WAUKEGAN (CBS) — A man who spent five long years in jail for murders he didn’t commit is finally going after the investigators who put him there.
But the investigators aren’t saying anything, CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports.
Wrongly jailed murder defendant Jerry Hobbs filed suit Thursday, saying authorities coerced him to confess to the 2005 murders of his young daughter Laura and her friend Krystal Tobias.
“They were just looking for somebody, they didn’t care who they had, and they had me at the time,” Hobbs said during a news conference to announce the filing.
Hartman tried to speak with people connected to the case. One of the interrogating officers wouldn’t talk, and Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller has not returned phone calls.
Hobbs discovered the girls’ dead bodies of his daughter and in his darkest hour became the prime suspect.
“The folks we have sued extracted a confession from Jerry Hobbs and turned him into a heinous villain,” Hobbs attorney Locke Bowman said.
The lawsuit says for 20 hours “Hobbs had been beaten and threatened with further violence,” even after he asked for a lawyer.
“I was a broke man,” he said. “I just gave them what they wanted.”
That confession landed him in jail. And lawyers say he was still there years after DNA evidence from Laura’s body cleared him and implicated someone else.
According to the suit, the DNA match is Jorge Torrez, who is serving time for recent sex crimes.
“This shows the evil that comes from this kind of botched investigation,” another attorney, John Stainthorp, said.
The long list of defendants includes Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, who was not sheriff at the time of Hobbs’ arrest. He is being sued in his official capacity.
Curran stressed to Hartman that his department did not conduct the investigation. It was the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, which is its own entity.
Waller, the prosecutor, is not named in the lawsuit.