Video: Dad charged

By Host, "The Abrams Report"
updated 5/11/2005 1:50:02 PM ET 2005-05-11T17:50:02

Best friends 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias were found stabbed to death side by side Monday morning in a park in Zion, Illinois. And as horrible as that is, the identity of the alleged killer may make it worse.

According to the authorities, the suspect is the man who helped find the bodies: Jerry Hobbs, the father of little Laura. Hobbs also has a record of criminal convictions including aggravated assault in 1990; assault and causing bodily harm in '97; and aggravated assault again in 2001. 

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller spoke about the charges in a press conference Tuesday, and said that it is the most horrific crime he’s ever seen in his over 30 years of experience. Waller also joined “The Abrams Report” to talk about the case. Below is a transcript:

DAN ABRAMS, HOST, “THE ABRAMS REPORT”:  So you charged Hobbs him with first-degree murder and that's got to mean that there was some level of premeditation I assume.  You said in the press conference that he had actually gone to the park to find his daughter, is that right? 

LAKE COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY MICHAEL WALLER:  Yes.  That is what the evidence shows, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Can you say whether it was to go kill his daughter or was it to find them? 

WALLER:  Well, we are not really saying at this point.  He was going to encounter her, and he had a disagreement with her over a relatively minor matter I would describe it as.

ABRAMS:  A disagreement with the daughter or disagreement with the mother? 

WALLER:  Disagreement with the daughter.  You have to remember, we are dealing with an 8-year-old child here, and you know, generally when you have disagreements with 8-year-olds, you talk about it in your house and you try to resolve it that way.  Obviously, this defendant doesn't know how to resolve disputes.

ABRAMS:  Well that's why I was so stunned when you said disagreement with the daughter.  I was thinking maybe it happened with the mother.  Was it something, what, over a curfew, her returning home, something like that? 

WALLER:  Well it was a relatively minor matter, Dan.  It was about over money that—and actually the mother had resolved the issue with his daughter. As I said at the news conference, what happened just defies all reasonable explanations for trying to figure out why anybody would ever do anything like this and certainly there could never be any sort of reasonable reason. 

ABRAMS:  I apologize for restating this question, but over money with an 8 -- year old? 

WALLER:  It was money—with the mother and money, yes.  And what I said at the news conference, and I think that will come out more in the bond hearing tomorrow, there will be some evidence and we'll be able to update—it'll better able to answer questions them.  Under Illinois law  there is really limited on what I can talk about as far as evidence until some evidence is presented in court.

ABRAMS:  Understood.  You had said at the press conference that he has been somewhat cooperative is the term that you used.  That he has actually gone back to the scene with the authorities, correct? 

WALLER:  Correct. 

ABRAMS:  And what has he done there?  Has he showed them where things happened, et cetera?

WALLER:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  So, it sounds like is he not disputing that he did this. 

WALLER:  Well again, I think we will have—better be able to answer that question tomorrow, but I certainly wouldn't disagree with your characterization.

ABRAMS:  Wow!  Was this...

WALLER:  I think  that's the reaction that people have had around here.  People have just been horrified.  Like I said, I've been in this business for over 30 years and I didn't run into a person yesterday or today that just wasn't horrified by what had happened.  And I'm, you know, I'm sure that's the same reaction all over the country. 

ABRAMS:  You said that he hadn't spent Mother's Day the way that others had spent Mother's Day.  What did you mean by that? 

WALLER:  Well, I suppose you know look at what he did in the early evening hours of Mother's Day.  They didn't have the typical type of Mother's Day.  And again I think that will come out more as we are able to talk more about the evidence after the bond hearing. 

ABRAMS:  He had been recently released after having a dispute with his wife where he kind of went after her with some sort of chain saw, et cetera.  Was there  another fight between them that precipitated any of this? 

WALLER:  Not that we are aware of.  He has only been in Lake County, in Zion for a brief period of time and we are not aware of any strife that he's had with his wife since he has been here. 

ABRAMS:  You said that the questioning began yesterday.  How long after he was questioned did the authorities start to say “Well, wait a second, we are not ready to let this guy go after questioning him”?

WALLER:  Well he was actually free to go for all of yesterday.  They asked him to stay and he agreed to stay.  He actually would sleep  in between interviews in the police department.  But he was not restricted in leaving until today when he was charged. 

ABRAMS:  Was it a case where he eventually kind of cracked and came forward with information or was it a situation where over time he's providing more and more information? 

WALLER:  You know, Dan, that's—again, that is something I can't really get into.  Maybe tomorrow I can answer that question, but I can't answer it right now. 

ABRAMS:  The speed, very quick. Today you're filing charges.  Is that faster than usual in a murder case?

WALLER:  It's—yes, it's unusual to wrap up a case this quickly.  We have an excellent organization, a major crimes task force, which is a countywide agency and they worked in conjunction with the Zion Police Department.  You know, actually the first person that we talked to turned out to be the offender, so we were fortunate, but it was also good police work. 

ABRAMS:  And if I can just ask one more question about this issue of money.  Again, I know you can't get into the details about exactly what the dispute was over, but it sounds based on what you said in the press conference and you are saying here that he literally went to the park to find his daughter because he was angry at her over money.

WALLER:  Well he was unhappy with her and he wanted her to come home and this issue with the money played a role in it I think might be a better way to characterize it. 

ABRAMS:  So, he may not have been going to the park to kill her? 

WALLER:  He may not have been. 

ABRAMS:  Right. 

WALLER:  You know, we'll never know what was in his mind as he was heading over there.

ABRAMS:  How is the rest of the family holding up as far as you know? 

WALLER:  Well I haven't had contact with them.  From what I understand they are obviously just devastated.  And they are even further devastated today.  They lost their daughter on Mother's Day, and now, you know, her father is charged with murder.  I mean they are devastated. 

ABRAMS:  Why did you describe this as the most horrific case that you have ever seen?  Is it because they are just little girls? 

WALLER:  As I said, I have been in this business for over 30 years, but if you look at the pictures of these two little girls in this meadow, you know I have never seen anything like it. 

ABRAMS:  He has a history of drug use as well.  Any sense that drugs might have been involved? 

WALLER:  No, we don't have any information to that effect. 

ABRAMS:  Michael Waller, it's not a time for anyone to be congratulating anyone, but this was some very quick police work and it sounds like the charges came very quickly. 

WALLER:  There are no winners in this, but what is important we see to it that this guy gets his justice. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Michael Waller, thank you very much for taking the time.  We appreciate it. 

WALLER:  OK.  You're welcome Dan.

'The Abrams Report' airs weeknights, 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.


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