Sueanne Hobson reported Christen missing. Two boys discovered his body a month later while digging for worms.
According to widely reported court testimony, Sueanne Hobson saw Christen -- a special-education student who had adjustment problems at school and acted out at home -- as a threat to her two-year-old marriage to Ed Hobson.
The trial was the best soap opera ever to hit Johnson County. Every day at 7 a.m., crowds lined up to get front-row seats at the courthouse. News reports in The Kansas City Star eventually began critiquing Sueanne's attire and courtroom performance. Noting that she wore "a white dress with lace at the collar and on the sleeves" or "a cream-colored dress and a tan jacket," reporters chronicled how she aimed "icy glares" at witnesses, "struggled to keep her voice under control, dabbed her eyes with tissues, and threw defiant answers at questions posed by the district attorney."
Sueanne's fifteen-year-old daughter said she'd overheard her mom plotting the murder. Crumm testified that he and Sorrentino had plotted the murder after Sueanne's attempt to poison the boy's ice cream had failed. He also said that Sueanne wanted her stepson gone by Christmas so she could save money on presents.
Crumm was convicted of first-degree murder. Sorrentino was convicted of aiding and abetting Crumm. Both received life sentences. Crumm was paroled on January 4, 1999; Sorrentino was paroled on April 21, 2000.
Sueanne Hobson has always maintained her innocence. Crumm had come to live with the couple in May 1979, after spending eight years with his father, Sueanne's ex-husband. In her initial testimony, Sueanne said her son told her about the murder but said Sorrentino had pulled the trigger. Later, Sueanne fingered her son, who had been kicked out of the condo a month earlier for stealing credit cards, as a jealous sibling cum hatchet man. She alleged that Crumm had taken Christen's wallet to the Metcalf South Shopping Center in Overland Park to make it look as if his stepbrother had run away. Later, she said she took the wallet there herself to protect her family by covering her son's trail.
Despite his grief, Ed Hobson stood by his wife. By the end of the trial, though, he had a son in the ground and a wife in prison. Associate District Judge Robert Jones found Sueanne guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The sentences would run consecutively, but under archaic parole laws, Sueanne would be eligible to hit the street in seven and a half years. Now incarcerated at the Topeka Correctional Facility, Sueanne is up for parole a sixth time later this month.
With Sueanne's parole hearing approaching, the media have begun retelling her cold-blooded story. But Ed Hobson has dropped out of sight, attempting to cover his own tracks.
The plot twist: For years, he has been active in a group dedicated to keeping convicted murderers behind bars -- a group whose members, the Pitch has learned, are angered by Hobson's efforts to get Sueanne out of prison.