Statement Analysis®

Terry Hobbs's Deposition

There are several celebrities who feel the WM3 are innocent. One of them is singer Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks. In 2007, Maines participated in a rally in support of the WM3. At the rally and on the Dixie Chicks' website, Maines stated the new DNA evidence implicated Terry Hobbs the stepfather of Stevie Branch. Hobbs filed a lawsuit claiming loss of income, injury to his reputation and emotional distress. As part of that lawsuit, Hobbs was deposed on July 21, 2009.

There were several attorneys who questioned Hobbs. Therefore, they would sometimes repeat questions that were asked of him earlier in the deposition. I have grouped these questions and answers together to make it easier to compare his answers. I have also listed what page the Q & A can be found on in the deposition.

Because of the length of these questions and answers, I have changed the format to make them easier to read and analyze.

Page 19
Question:  Are you an honest fellow?
Hobbs:     I try my best.   

Page 33
Question:  Do you consider yourself an honest man, Mr. Hobbs?
Hobbs:     I try.    

Page 39
Question:  Okay. Any reason you can't give truthful testimony here today, Mr. Hobbs?
Hobbs:     Well, if I don't remember something, it's -- that happens.
Question:  Well, and if you can't --
Hobbs:     I'm trying my best to be just as honest as I'm sitting here.   

The word "try" means "attempted." Every time someone uses this word it means he made an effort but did not succeed. By using the word "try," Hobbs tells us he is not always honest. In the second question, he was asked if he considers himself to be an honest man. Hobbs did not answer the question with a "Yes" which is what most people would say. Instead he said, "I try."

Pages 40 - 42
Question:  And you haven't done any drugs?
Hobbs:     I don't do drugs.
Question:  You've done drugs in the past, haven't you?
Hobbs:     I don't do drugs.
Question:  That's not my question. You've done drugs in the past, haven't you?
Hobbs:     I'm not a druggy.
Question:  Mr. Hobbs, did you not understand my question?
Hobbs:     I heard your question.
Question:  And my question was very simple. Have you done drugs in the past?
Hobbs:     I tried medications in the past.     
Question:  Medications. What medications?
Hobbs:     Whatever the doctor gives you.
Question:  So the only drugs that you've done in the past are drugs that doctors
           have prescribed; is that your testimony?
Hobbs:     Well, I have smoked a joint.

Question:  Other than -- other than smoking a joint, any other drugs that you have
           used, other than drugs that doctors have prescribed for you?
Hobbs:     I'm not in the business.
Question:  That's not my question. My question -- I'm not asking if you're in the
           business of being a drug dealer. My question is, is other than smoking 
           a joint or two, as you call it, as you said, what other drugs have you done, 
           other than drugs that have been prescribed by physicians?
Hobbs:     Young and dumb, you probably will try anything, and I haven't tried anything,
           but I've never been in the drug world. I'm not on drugs. Never been on drugs.

Question:  So it's your testimony that the only drugs that you have ever done are drugs
           that have been prescribed to you or a joint or two; is that your testimony 
           under oath, Mr. Hobbs?
Hobbs:     Well --
Question:  And remember, you are under oath.
Hobbs:     I know that.
Question:  So my question is, other than drugs that a physician has prescribed --
Hobbs:     I tried cocaine a few times. Big deal.
Question:  Tried cocaine a few times. So we've got some joints, some cocaine. 
           What other drugs?
Hobbs:     None.
Question:  Crystal meth?
Hobbs:     I'm not in it.
Question:  I'm sorry?
Hobbs:     I'm not in the business.
Question:  That's not my question. My question --
Hobbs:     I don't do crystal meth.
Question:  My question, sir, is under oath, can you -- is it your testimony that you 
           have never done crystal meth?
Hobbs:     I tried it with my wife.   

WOW! You don't have to be an expert at analyzing statements to see that Terry Hobbs is doing his best to avoid answering the question. He was asked "And you haven't done any drugs?" The question could be better worded "Have you done any drugs?" The question asked of him accounts for his entire lifetime. It appears Hobbs realized this so he gave an answer that was in the present tense, "I don't do drugs." This is a truthful statement. At the time of the deposition Hobbs probably was not doing drugs. However, he did not answer the specific question.

Hobbs gives the same answer to the second question and this time the attorney realized what Hobbs was doing. This led the attorney to be more specific in his question; "That's not my question. You've done drugs in the past, haven't you?" Hobbs again gives a truthful statement that is in the present tense, "I'm not a druggy" but he does not answer the specific question. The attorney does a good job and asked the question again. Hobbs finally replies, "I tried medications in the past." The attorney most likely was interested in any illegal drug usage but he did not specify that allowing Hobbs to talk about medications. He finally gets Hobbs to admit that he smoked a joint.

When the attorney asked if he has taken any other drugs, Hobbs goes back to not answering the specific question; "I'm not in the business." Hobbs is hoping his answer will satisfy the attorney. The attorney recognized that Hobbs did not answer the question so he asked it again. Once again Hobbs uses present tense language; "I've never been in the drug world. I'm not on drugs. Never been on drugs."

When the attorney reminds Hobbs he is under oath, Hobbs finally admits "I tried cocaine a few times." The attorney then asked him "What other drugs?" to which Hobbs replied "None." When asked about crystal meth, Hobbs continues to not answer the specific question; "I'm not in it." "I'm not in the business." "I don't do crystal meth." When again reminded that he is under oath Hobbs admits "I tried it with my wife."

It is important to note that Hobbs tried to avoid answering most of these questions about his drug usage. However, with the question "What other drugs?" Hobbs lied when he said "None." Now we know for certain he is capable of lying. This goes with his statement that he tries to be honest.

David Jacoby has stated that Terry Hobbs came to his house around 5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. the day the boys disappeared. He has further stated that he and Hobbs played guitars for an hour and then Hobbs left Jacoby's residence by himself between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Jacoby says that Hobbs returned to his residence at 7:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Those who believe Hobbs is guilty say this was his window of opportunity to commit the murders. Hobbs has never admitted that he was playing guitars with Jacoby. He also denies he was ever looking for the boys by himself.

Page 82
Question:  Do you recall playing guitars at his house that night?
Hobbs:     No.
Question:  You don't recall or you didn't?
Hobbs:     I don't recall.  

Page - 413
Question:  Let me -- let me phrase it and you can tell me yes or no. Is it
           possible, that on May 5th of 1993, after dropping Pam off from work, 
           you went to Dave Jacoby's house and played guitar?
Hobbs:     It's possible.
Question:  Is it possible, that on May 5th of 1993, after dropping Pam off at work
           around 5:00 p.m., that you played guitar at David Jacoby's house for up
           to an hour?
Hobbs:     It's possible.
Question:  And, in fact, if David Jacoby testified that you did stop by his house 
           after dropping Pam off at work after 5:00 p.m. on May 5th of 1993 and 
           played guitar for an hour, you would not argue with him, would you?
Hobbs:     No. I don't remember it, but I ain't going to argue with it.  

Hobbs does not deny playing guitars with David Jacoby during the time he believes his stepson was missing. Stevie was supposed to be home at 4:30 p.m. and did not show up. After dropping his wife Pam off at her workplace, it appears that Hobbs and his daughter went to Jacoby's house were he played guitars for an hour.

Page 85
Question:  You weren't mad at him for being late?
Hobbs:     No. No. We didn't act like that.   

Hobbs most likely repeats the word "No" to emphasize he was not mad at Stevie for being late. Most truthful people will not do this. They will answer the question with one "Yes" or "No" because they know it is the truth. Hobbs was asked if he was mad but he answers using the pronoun "we." He did not personalize his answer by saying, "I didn't act like that." Perhaps this is why he had to repeat the word "No."

Page 96
Question:  And between 6 o'clock and, say, 7 o'clock, were you alone at any point and 
           time looking for Stevie?
Hobbs:     Not, not to my knowledge.  
Question:  It was always with Amanda?
Hobbs:     Amanda or David.
Question:  And Mr. Jacoby --
Hobbs:     And there's a time I picked David up.
Question:  All right. And then you were with David from the time that you dropped 
           Amanda off at his house until you went back to his house to pick up Amanda 
           to go get Pam; is that your testimony?
Hobbs:     I was with David and a lot of other people from time to time.   

Hobbs does not say "No, I was not alone." Instead, he states "Not, not to my knowledge." This is not a very strong denial that he was never alone looking for the boys.

In the last question, Hobbs does not answer the specific question of whether or not he was with David Jacoby the entire time until he picked his wife up from work. He states he was with David and others "from time to time" but that does not mean there was not a time he was not with David.

