Defendant in Hobson killing pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Thursday, July 28, 2011 | 6:33 p.m. CDT; updated 8:19 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 28, 2011

COLUMBIA — One of the codefendants charged in connection with the shooting death of Aaron Hobson in October pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and an added count of armed criminal action at a hearing Thursday.

Daron Peal, 23, will be sentenced Sept. 12.

Peal and seven other codefendants were arrested in connection with the shooting death of Hobson, cousin of Missouri cornerback Trey Hobson, on Oct. 23 at a Break Time convenience store parking lot.

“From the time that Aaron Hobson was killed, our primary objective was making sure that the shooter was held fully responsible for this murder,” Boone County Chief Prosecutor Dan Knight said.

Both counts of second-degree murder and armed criminal action carry possible sentences of up to 25 years in prison, as recommended by the prosecution.

The prosecution also recommended that Peal serve the sentences consecutively as 50 total years in addition to the remaining five years of the current sentence he was serving on parole at the time of Hobson’s death.

The defense is likely to ask for a reduction of the sentence or that the sentences be served congruently, not consecutively, Kathryn Benson said. She is the attorney for another defendant in the Hobson case.

Knight said the other counts of first-degree robbery and felonious restraint for which Peal was previously indicted June 24 will not be pursued further in his case.

Peal was implicated by video surveillance and other codefendants as having held the gun that was used to shoot and kill Hobson.

“We believe Daron Peal was the person who shot and killed Aaron Hobson,” Knight said. “So, we believe this guilty plea is a big step in achieving the goal of holding the shooter accountable and getting justice for Aaron Hobson.”

Knight said he could not comment on how Peal’s guilty plea will affect the other codefendants’ cases.

Peal was brought in from Cameron for a hearing with Boone County Circuit Court Judge Gary Oxenhandler on Thursday afternoon. The hearing was recently requested by Peal and his attorney, Gerald Mueller.

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