HOUSTON — It's a case that goes back more than a decade, but on Monday morning, a former security guard accused of preying on sex workers in east Harris County pleaded guilty to two murder charges.
Steven Alexander Hobbs was sentenced to two life sentences to be served consecutively as part of the plea agreement. He will not be eligible for parole until the age of 101.
It was 2011 when investigators finally put the pieces together and arrested Hobbs. He's been waiting for his trial ever since.
Jury selection was actually set to start Monday morning for the trial but he instead agreed to the plea deal. Just before he took the plea deal, prosecutors said Hobbs changed his mind after what appeared to be an emotional moment with his family. Hobbs will hear victim impact statements on Friday.
“While I can’t speak to his exact mindset, I think he recognized how much pain and embarrassment was going to come to his own family when we brought all of the evidence to light,” prosecutor Sarah Seely said.
Hobbs was charged in connection with the shooting death of Sara Sanford, a sex worker whose nude, handcuffed body was found in October of 2010.
In 2011, he was charged also with murder in the cold case of another sex worker, Patricia Pyatt, whose body was found on the banks of the San Jacinto River in November 2002.
Pyatt, a mother of five who was also from Crosby, was strangled with such force that there were broken bones in her neck, investigators said.
Investigators said the cases were linked by DNA evidence.
“This defendant terrified and brutalized the women he attacked, but now families will be spared enduring a trial and he will be locked away until he is nearly 100 years old,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “He avoided being sent from county jail to state prison as long as he could, but with this sentence, justice has been served and Steven Hobbs will never again set foot in Harris County.”
Hobbs had been jailed since his arrest in 2011, making him the longest-serving inmate of the Harris County Jail. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Hobbs gets credit for the 10 years he has already been jailed.
"Steven Hobbs is a predator, and he’s been a predator for at least a decade," HCSO Homicide Lt. Rolf Nelson said back in 2011.
Hobbs was already in jail when he was charged with murder. He had been charged in connection with the sexual assaults of three prostitutes in Pasadena. That is when Harris County investigators linked him to the murders.
Prosecutors said the deal will allow them to focus trial resources on other cases that have been waiting.