Trials of Kirstin Lobato

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Kirstin Blaise Lobato is a Nevada woman who was exonerated[1] for the July 2001 murder and mutilation of Duran Bailey, a homeless man from St. Louis who was living in Las Vegas at the time of his death.[2] At her first trial in May 2002, she was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison.[3][4] In a 2006 retrial, she was convicted of the lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and sexual penetration of a dead body and sentenced to 13 to 45 years. Lobato's case gained significant notoriety due to the publication of new evidence, which some believe points to her innocence of the crime.[5]

On December 29, 2017, Lobato was ordered to be released from the Nevada Department of Corrections.[6] It was reported on Jan 2, 2018, that Lobato will spend another year in prison for an unrelated incident,[7] yet on Jan 3 the same judge who had ordered Lobato's original release, ordered her released on that unrelated matter as well, citing time-served.[8]

Lobato was released from the Clark County Detention Center at about 2 pm on January 3, 2018.[9] After being imprisoned for 11 years and three months since her pre-trial bail was revoked following her convictions on October 6, 2006, Lobato told reporters she wanted to go "shopping" and get "coffee."[10]

Accusations[edit]

Beginning in late May 2001, Kirstin Lobato, then 18, began telling numerous friends in Las Vegas and her hometown of Panaca that a large black man tried to rape her at a Budget Suites Hotel on Boulder Highway in east Las Vegas. Lobato was consistent in telling these people that she fended off the attempted sexual assault by using a pocket knife she carried for self-defense, to try and cut her attacker's penis. From late May to the July 4, 2001 she told at least nine different people about the Budget Suites attack.[11]

On July 8, 2001, the mutilated corpse of Duran Bailey, a homeless man, was found on the opposite side of Las Vegas. Lobato was charged with the crime more than ten days later, after one of Lobato's friends informed police of her account of the sexual assault that supposedly occurred two months before. During a police interrogation, Lobato acknowledged stabbing a man in the groin, and police believed this constituted a confession to Bailey's murder, while Lobato claimed to be describing her attack.[12]

First trial[edit]

While prosecutors expected Lobato to plead not guilty by reason of self-defense, Lobato denied committing the crime entirely; she even refused a plea deal offering a 3-year prison sentence on the charge of manslaughter.[13] She insisted that she was at home in Panaca, Nevada, nearly 200 miles from Las Vegas, on July 8, 2001, and her family confirmed that.[14] Her attorneys also attempted to discount her supposed confession. However, prosecutors contended that Lobato was a known methamphetamine user and that she killed Bailey during a dispute over sex and drugs. During the May 2002 trial, Lobato testified to her innocence,[15] and her attorneys brought in experts who also stated that Lobato could not have committed the crime based on physical evidence, but Judge Valorie Vega suppressed much of the experts' testimony.[16] In their closing statement, Lobato's attorneys compared her trial to the Salem witch trials.[17] After deliberating through the night, the jury convicted Lobato of first-degree murder. On August 27, 2002, she was sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison.[4]

Appeals, second trial and ongoing litigation[edit]

Over two years after her conviction, on September 3, 2004, Lobato's conviction was reversed; the Supreme Court of Nevada argued that her attorneys were unable to cross-examine a prosecution witness, who was a woman whom Lobato was incarcerated with while awaiting trial. Her case was remanded for a new trial.[18] On October 6, 2006, she was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 13 to 45 years in prison.[5]

Lobato's appeal of her conviction was denied by the Supreme Court of Nevada in October 2009.

In May 2010, Lobato filed a writ of habeas corpus petition that asserted 79 grounds for a new trial. Among those was her claim of actual innocence based on new evidence discovered after her trial proving she was in Panaca, Nevada, during the time when Bailey was killed. Judge Vega denied Lobato's petition in June 2011. Lobato appealed that ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court on August 1, 2011.

In February 2011 Lobato filed a post-conviction petition for DNA testing of crime scene evidence. The Innocence Project agreed to pay for the testing if Lobato's petition was granted. The petition was opposed by the Clark County District Attorney's Office, and denied by Judge Vega. Lobato appealed that ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court, which on January 12, 2012 dismissed her appeal on the basis Judge Vega's ruling was not appealable under NRS 176.0918.

After Lobato's DNA testing petition was denied, an online petition has called for the Nevada courts to test the crime scene evidence in Lobato's case, claiming it can prove she is an innocent person.[19]

A book about the case, entitled Kirstin Blaise Lobato's Unreasonable Conviction by Hans Sherrer was published in May 2008 by the Justice Institute, and a second edition in November 2010.[20] As of March 17, 2015 more than 53,000 copies have been downloaded at no charge from the website, Justice Denied.[21]

Retired FBI agent Steve Moore, noted for his advocacy on behalf of Amanda Knox, has referred to the case documents in the Lobato case as, "...complete and utter bullshit."[2]

Retired FBI agent Moore believes that Duran Bailey might have been castrated and killed by another woman instead, who had claimed one week before that Bailey had raped her.[22]

After having been charged with misconduct and publicly reprimanded by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, Judge Vega,[23][24] the judge in both of Lobato's trials, did not run for re-election in 2014 and stepped down from the bench in January 2015.[24][25]

On September 9, 2014 the Nevada Supreme Court, sitting En banc, heard oral arguments related to Lobato's habeas petition. The case has been "Submitted for Decision. En Banc",[26] and the Court's ruling is pending as of April 1, 2015.

