Free Jerry Hobbs?

Should Jerry Hobbs go free? His attorney says yes, as do many other people in the legal community. But who is Jerry Hobbs, and why has he been held without bail since he was charged in 2005?

Jerry Hobbs is a man with a long rap sheet. Some of his crimes include assault, possession of marijuana, and resisting arrest. But Jerry Hobbs is not in jail for those crimes.

Jerry Hobbs is in prison for the alleged murder of two little girls in Zion, Illinois, one his daughter and the other her friend. As the story goes, Mr. Hobbs was angry because his daughter did not come home when she was supposed to, and he killed both of the children. He then dragged them to the woods and laid them side-by-side. During the search the next day, he “found” the girls. He was arrested and charged with two counts of murder in the first degree, according to the original report from CBS News. He even admitted to the crime during a videotaped confession.

There is only one problem: the DNA at the scene does not belong to Hobbs. Moreover, his attorneys insist that the confession was forced out of him during a 20-hour interrogation, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

The lack of physical evidence linking Hobbs to the scene of the crime is not a new problem; in fact, it has been known since the beginning of proceedings that the DNA at the scene does not match. Nevertheless, Hobbs remained in prison for a crime he may have committed.

However, the Washington Post reports that on June 25, an individual was taken into custody in Arlington County, Virginia for a number of felony charges. Virginia is one of eighteen states to participate in “arrest sampling.” As soon as an individual is arrested, a DNA sample is taken from him, rather than waiting until after his conviction. In this case, the DNA of Jorge “George” Torrez matched the semen found at the scene of the crime in Zion, Illinois. Torrez lived in Zion until his graduation from high school in 2006, placing him neatly in the vicinity of the crime. Investigators from Lake County, Illinois, have already traveled to Arlington in order to take more DNA samples to verify the match.

Hobbs’ defense attorneys think that the DNA evidence should cast enough shadow on the prosecutor’s case that it will not meet the standard of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The Chicago Tribune reports that Circuit Court judge Fred Foreman has set a July 21 hearing date for arguments on the evidentiary matter, but prosecutors insist they need more time to investigate. Hobbs will still not be released on bail, however, according to Chicago Breaking News. The judge feels that there should be no premature speculation in this case.

So the question remains: Will Jerry Hobbs be freed? Or will he be convicted of a crime he may not have committed?

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