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Krystal Tobias (9) and her friend Laura Hobbs (8) went to play at the park on
Mother's Day, May 9, 2009. It was the last time their families would see them
alive. Their beaten and murdered bodies were found by Laura's father, Jerry
Hobbs, who was accused by police of having committed their murders.
Hobbs falsely confessed and spent 5 years waiting trial on capital murder
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
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
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."
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. .
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,
Hours later, police started accusing him of committing the
crime. After extensive interrogation, people will say almost
anything just to stop the grilling,
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
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."
ASSAULT, RAPE & BATTERY
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.