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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Illinois doesn't have a death penalty but this Zion chimp has a date with the grim reaper

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A government lawyer argued today that Jorge Torrez deserves the death penalty, calling him a remorseless serial killer who brutally murdered two young girls in Zion, Ill.

A jury now is considering whether Torrez, 25, a Zion native, should be put to death or be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole.

Making a closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Trump condemned Torrez as a man who didn’t care about six female victims – three of whom were slain – but who regarded them as "prizes" or "trophies."

The Zion victims were Krystal Tobias, 9, and Laura Hobbs, 8.

Trump said that "this little man – this coward – can’t admit he brutally murdered two little girls" for sexual gratification.

Both Hobbs and Tobias were stabbed repeatedly in Beulah Park on Mother’s Day in 2005. Testimony in the case indicated that semen had been recovered from Hobbs’ body and clothing, tying Torrez to her fatal stabbing.

"This is no room for doubt," Trump said,  "Jorge Torrez deserves to die."

Torrez instructed his three defense lawyers to say nothing on his behalf during the penalty phase of the case, which arises from the strangulation murder of a sailor near the Pentagon in July 2009. Torrez was a Marine then. He was convicted of her murder April 8, but has not yet been tried for the Illinois crimes.

Already he is serving five life sentences plus 168 years for the northern Virginia attacks on the three surviving victims.

The jurors were excused from court to begin deliberations at 9:15 a.m. Chicago time today. The trial is taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Torrez initially avoided suspicion after the Zion killings. Instead, Hobbs’ father, Jerry Hobbs, confessed to the crime following questioning that stretched across 24 hours, an admission he later said police coerced. Jerry Hobbs was freed after about five years when DNA was linked to Torrez.

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