Alleged Killer Dad Denied Bond

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Funerals are being planned this week for the two little girls in Zion, Illinois, who were stabbed to death in a park.

Visitation will be held tomorrow night for nine-year old Krystal Tobias with a funeral on Saturday.

Sunday will be the funeral for eight-year-old Laura Hobbs, whose father is charged with both murders.

Laura was supposed to be grounded for stealing about $40 from her mom's purse but, authorities said, her mom gave in and let her go out to play.

That decision upset Laura's dad, released from prison just last month, who went looking to bring his 8-year-old daughter home, prosecutors said.

On Wednesday, a judge denied bail for Jerry Hobbs, 34, after prosecutors said he admitted in videotaped and written statements to beating and stabbing Laura and her best friend, 9-year-old Krystal Tobias.

The girls were found dead Monday in a park in Zion. They had more than 30 stab wounds between them, and Laura was stabbed in each eye, prosecutors said.

"You can see through the injuries to these two individuals the rage that was exhibited," prosecutor Jeff Pavletic said. "This was a slaughter of two little girls."

When Hobbs found the girls, Laura refused to go home, and he beat and stabbed the girls with a small kitchen knife, prosecutors said. Hobbs then allegedly dragged them into the woods and left them side-by-side.

Hobbs told investigators that Krystal pulled the knife to defend her friend, and he wrested it away. But prosecutors said they doubt the little girl was carrying a blade.

Hobbs stared at the courtroom floor as Pavletic described the case against him. Public Defender David Brodsky said he had not seen details of the case and could not comment yet, but would assign two capital defenders to represent Hobbs.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 9, but Brodsky said he expects Hobbs will be indicted by a grand jury before then. He also said his office would investigate whether Hobbs' statements should be admissible in court.

Hobbs has a criminal history dating to 1990 in Texas, including arrests for assault and resisting arrest.

Just last month, he was released from a Texas prison after serving time for an assault in 2001. He had argued with Laura's mother, Sheila Hollabaugh, then grabbed a chain saw and chased neighbors until someone hit him in the back with a shovel, according to prosecutor Rick Mahler in Texas. No one was injured.

Hobbs was sentenced to 10 years' probation but failed to appear for required meetings and was thrown in prison in 2003.

He and Hollabaugh, who never married, had three children together. They were reunited after his release and were living with Hollabaugh's parents in Zion, a town of about 22,000 along Lake Michigan north of Chicago.

Outside the home where Hobbs and Hollabaugh had lived with their children, a man who identified himself as a family spokesman Wednesday read a brief statement and said they would have no other comment.

"The entire family wants to express their deepest sympathy for the Tobias family," Jeremy Harter said. "They wanted to thank the Zion community for all their support throughout this trying time."

Down the street, outside Krystal Tobias' home, there were makeshift memorials of flowers and teddy bears on a path leading up to the house.
  • Joel Roberts

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