With the defendant not in the courtroom, the case against a Maricopa mother accused of abusing her children for social media attention continues in Superior Court.
Joshua Wallace, one of the attorneys for Machelle Hobson (aka Hackney), said a psychiatric exam showed she was not competent for trial and there is “no point in engaging a restoration service.”
Hobson, 48, and her family ran the now-deactivated YouTube channel “Fantastic Adventures,” which featured the children going through superhero training and visiting fantasy lands through special effects from their Villages home. The lucrative channel had more than 200 million video views and earned the family $10,000 to $30,000 per month.
Seven of her 10 children are adopted. Prosecutors say Hobson abused the children to get them to perform, allegedly depriving them of food and water, locking them in closets and using pepper spray. Hobson was indicted on 17 counts of child abuse and five counts of kidnapping.
She was released from jail in June, apparently based on her health condition. Maricopa Police initially also arrested her two oldest sons, but the Pinal County Attorney’s Office declined to press charges.
Wednesday, Wallace filed the report from a mental-health exam required by Rule 11. He said it would be months before Hobson could be prepared. The state asked for additional time to view the report.
Judge Delia Neal set a hearing for Aug. 28, allowing attorneys to participate telephonically. As Hobson has at least three other attorneys of record, Neal said finding court dates that fit everyone’s schedules was like “herding cats.”