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Published: Saturday, 6/9/2007

Differing experts paint Jobe as scared kid, good liar

Jobe Jobe
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The decision about whether Robert Jobe should be tried as an adult for shooting a Toledo police detective to death wound through the field of clinical psychology yesterday as attorneys on both sides dissected the teenager's actions after the shooting.

That he cleaned his gun with alcohol.

That he munched on snacks during police questioning after his arrest.

That later that same day, he sobbed with his mother.

And for the second day in a row, what emerged were two very different characterizations of the 15-year-old accused of killing Toledo police Detective Keith Dressel.

While one expert witness talked of a "frightened, scared little kid," another called him "a very believable liar."

"In terms of adolescent development, he was pretty calm and cool in being able to do all that after this highly emotional shooting," said David Connell, a clinical psychologist and expert witness called by prosecutors.

David Connell, witness for the prosecution, says the juvenile justice system wouldn t be able to rehabilitate Robert Jobe by age 21.
David Connell, witness for the prosecution, says the juvenile justice system wouldn t be able to rehabilitate Robert Jobe by age 21.
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The actions were "sophisticated criminal behavior" and test results indicated Robert Jobe had the same traits as adult psychopaths, Mr. Connell said. And that, in turn, is evidence that the juvenile justice system can't rehabilitate the teen before his 21st birthday, the psychologist said.

Both he and Wayne Graves, a psychologist called by Robert Jobe's defense team, had interviewed young Jobe at length on separate occasions. They also reviewed the youth's court files and school records, and watched police tapes of the teenager's statement to officers in an interrogation room.

During those police interviews, the teen seemed equally unfazed by the killing, Mr. Connell concluded.

"He was eating chips, drinking water, smoking cigarettes," Mr. Connell said.

Young Jobe has admitted to police that he shot Detective Dressel during a struggle about 2 a.m. Feb. 21, but claimed it was an accident.

Retired Lucas County Juvenile Court Judge James Ray must decide whether the teen should be tried as an adult or a juvenile in the case. If he is tried and found delinquent as a juvenile for aggravated murder, he most likely would be released on his 21st birthday. A conviction in adult court could put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

Judge Ray had said he would decide by 4 p.m. yesterday, but as testimony stretched toward that deadline, he called for a recess until 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Mr. Graves testified for the defense, cautioning that Mr. Connell's findings were based on risk-assessment testing that is unreliable for adolescents.

Traits in adult psychopaths - impulsivity and an apparent lack of empathy, for example - are normal in adolescent development, Mr. Graves said.

Rather than psychopathic, the Jobe teenager seems immature and dependent, and still capable of changing, he said.

He referred to a police video clip in which young Jobe weeps in an interrogation room after investigators stepped outside.

"What I observed was Bobby breaking down, frightened, clinging to his mother, berating himself for what he'd done and for having become like his dad," Mr. Graves said, referring to Clarence Jobe, the teen's late father.

The elder Jobe spent years in prison for a string of offenses ranging from rape to kidnapping to robbery before he died in 2002.

Mr. Graves said the episode showed young Jobe's shame and fear: "I believe he was remorseful. He was clearly sorry for the import and terribleness of what he'd done."

In the end, one of the only things two expert witnesses could agree on was this: Their assessments of the boy provide no guarantees about his future character.

"The best we can do is just say that an adolescent scores very high on factors which are related to the construct of psychopathy," acknowledged Mr. Connell, who had concluded the teenager could not be rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system.

Later, Mr. Graves came to the same sentiment during a cross-examination by Dean Mandros, an assistant county prosecutor.

"Are you sitting there guaranteeing Judge Ray that Robert Jobe can be successfully rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system?" Mr. Mandros asked.

"I can't guarantee the future," the psychologist responded. "I'm making my best clinical judgment that he is open to [rehabilitation], that he has a better-than-typical chance if given to him, and there is sufficient time for him to make substantial change."

"So there's nothing " Mr. Mandros began.

" that I can guarantee it, no," Mr. Graves finished.

Contact Robin Erb at:


or 419-724-6133

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