The attorney of alleged serial harasser Bill Gene Hobbs is calling his client's cognitive condition into question as preliminary arguments in the trial wind down.
Hobbs’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Max Breecker, argued for the first time on Wednesday that his client suffers from a mental health disorder, countering the district attorney’s assertion that the man accused of harassing, grabbing and following dozens of women acted with sinister intent.
Deputy District Attorney Colin Alexander argued on Wednesday that the charges against Hobbs are evidence of a “well-thought-out plan,” in which he acted with sexual intent by only targeting women.
Alexander also made reference to a tattoo on Hobbs’ hand that reads the word “EVIL,” underscoring his imposing personal appearance that badly frightened the women who came into contact with him.
The DA has brought 21 misdemeanor charges against Hobbs for sexual battery, battery, assault and public nuisance as well as a felony charge of false imprisonment.
But Breecker argued that the DA has ignored some evidence indicating that Hobbs acted without intent, pointing to victim testimonies that depict Hobbs approaching women because he thought they were someone else.
“I think there's strong evidence from the testimony that something's off,” Breecker said. “This individual has some mental health issues.”
During a previous trial, when Hobbs was charged with allegedly grabbing a 15-year-old girl in 2021, a mental health professional found him mentally incapable of defending himself in court.
But the court was unable to locate an appropriate treatment bed for Hobbs and ultimately released him from jail after he served his maximum sentence.
Breecker hasn’t yet stated that his client is unable to defend himself, instead arguing that he should be released to live with his mother in Bakersfield. Judge Stephen Murphy is expected to make a decision about which charges Hobbs will face during a hearing next Tuesday.
David Sjostedt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org