torrez is scheduled to go to trial in October on felony charges in connection
with two February attacks. Feb. 10, Torrez tried to force a woman into a car at
gunpoint on North Quincy Street in Arlington, but the woman was able to escape.

 
Later that month, police said, Torrez approached two young women who were
arriving at their North Wakefield Street home after a late-night meal in Ballston

and ordered them inside at gunpoint. When he noticed that one woman had
dialed 911 on her cellphone, he grabbed her and forced her into a car. Four
hours later, the woman, who had been beaten and sexually assaulted in a

wooded area, was found struggling to reach the road in Prince William County."


The DNA test recovered from the Hobbs & Tobias murders matched with that
sample entered in the national DNA databank.

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Aug 25 10 11:57 AM

                                 WHY POLICE ZEROED IN ON HIM
 
Jerry Hobbs had recently been released from a Texas prison shortly before his daughter
Laura and her friend Krystal Tobias were murdered. Hobbs served time for a parole
violation after a drunken rampage thru a trailer park with a chain saw. He willingly
volunteered this information to police investigating the two girl's murders. According
to testimony, "this provoked detective's suspicions."

Jerry Hobbs "I had a real bad drinking problem back then. I had stopped drinking
                    alcohol before I was jailed in Illinois.
 
A detective testified "Officers suspected "he was the killer because of the speed with
which he found the bodies, his criminal history and the way he called the victims "them
girls" instead of using their names."

                                 LAURA & KRYSTAL'S MURDER - HIS CONFESSION

Jerry Hobbs "I signed the confession placed in front of me by detectives, but not because
                   I believed for a moment that I was guilty of killing my 8-year-old daughter 
                   and her young friend.
 
                   The only thing they had gotten out of me was what they got out of a broken
                   father. She was my baby girl. She was my joy and my pride, and to find her
                   the way I did, it would knock anybody to their knees."
 
                   I spent a lot of time in isolation, but I didn't mind that in the weeks after 
                   Laura's murder and my arrest. It took me about six months to collect
                   myself.
 
                   I was able to wait patiently in jail  because I knew I was innocent. I read the
                   Bible many times while locked up.  I don't ride on luck. I ride on faith.
 
                   I don't want to be viewed as a victim - the only victims are the two dead children,
                   I call "angels."

                   It's not about me. It's about my kid. It's about my baby, Laura." 


                                         THE DNA EVIDENCE "DISCOVERED" IN 2008
 
 Jerry Hobbs "It was over in 2008. That's why it took five years. They knew they had
                      no case."

                                    FUTURE PLANS

Jerry Hobbs is staying with his mother in Texas. 

Jerry Hobbs "I want to spend time with my two boys.
                     I have no special plans for my future other than seeing
                     my boys. I want to use my new freedom to be myself.
                     I'm just Jerry."
 

Hobbs' sons, Jeremy, 9, and Jerry Hobbs IV, 15. live with their half-sister and
mother, (Hobbs' ex-girlfriend)  Sheila Hollabaugh, Laura's mother, in Pennsylvania.

Sheila Hollabaugh "The boys want to see their father. Jeremy is too young to
                                understand the situation, but his older brother has taken
                                his father's ordeal personally. He "absolutely despises"
                                police because he thinks they pin crimes on innocent
                                people. He's been really angry. You know, he's always
                                known that his dad didn't do this.

                                I never believed Jerry killed the girls. I'm happy for him.
                                I remain furious at Lake County prosecutors and police."

Sheila Hollabaugh continues to receive therapy for issues related to Laura's death.

                                   WERE JERRY HOBBS' RIGHTS VIOLATED?
 
Locke Bowman (Attorney for Hobbs) of Northwestern Law School's MacArthur
Justice Center) 
"I am looking into whether my client's Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights - his
rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and to due process - might
have been violated."

"I see two questions: Why did Hobbs confess to crimes he didn't commit?
                              Why did it take so long for the charges to be dropped?"

Prosecutors knew (publicly) since 2008 that semen found in Laura Hobbs' body
did not match Jerry Hobbs' DNA but prosecutors said "That didn't clear him
because any sex crime committed might have been unrelated to the killings."

        PROSECUTORS RELEASE - BUT DO NOT CLEAR JERRY HOBBS

2010 - June - Prosecutors learned that DNA was matched to Jorge "George" Torrez,
                    who is under investigation.

The charges against Jerry Hobbs were dropped, but prosecutors stopped short of
clearing Hobbs but say, "He will not be investigated further."

Waller denies Jerry Hobbs' rights were violated.


 

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