Steven Alexander Hobbs, 51, has lived at Harris County Jail in the maximum security unit for more than 10 years.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says her stay was generally uneventful. Although the length of his stay is extraordinary.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I haven’t seen anyone in over a decade,” said Andy Kahan, director of victim services for Crime Stoppers.
Hobbs is the oldest current inmate in Harris County. He has been imprisoned and awaiting trial since his arrest in 2011.
In October 2011, HCSO investigators announced the arrest at a press conference, then dropped a bombshell they suspected he was a serial killer.
“Steven Hobbs is a predator. He’s been a predator for at least a decade. So now we’re just reviewing to see if he’s suitable,” Lt. Rolf Nelson of the HCSO Homicide Unit explained in 2011 .
Hobbs is charged with two capital murders in the deaths of Sarah Sanford and Patricia Pyatt. He is also a suspect in the death of Wanda Trombley. Hobbs is charged with two rapes, one kidnapping and two aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon. Investigators always believed there were more victims.
“The number of dead victims, I have no way of knowing at the moment. The number of living victims, I really can’t guess either,” the prosecutor said.
Deputies said Hobbs, a gun-toting security guard, preyed on sex workers at Crosby, Highlands and Barrett stations in the eastern parts of Harris County. They said he used a gun, truncheon, handcuffs, his massive height and weight to attack.
Investigators believe the married father of two prostitutes targeted because they were reluctant to go to the police.
Trombley’s body was found in September 2011 along Red Bluff Road. Sanford’s body was found naked and handcuffed in 2010 in a wooded area five miles from Hobbs’ home in Crosby. Pyatt, a mother of five, was found strangled in 2002 along the banks of the San Jacinto River. DNA linked Hobbs to the Pyatt and Sanford murders, investigators said.
Living victims identified him.
“This guy thought no one was going to catch him,” said then Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
Hobbs was due to stand trial in 2015, but new DNA tests put him on hold. Just as the case was ready to resume, Hurricane Harvey hit, causing the courthouse to close for years and the COVID-19 pandemic adding to the delay.
“It’s finally time to bring this case to a conclusion,” Kahan said.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is now moving at a rapid pace in the Sanford case, filing a number of motions this week. A preliminary hearing on the admission of Hobbs’ statement is scheduled for April 6. The trial is scheduled for May. Prosecutors declined a request for an interview so close to jury selection.
In response to the ‘serial killer’ label, Mandy Miller, one of the three defense attorneys, said, “The defense team is eager to see what evidence the state has to support such a claim. assertion.”
Hobbs spends his time in the prison law library and has corresponded with the court on occasion.
After more than 10 years, he may soon be leaving Harris County Jail.
Kahan sympathizes with the victims and their families.
“It is absolutely heartbreaking to wait this long and I hope that finally, maybe in 2022, we will come to fruition and settle this matter one way or another,” Kahan said.
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