A 20-year-old man accepted a 15-year prison sentence Monday in a plea agreement with the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office and the victim’s family.
Justin C. Hobbs appeared in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas on 68 counts for rape and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance with a 12-year-old minor child.
In the plea agreement, Hobbs plead to three charges filed in two cases.
In the first case, Hobbs entered an “Alford guilty plea” to one charge of forcible rape. He did not admit to rape and maintained that he was innocent even though the evidence, if presented at trial, would have likely been so overwhelming that he would have been convicted of the crime. He was sentenced to a mandatory prison term of seven years.
In the second case, Hobbs admitted to two counts of the illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance with the victim. He was sentenced to a non-mandatory term of four years on each count.
In total, Hobbs was sentenced to 15 years in prison, seven of which are mandatory. He was ordered to five years of post-release control, and to pay the costs for prosecution.
During a presentation of the facts of the case to the court, it was revealed that the 12-year-old victim was at a football game at Miami Trace. Hobbs told her to come out to his pickup truck in the parking lot in the area of Miami Trace, where it was parked in a dark location. The victim got into his truck, the doors were locked, and he had sex with the victim. The sister of the victim was looking for her and the two were reunited when Hobbs left the area.
A cousin later reported the crime to law enforcement and an investigation began.
Hobbs and his attorney, Brad Koeffel, filed a motion to suppress evidence last month after detectives seized Hobbs’s cell phone without a warrant during an interview.
The motion to suppress evidence was overruled by Steven Beathard, Fayette County Court of Common Pleas judge, after the facts of the case were presented during a hearing at which testimony indicated that the sheriff’s office had reason to believe Hobbs had used that cell phone to communicate with the 12-year-old minor child.
A warrant was later obtained for a search of the cell phone and it was forensically analyzed at Ohio BCI in London for evidence.
Hobbs will be required to register as a Tier III sex offender for the rest of his life, reporting every 90 days on the whereabouts of his home, work, and school. He was credited with one day of jail time served in the Fayette County Jail.
The victim and her family, who were present in the courtroom, were consulted throughout the plea agreement process. They wished to make no statements on behalf of the victim, according to Jess Weade, Fayette County Prosecutor.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton