Coerced Confession, Miracle Exoneration: The Case of Ex-Monster Jerry Hobbs

Stephen T. Asma in TruthOut:

013011asma"How will you make sure the dirt stays inside the sandwich?" I asked my brother Dave. He was trying to figure out how to send a dirt sandwich to Nancy Grace, the shrieking CNN legal analyst and gossip show host. In 2005, Grace told viewers she was so convinced Jerry Hobbs killed his daughter that she would gladly eat a dirt sandwich if police failed to turn up the physical evidence. My brother Dave and a handful of public defenders finally proved that Jerry was innocent and paved the way for his release in August 2010.

On Mother's Day, May 2005, as the sun began to set in a rural part of Zion, Illinois, Jerry Hobbs grew anxious that his eight-year-old daughter Laura was not back home yet. Laura and her friend, nine-year-old Krystal Tobias, were last seen sharing a single bike around the wooded suburban community north of Chicago. But by nightfall, it became clear that both girls were missing. A frantic search ensued. Jerry and others searched throughout the night and, at daybreak, it was Jerry himself who found his daughter and her friend stabbed to death in the nearby woods of Beulah Park. Several hours later, the distraught father found himself sequestered in a legal "blacksite" – unlocatable to family, friends and legal representation – and under intense interrogation by police.

Within forty-eight hours, Jerry Hobbs, now "Monster Hobbs," was arrested for the murder of Laura and Krystal. This is the inside story of Hobbs' exoneration five years later and his drive back to Texas with my brother Dave.

More here.