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Prosecutors: Dad admits killings

Account: Friend tried to defend Hobbs' daughter

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WAUKEGAN, Illinois (CNN) -- An ex-convict has admitted punching, kicking and stabbing to death his 8-year-old daughter and her 9-year-old best friend on Mother's Day, prosecutors in suburban Chicago said.

Jerry Hobbs, 34, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder and denied bond, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller said.

Hobbs could face the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors are calling the killings "a slaughter." Laura Hobbs was stabbed 20 times and Krystal Tobias was stabbed 11 times, they said.

The second-grade classmates were found dead Monday, a day after they were last seen riding their bikes. (Best friends)

Their killings have shaken the town of Zion, about 40 miles north of Chicago.

Hobbs has told authorities he thought his daughter was "having too much latitude as to what she can and can't do," said Jeffrey Pavletic, chief deputy of the Lake County state's attorney's criminal division.

Hobbs said he went to Beulah Park between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, "looking for Laura to bring her home," Pavletic said.

Hobbs "said that he saw her with Krystal, said that he then confronted Laura and said, 'Come home, you're coming home with me,'" Pavletic said.

"She said she didn't want to. An argument developed. He had then said in his own words that he had punched her twice at least in the face. She went down to the ground. Krystal then came to Laura's rescue. The defendant then stated that he punched her to the ground as well.

"He then stated that during this period of time, Krystal, who was coming to the aid of Laura, had pulled out what he described as a potato knife," Pavletic continued.

"He said that once that potato knife was pulled out, he said that is when he struck Krystal. He then took the knife from her and then repeatedly began to stab both girls in the bodies."

Hobbs was slashed in the neck, abdomen and both eyes. Tobias was stabbed in the neck and abdomen, Pavletic said.

"To get an idea of the type of thrust that was being used, the injuries to Laura's neck actually not only went through tissue but struck in the spinal cord as well."

Texas prosecutor: Chased people with chainsaw

Her father was the one who led police to the girls' bodies, saying he had been searching for them. But as police asked Hobbs more questions, his answers seemed "atypical of a father whose daughter had just been murdered," Waller said.

Hobbs returned to Illinois a month ago after his release from prison in Texas, where he served nearly two years for violating probation.

In 2002 he pleaded guilty to assault against Laura Hobbs' mother Sheila Hollabaugh the year before, said Rick Mahler, an assistant district attorney in Wichita Falls, Texas.

"He started chasing people around with a chainsaw that was running," he said. "Somebody hit him with a shovel, knocked him down. Those people held him until the police arrived."

He also had served time in county jails on a variety of misdemeanor charges, ranging from assault to possession of marijuana and resisting arrest, Mahler said.

Hobbs' next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, is scheduled for June 9.

CNN's Jonathan Freed, Chris Lawrence and Keith Oppenheim contributed to this report.

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