Page 423 
Question:  Were you alone at any time the night of May 5th, 1993 in Robin Hood Hills?
Hobbs:     Not to my knowledge.
Question:  Were you alone at any time the night of May 5th starting from, let's say,
           4:00 p.m. going to 6:00 a.m. on May 6th of 1993?
Hobbs:     Not to my knowledge.
Question:  Were you searching the Robin Hood Hills area with David Jacoby at 6:00 p.m.?
Hobbs:     I can't answer that.    

Again, Hobbs does not adamantly declare he was never alone the night of May 5. He answered the last question with "I can't answer that." Is this because he does not know or is it because he does not want to give an answer? Remember, Jacoby has stated they were playing guitars at 6:00 p.m.

Page 112
Question:  Did you ever tell anybody that you thought it was something that got out
           of hand?
Hobbs:     I don't remember that.
Question:  Do you remember telling anybody that you didn't think people could handle
           the truth of what happened?
Hobbs;     I don't recall that.
Question:  You don't recall that?
Hobbs;     Huh-uh.
Question:  If somebody testified that you said that, would they be lying?
Hobbs:     I'm not sure.   

We can't expect Hobbs to remember everything that has transpired over the years. However, most people would probably remember if they made statements such as these. He does not answer with "No" but states he does not remember or recall. His last answer leaves open the possibility that he did make these comments.

Page 200
Question:  Do you have a temper?
Hobbs:     I try not to have.   

Hobbs does not state that he does not have a temper. He only tries not to have a temper. This means he does have a temper.

Page 353
Question:  Do you -- do you believe that whoever murdered those boys planned to
           murder them or did it just kind of happen?
Hobbs:     I don't know.
Question:  Can you think of any reason why the three little boys would have been
Hobbs:     No.
Question:  Do you think it's possible that somebody just got angry and got out of 
Hobbs:     We don't know.   

Hobbs answered the first two questions like any truthful person may have answered. However, the last question he shifts the responsibility by using the pronoun "we." We cannot believe he does not know since he did not use the pronoun "I." It could be that the answer "I don't know" would be a lie. Since people do not like to lie, especially when under oath, he may have chosen to say "We don't know" which is a truthful statement.

Page 479 - 480
Question:  Is it possible that on the occasions you stated that you met with Ms. Moore and
           Mr. Byers at 6:00 p.m. or 6:30, you were mistaken?
Hobbs:     I'm not sure of the time. I know we had the meeting.
Question:  Is it possible that you were mistaken in past accounts by you of what happened on
           May 5th, 1993 when you say that meeting occurred at 6:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.?
Hobbs:     I'm not sure about the time.

Question:  My specific question is: Is it possible, Mr. Hobbs, in past versions or past accounts
           of those events that you were mistaken when you said you met with Ms. Moore and 
           Mr. Byers at 6:00 p.m. or 6:30 on May 5th of 1993?
Hobbs:     It's possible.
Question:  Is it possible that your meeting with Ms. Moore and Mr. Byers did not occur until
           approximately 8:00 or 8:30 p.m.?
Hobbs:     I guess it's possible.

In previous statements, Hobbs has said that around 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. he met with Dana Moore and Mark Byers. The three of them discussed where the missing boys could be. Dana Moore has stated that at 6:00 p.m. she saw the three boys riding bikes. Mark Byers has stated this meeting between the three parents took place closer to 8:30 p.m. The attorneys know that Hobbs is off on his timeline of what he was doing. They ask him if it is possible that he was mistaken about the time 6:00 - 6:30 time reference. He states, "I'm not sure of the time." When asked if it is possible the meeting occurred around 8:00 - 8:30 he answered, "I guess it's possible."

Page 577 - 578
Question:  Did you leave Amanda at David Jacoby's house to watch -- I mean, for David
           Jacoby to watch Amanda and you leave the house alone?
Hobbs:     No.
Question:  Are you sure about that?
Hobbs:     David was with me.
Question:  My question was: Are you sure about that?
Hobbs:     Yeah, pretty sure.
Question:  Not positive?
Hobbs:     Well, I went to David's house to get him to go help me look. I left my daughter
           there and he went with me. We went looking.
Question:  I want to be clear about what you disagree with in Mr. Jacoby's declaration,
           particularly since he's your alibi witness. You disagree that the boys were 
           there; correct?
Hobbs:     Correct.
Question:  You disagree that you told David that Stevie was riding his bike?
Hobbs:     Correct.
Question:  You disagree that you left David Jacoby's home alone?
Hobbs:     I think David left with me.
Question:  So you disagree with him when he says you left alone?
Hobbs:     Okay. Right.  

