A mentally unsound man in his thirties was repeatedly let go for his offenses, which regularly involved targeting women he fancied, in a story that reveals the holes in the California legal system.
The main event of the story from San Francisco Chronicle centers around the 15-year-old daughter of Blaise Zerega. She had to hide in a bookshop after 32-year-old Bill Gene Hobbs stalked the girl during her daily errands.
All Zerega’s daughter wanted to do that day was buy some paint. But Hobbs spotted the girl and told her she’d be a “perfect mate,” leading to him tailing her. At times it’s said he touched and “aggressively grabbed” her.
Police took Hobbs away that day last December. But he wouldn’t be made to answer for his crimes. Fast forward to last month, Blaise Zerega was informed that San Francisco Superior Court Judge Russell Roeca dismissed the case “in the interest of justice.”
Between the end of 2020 up until last month, Zerega’s daughter had finally started to mentally recover from the episode. But hearing the news of Judge Roeca’s decision to dismiss, tore open the wounds again.
While Hobbs isn’t available for comment, we can peer into his mindset from his Facebook page. When Zerega published their story, they included a picture of Bill, allowing us to confirm this social media account as indeed his.
The case of Bill Hobbs fell through the cracks, according to the Chronicle. A spokesperson for the Superior Court said they couldn't comment on an ongoing case, even though the case isn't ongoing anymore. The police were mum about it as well since a 90-day timeframe had passed.
The closest thing to an answer the outlet got was from Hobbs' public defender, Nitin Sapra. A different judge declared Hobbs incompetent to stand trial, which led to him getting away.
“He remained in San Francisco county jail for the maximum time allowed under the law for the crimes of which he was accused, and reached this maximum time before he could be placed at a treatment facility."
There were methods that court officials could’ve used to guarantee the Hobbs case saw proper attention, but they weren’t utilized.
At the moment, Bill Hobbs isn’t on the streets. Unsurprisingly, he committed more crimes. Ventura County picked him up on felony charges for auto theft.
The Chronicle outlines Bill’s track record.
"He has had six criminal cases against him in San Francisco dating to 2017. They include charges of trespassing, false imprisonment, battery and giving false information to police — they were all dismissed by judges “in the interest of justice,” according to a clerk at the Superior Court who looked up the cases for me."
Blaise Zerega heard from other victims after posting his own story. Last November a woman in Glen Canyon was walking her dog when she came across the “loud and angry” Bill Hobbs.
The woman tried running away but Hobbs stripped naked and ran after her.
The same day Zerega’s daughter was targeted by Hobbs, a woman named Erin Griffin was eating lunch in her car. Bill opened the passenger door and tried getting aside. Griffin jumped out of the car and screamed at the vagrant before he simply walked away.
This past year, people have fled San Francisco in droves for the safer harbors of Texas and Florida. It’s a city where Mayor London Breed smiles as she defunds the police, but all the meanwhile stores like Target and Walgreens have to close their stores earlier in the day amid a spike in brazen theft.