Statement Analysis®

Terry Hobbs's Interview

Terry Hobbs is the stepfather of Stevie Branch. Despite being the parent of one of the murdered boys, he was never officially interviewed by the police at the time the murders took place. In 2007, DNA found at the crime scene was tested. None of the DNA matched the three teenagers found guilty of committing these murders. However, a hair found in a knot on one of the shoe strings used to bind one of the boys matched Terry Hobbs. The police then decided to interview Hobbs. The interview was conducted on June 21, 2007.

Another hair found at the crime scene matched David Jacoby. Hobbs went to Jacoby's house the night the boys disappeared. Some believe that Jacoby's hair was transferred to Hobbs who then left it at the crime scene. Because of the DNA matches and Hobbs's checkered background, many people feel Terry Hobbs was responsible for the death of the three boys. Let's look at some excerpts and see what Terry Hobbs had to say 14 years after the boys were murdered.

Earlier in the interview, Hobbs said he came home from work "about 3 - 3:30" and Stevie was not there. His wife Pam told him that Stevie was riding his bicycle with Michael Moore. Stevie was supposed to be home at 4:30 p.m. for supper but he never showed up. Shortly before 5:00 p.m. Hobbs, along with his daughter Amanda, drove Pam to her workplace. He then picked Pam back up at 9:00 p.m.

Officer: "Did you go into the woods before you picked up Pam?"

Terry Hobbs: "Sure."

Officer: "You did?"

Terry Hobbs: (Nods yes)

Officer: "You remember about what time that was?"

Terry Hobbs: "6 - 6:30".

Officer: "K, who was with you at that time?"

Terry Hobbs: "David."

Officer: "David Jacoby. Anybody else?"

Terry Hobbs: "Just a lot of neighborhood people. Cause there was people on 3 wheelers, 4 wheelers, motorcycles, bicycles, on foot. That was you know, help calling, us, helping us look for 3 kids."

David Jacoby testified that Hobbs stopped by his house with Amanda and stayed for about an hour. Hobbs then left Jacoby's residence by himself. Hobbs returned later and at that time Jacoby went with Hobbs to search for the three boys. Jacoby further testified, "I was not in Robin Hood Hills Woods searching for Stevie or other missing children alone or with Terry Hobbs on May 5th, 1993 at or near 6:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m." Jacoby contradicts what Hobbs is telling the officer.

Hobbs states that "a lot of neighborhood people" were in the woods searching for the boys. Later in this portion of his interview he would estimate there were "20 to 40" people searching. It does not seem viable that so many people would be in the woods looking for the boys at this hour. A witness said she saw the boys on their bikes around 6:00 p.m. The alert to look for the missing boys had not been sounded. They were not reported missing until later that evening. Perhaps this is why he used the word "just" which is not needed. The word "just" is used to minimize things.

He used the phrase "you know" over 50 times in this interview. This means he may have a habit of saying it and is not necessarily expecting us to take for granted what he is saying is the truth.

Officer: "Is there anything that you saw that you uhh, was it daylight or dark when you all went out there the first time?"

Terry Hobbs: "Daylight."

Officer: "Daylight? Was there anything out there that that struck you as unusual or odd that you saw?"

Terry Hobbs: "Nothing other than I wouldn't have been out here, this is not a place I hang out, No. And we were told at one time that there was something that covered up a hole or something and they thought they mighta been in that hole so some of them little kids that knew where that place was at said that they'd go check it. I think uhh, that little Byers boy. The one that was alive. There's another one alive. I can't think of his name, but I think he was gonna go with some of the people that was there and check, but I don't know what they's talking about."

Officer: "Was that suppose to be out there in the wooded area also?"

Terry Hobbs: "Uhh hmm."

There are some people who believe in the manhole theory. The boys were fans of the cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The TMNT dwelled in the sewers (manholes). The boys were known to have played in the storm-drains around their neighborhood. The theory is that the boys were killed and their bodies were placed or left in a storm drain. Later that night, the killer returned to the crime scene and tied their hands to their ankles using their shoe strings. This allowed the killer to carry their bodies a short distance to the ditch within the wooded area where they were found. This would explain why there was very little physical evidence at the supposed crime scene in the woods around the ditch.

