- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A man convicted of the brutal slayings of a Kansas woman and her young son is back in prison after violating parole he was granted nearly 11 years ago after serving 24 years of a life sentence.

Tony A. Hobbs, 55, violated parole by possessing and testing positive for methamphetamines, Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Adam Pfannenstiel said Thursday.

Hobbs was convicted of first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the Jan. 22, 1980, deaths of Karen Crook, 28, and her son, Brandon Cook, 4, in their Topeka home.

Hobbs and Michael E. Simmons, now 54, used an electrical cord to strangle Karen Crook before stabbing her, The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/1L6FDuF ) reported. They drowned Brandon by holding his head under water.

Hobbs told police he used a pillow to try to smother Travis Magner, 7, who also was Crook’s son, and used a belt to try to strangle the boy and then stabbed him in the chest with a butcher knife. Hobbs and Simmons then turned on the gas burners on the house’s stove and blew out the pilot light before leaving, hoping to cause an explosion.

Travis passed out but woke up the next morning and walked to a nearby elementary school. While under police guard at a Topeka hospital, he identified one of the killers from a photo lineup.

Hobbs was sentenced to life for first-degree murder and 15 years to life for second-degree murder, with the terms to run concurrently, or at the same time. Simmons received two concurrent life sentences for first-degree murder.

Simmons will be eligible for parole in January 2020.

Hobbs was denied for parole in 1997 after relatives of the victims not to parole either him or Simmons. Afterward, Hobbs sent a letter of apology to The Capital-Journal saying that he accepted responsibility for his actions and wanted to apologize to everyone he had hurt.

He was released in September 2004 from Hutchinson Correctional Facility. His request for early discharge from parole in 2012 was denied.

Last month, Hobbs was booked into the El Dorado Correctional Facility for violating parole.

He will meet later this month with the Kansas Prisoner Review Board, which will decide whether to keep him in custody or parole him again, Pfannenstiel said.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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