Lake County prosecutors dropped all the charges against Jerry Hobbs III, who has been in custody for the murder of his daughter and her friend since Mother's Day 2005.
A Zion father who has spent the last five years in jail for allegedly killing his 8-year-old daughter and her friend is a free man Wednesday thanks to recently discovered DNA evidence.
The announcement came after a brief court proceeding Wednesday morning. Hobbs was immediately released and promptly left the state, heading for Texas where his mother lives.
Hobbs was charged with the deaths of his 8-year-old daughter, Laura, and her 9-year old friend, Krystal Tobias, on Mother's Day 2005. Their bodies were found beaten and stabbed in a Zion, Ill., park. He was considered the main suspect until DNA evidence emerged this June linking another man, Jorge "George" Torrez, to the crime.
Torrez, an active duty Marine, is currently in custody in Virginia on another charge. The Torrez family lives a block away from the victims' houses.
Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller defended the handling of the case. He said there was good reason to charge Hobbs in 2005 because he confessed to the crimes in written and video taped statements.
He said he will not offer an apology to Hobbs.
"I don't believe law enforcement did anything wrong in this case," Waller said at a press conference.
Keith Grant, Hobbs' public defender, said the confession was false.
"I don't know why the DNA in and on Laura Hobbs was missed," he said.