Twice Hobbs was asked about anything unusual that he "saw." He then tells the officer that in viewing the wooded area he determined this is not a place that he would hang out at. He then goes on to tell the officer about something that he did not see but only heard about. He was not asked what he heard but was asked about what he "saw." The information that Hobbs volunteers to talk about is the manholes! Despite being told that the boys may have been playing in a hole Hobbs does not choose to look into it. He wants us to believe that a kid and some people were going to check it out but he used the word "think" which means he is not certain if they were going to look for the boys in the manholes. He concludes his statement about the manholes by saying, "I don't know what they's talking about." After bringing up the idea the boys may have been playing in some manholes, he quickly tells the officer that he does not know anything about it. This is very suspicious. There is a good chance that Hobbs did not hear about the manholes the night the boys disappeared but this was information he already possessed.


Officer: "Well all I'm asking you is if there is anything that you feel might be, uhh, might be pertinent, or, or have some value uhh to this case at all. That we might forward to the prosecuting attorney if, if necessary, ummm,"

Terry Hobbs: "I know I seen umm a picture, and I don't know if this means anything. I seen a picture that uh, Damien Echols sitting on my couch at my house with Chris and Mike, no Stevie and Mike, on each side of him, I think. Have you seen that?"

Officer: "Uh No sir I have not, where did you see that picture?"

Terry Hobbs: "Well I think Gary Gitchell had it and I don't know how he got it. And they said it was my couch, and I don't know, I don't remember that, now Of course I know we didn't know Damien Echols or none of them boys. But I don't know how, if that was our couch, that, that picture got tooken. But I've heard about this picture somewhere out here."

In talking about the picture of Echols sitting in his house, Hobbs hesitates; "I know I seen umm a picture." "I seen a picture that uh Damien Echols sitting on my couch." Is he pausing because he knows this is not a truthful statement?

Twice he states that he seen a picture of Echols sitting in his house. In the last sentence, he changes his language and states, "I've heard about this picture."

In talking about the picture of Echols, he states, "I don't know if this means anything." Of course it means something and he knows it means something. He is tying Damien Echols to the victims. This reminds me of Jeffrey MacDonald's statement "I saw that the back door was open, but that's immaterial I guess." MacDonald knows it is not immaterial or he would not have mentioned it. He is providing a way for the alleged intruders to enter his residence and kill his family.

Twice Hobbs uses the phrase "I think" which means he is not committed to what he is saying about this picture.

Later in the interview the officer would revisit the picture of Echols sitting in Hobbs's house.

Officer: "You said that uhh. Just going to touch back again on this picture that you were talking about. You actually saw this photograph? Or did you just hear about it? You said the one with Damien and, and the two boys."

Terry Hobbs: "Yeah, I've heard about it, but I don't remember if I've seen it, seems like I seen it somewhere."

Officer: "You heard it from who?"

Terry Hobbs: "I don't, Mark?"

Officer: "Mark Byers."

Terry Hobbs: "Mark Byers, yeah. He said that someone's got this picture and it's of my couch, he said Gary Gitchell told him it was Terry's couch. Seems like Gary talked to me about that one time."

The officer saw that earlier Hobbs contradicted himself so he now asked for clarification about whether he saw or heard about the picture. Hobbs says he heard about it but does not remember if he saw it. When asked whom he heard it from he starts out answering "I don't" as if he was going to say "I don't know." He then apparently asked "Mark?" to which the officer replied "Mark Byers."

Twice he used the phrase "seems like" which means he is uncertain. Hobbs's language indicates he is making up the story of having seen or heard about a picture of Damien Echols sitting on his couch. This alleged picture has never surfaced.


Here is how Hobbs concluded the interview.

Terry Hobbs: "You know I don't, I don't know what happened out there in the woods that night, or day, whenever. But for them to try to blame it on Mark, blame it on me, blame it on, and not, not let somebody rest from this."

Why does he hesitate when denying that he does not know what happened to the three boys? He does not finish his second sentence. He may have wanted to say, "But for them to try to blame it on Mark, blame it on me, blame it on, and not, not let somebody rest from this is wrong." However, he does not tell us that it is wrong.

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