Convicted killer pleads to 1980 killing of woman found slain in Bay Area field

Convicted killer pleads to 1980 killing of woman found slain in Bay Area field

Previously convicted of a murder, a 77-year-old state prison inmate has pleaded to killing a 21-year-old woman in 1980, then leaving her body in rural Dixon.

Herman Lee Hobbs, 77 (Reporter file/Joel Rosenbaum) 

Official court records show Herman Lee Hobbs, whose July 10 preliminary hearing has been vacated, entered a no-contest plea to one count of second-degree murder on June 14 in Department 15 in Vallejo. Hobbs did not admit guilt but essentially stated he would offer no defense.

Judge Robert Bowers immediately found him guilty and scheduled a pre- sentencing report and sentencing at 9 a.m. July 15 in the Justice Building, where Hobbs will receive 15 years to life for the death of Holly Ann Campiglia of New Jersey.

Court records also showed the term will be consecutive for crimes committed in Sacramento and Yuba counties for which he is serving time in Valley State Prison in Chowchilla.

The judge dismissed one charge in the case against Hobbs: felon in possession of a firearm.

Hobbs was represented by Deputy Public Defenders Nick Filloy and co-counsel Matthew Adler. Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams led the prosecution.

Convicted in 2005 for a 1975 killing in Sacramento, Hobbs, in previous court appearances had been shackled and clad in a striped jail jumpsuit and entered courtrooms seated in a wheelchair.

As previously reported, Hobbs was arrested by Solano County Sheriff’s officials on the latest murder charge on Feb. 24 last year at the Chowchilla prison.

Sheriff’s officials announced the arrest on Feb. 27 in a social media post, indicating he was taken into custody in connection for the death of Campiglia. He remains without bail in Solano County Jail on the June conviction and also on a state prison hold.

In August 1980, officials said, two field workers on Sievers Road in rural Dixon discovered a body of a woman in a cornfield. She had been shot multiple times in the head and neck and was subsequently listed as Jane Doe for more than 10 years.

In 1992, the Solano County Coroner’s Office was contacted by the National Missing Persons Unit and the woman was identified as Campiglia.

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In late 2021, at the request of her family, an evidence technician reviewed the case to determine if any of the original evidence could be resubmitted for additional DNA analysis. Months later, a report from the Serological Research Institute determined that male DNA was found on the evidence, officials said. That DNA was submitted into another database with the San Mateo Crime Lab and the testing results led to Hobbs.

A warrant was obtained for DNA collection from Hobbs for direct comparison, officials noted, and it again came back as a match in the Campiglia murder.

An arrest warrant was issued along with an order to transfer Hobbs to Solano County Jail in connection with the new charge, including an enhancement for the use of a gun.

Detectives continue to work in collaboration with other Northern California agencies to identify and/or solve other cases that may be linked to Hobbs, Sheriff’s officials said at the time, suggesting he may be a serial killer.

“We are grateful to the Campiglia family for their patience and assistance, to the labs whose new technology allowed additional testing of older evidence and to the staff who worked tirelessly to help bring closure to a lifetime of waiting,” according to wording in the Sheriff’s social media post.