When asked if he left Jacoby's house alone, Hobbs gives a definite answer of "No." The problem is he begins to soften his answer of "No." When asked, "Are you sure about that?" he does not answer the specific question. This forces the attorney to ask the question a second time. Instead of saying, "Yes, I am sure of that" Hobbs states he is "pretty sure." This means he has some doubt about his answer. When asked if he disagreed with Jacoby's statement, he is able to twice answer "Correct." However, when asked if he disagreed that he left Jacoby's home alone he waivers on his answer. He uses the word "think" which means he is uncertain. When asked this question a second time, it almost sounds as if he is giving in when he states "Okay. Right." Hobbs clearly has not denied leaving David Jacoby's home by himself.

Page 108
Question:  And there was -- so it's your testimony there was never a point and time 
           when you were alone between 1:00 and 6:00 a.m.; is that your testimony, sir?
Hobbs:     I believe that's correct.  

In the previous time frame, it appears Hobbs was alone was from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Now he is being asked about being alone from 1:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m. He does not state "Yes, that is correct" or "Yes, that is my testimony." He gives a weaker affirmation of, "I believe that's correct." The word "believe" means he is uncertain.


We can clearly see that at times Terry Hobbs is being evasive in his deposition and 2007 interview. He will always give an answer but often does not answer the specific question. This means he is withholding some information. Sometimes this information is revealed after repeatedly asking him the same question or reminding him that he is under oath.

He stated that he tries to be honest which means he is not always an honest person. We saw this when he was asked about his drug usage. Not only did try to avoid answering some of the questions but he lied when asked, "What other drugs?" He answered "None" but then eventually admitted he tried crystal meth.

When asked if he was mad at Stevie for being late he responded, "No. No. We didn't act like that." He repeats the word "No" and uses the pronoun "we" which means he did not personalize his answer. He does this again when asked, "Do you think it's possible that somebody just got angry and got out of control?" Instead of answering "I don't know" he replied, "We don't know." He is avoiding answering the specific question. When asked if he had a temper, he replied, "I try not to have." The word "try" means he did have a temper.

Hobbs wants us to believe that after taking his wife to work just before 5:00 p.m., he and his daughter drove around for a short time looking for the three boys. Hobbs met Dana Moore and Mark Byers around 6:00 p.m. to discuss where the boys might be. Hobbs and his daughter then went to David Jacoby's house where he and Jacoby were together until 9:00 p.m. when Hobbs picked up his wife.

There are several problems with Hobbs's account of what he was doing the day/night the boys disappeared.

David Jacoby has testified that Hobbs arrived at his house around 5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. and played guitars for an hour. When asked about playing guitars Hobbs stated, "It's possible." If his stepson was missing, why was he playing guitars for an hour? Maybe it is because at that time Stevie was not missing. Jacoby also testified that when Hobbs came to his house "I believe I saw Terry's stepson, Stevie Branch, ride by on his bicycle in the street in front of my house."

Jacoby further testified "Between approximately 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on May 5, 1993, Terry got up from playing guitars and told me that he was going to his house to see if Stevie was at home...Terry was gone from my house for a while." When asked if he was alone searching for Stevie, several times Hobbs gave the weak denial "Not, not to my knowledge." He said he was "pretty sure" he did not leave Jacoby's house by himself. In his 2007 interview, Hobbs stated that he went into the woods "6 - 6:30." This coincides with Jacoby's testimony that Hobbs left his house between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

In regards to meeting Mark Byers and Dana Moore, Byers has stated they met around 8:30 p.m. which is much later than Hobbs's statement they met between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. When asked if it was possible he was mistaken about the 6:00 - 6:30 time frame Hobbs replied, "It's possible."

We can see that when he is confronted with what other people have stated, Terry Hobbs begins to change his version of what he was doing the night the boys disappeared. When we analyze his language we see that he is being deceptive in certain areas. This does not mean he killed Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore. However, we cannot exclude him as a suspect.

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