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Former U.S. Marine pleads guilty to brutal 2005 rape, murder of Zion girls

Krystal Tobias, 9, and Laura Hobbs, 8 | Photo: AP / Zion Police Department handout.

Lake County’s most notorious murder case has come to an end after the suspect, a former U.S. Marine, pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of two young Zion girls in 2005.

On Tuesday, Jorge Avila-Torrez, 30, was sentenced to 100 years in prison under a plea deal after he admitted to killing 9-year-old Krystal Tobias and 8-year-old Laura Hobbs.

Avila-Torrez is already in prison where he awaits a death sentence for the murder of a fellow U.S. Navy sailor and attacks on three women.

Jorge Avila-Torrez, in a 2014 jail mugshot | Photo: Lake County Sheriffs Office.

Jerry Hobbs, the father of 8-year-old Laura Hobbs, found the two young girls stabbed to death in the Beulah Park Forest Preserve in Zion in May 2005.

In court on Tuesday, Judge Daniel Shanes called Avila-Torrez a serial killer. The murder of the two girls gained national media attention in 2005.

Jerry Hobbs, the father who found the two girls dead, spent five years in jail after confessing to murdering the two girls. He was later cleared by DNA evidence and sued Lake County, settling for $8 million.

DNA evidence linked authorities to Avila-Torrez in the murder of the two girls and also in the killing of U.S. Navy sailor Amanda Snell.

Avila-Torrez was just 16 years old when he committed the murders of the girls in Zion, which was his hometown.


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