On December 19, 2017, Judge Stefany Miley, a District Judge in Las Vegas, granted a new trial for Lobato.[27]

On December 29, 2017 Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonazalez ordered Lobato released from the Nevada Department of corrections.[28] It was reported on Jan 2, 2018, that Lobato will spend another year in prison for an unrelated incident,[29] yet on Jan 3 the same judge who had ordered Lobato's original release, ordered her released on that unrelated matter as well, citing time-served.[30]

Lobato was released from the Clark County Detention Center at about 2 pm on January 3, 2018.[31] After being imprisoned for 11 years and three months since her pre-trial bail was revoked following her convictions on October 6, 2006, Lobato told reporters she wanted to go "shopping" and get "coffee."[32]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/lobato-becomes-the-200th-person-to-win-exoneration-through-the-innocence-project/901495258
  2. ^ a b Smith, Jordan (2015-03-12). "Nightmare in Sin City: How a Rumor Sent a Teen to Prison for Murder in Vegas". The Intercept. First Look Media. Archived from the original on 2015-03-13. Retrieved 2015-03-19. In the long-running TV crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, set in Las Vegas, the city's police, crime scene analysts and medical examiner are portrayed as efficient and fearless advocates for truth in justice — they leave no stone unturned and are swift and resolute in their evidentiary analyses. In the real-life case of Duran Bailey, nothing could have been further from the truth.
  3. ^ Glenn Puit (2002-05-19). "Lobato found guilty of murder: Teen-ager faces July 2 sentencing hearing in homeless man's slaying". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Kim (2002-08-28). "Lobato receives 100 years in mutilation slaying of man". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2015-03-19. Kohn and fellow defense attorney Gloria Navarro told jurors that police never discussed the date of Bailey's death with Lobato. She thought they were questioning her about a Memorial Day weekend attack.
  5. ^ a b Hans Sherrer (2013-07-08). "Kirstin Lobato Has New Evidence Scientifically Proving It Is Physically Impossible She Committed Her Convicted Crimes … Will It Matter To The Nevada Supreme Court?". Justice Denied.
  6. ^ https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/courts/judge-tosses-case-against-kirstin-lobato-orders-her-freed/
  7. ^ http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/37175158/kirstin-blaise-lobato-to-be-held-for-additional-year-behind-bars
  8. ^ https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/courts/clark-county-judge-orders-immediate-release-for-kirstin-lobato/
  9. ^ http://justicedenied.org/wordpress/archives/4135
  10. ^ http://justicedenied.org/wordpress/archives/4135
  11. ^ http://justicedenied.org/books/lobato_conviction_3rd.pdf
  12. ^ Glenn Puit (2002-05-09). "Prosecutor says conversation ties teen to killing". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  13. ^ Glenn Puit (2002-05-29). "Convicted killer turned down plea deal". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  14. ^ Matt Pordum (2006-09-15). "Kirstin Lobato says she was out of town the night Duran Bailey was mutilated and murdered". Court TV. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26.
  15. ^ Glenn Puit (2002-05-16). "'Sensitive' defendant denies mutilation slaying charge". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  16. ^ Glenn Puit (2002-05-17). "Expert's testimony limited: Forensics specialist: Evidence excludes Lobato from scene". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  17. ^ Glenn Puit (2002-05-17). "CLOSING ARGUMENTS: Jurors deliberate severed penis slaying". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  18. ^ LOBATO v. STATE, FindLaw No. 40370 (Supreme Court of Nevada 2004-09-03) ("We reverse Lobato's convictions and remand for a new trial.").
  19. ^ Kingsley, Amy (2012-07-13). "Update: The DA, DNA and the Kirstin Lobato murder case". Las Vegas CityLife. Archived from the original on 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2015-03-19. When she was arrested, Lobato readily told police that she'd been attacked, and had used her knife to slash at the man's exposed genitals. She sticks by that story to this day. Only her attack took place several weeks before Bailey's murder, supporters say.
  20. ^ Sherrer, Hans (November 2010). Kirstin Blaise Lobato's Unreasonable Conviction: Possibility of Guilt Replaces Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt – Second Edition (PDF). Seattle, WA: The Justice Institute. ISBN 978-1-4538-8624-3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2015-03-19 – via Kirstin Lobato Case Book Free Online. ...[I]mportant facets of Blaise's case can only be fleshed out in the longer form of a book. Among other things it enables the presentation of tables and graphs that aid visualizing such things as the details of Blaise's alibi, and that there is a lack of intersection between the details in her police statement and the peculiar facts of the man's murder.
  21. ^ Sherrer, Hans (2013-01-01). "53,000 Copies Of "Kirstin Blaise Lobato's Unreasonable Conviction" Downloaded From Justice Denied's Website". Justice Denied. Archived from the original on 2015-02-13. Retrieved 2015-03-19. More than 53,000 copies of the book Kirstin Blaise Lobato's Unreasonable Conviction — Possibility of Guilt Replaces Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt have been downloaded at no charge from Justice Denied's website.*
  22. ^ Smith, Jordan (2015-03-12). "Nightmare in Sin City: How a Rumor Sent a Teen to Prison for Murder in Vegas". The Intercept. First Look Media. Archived from the original on 2015-03-13. Retrieved 2015-03-19. But, Ravell and Moore point out, if there was one person in town who might have had a reason to harm Bailey as brutally as the prosecutors have insisted Lobato did, it was D---- P----, the woman who approached the police line on the morning of July 9. Bailey had allegedly raped her exactly one week before he was murdered, giving P----, or one of the neighbors who witnessed her troubling encounters with Bailey, a clear motive. While the report on P----’s rape was in the hands of police, it was never taken seriously by the state.
  23. ^ Knapp, George (2013-02-13). "George Knapp: Judge Vega says she's sorry". Las Vegas CityLife. Las Vegas, NV. Archived from the original on 2015-01-27. Retrieved 2015-03-20. In all likelihood, it means she will never be able to win re-election, even if she chose to run again in 2014.
  24. ^ a b McCabe, Francis (2013-07-15). "Judge Vega won't seek re-election". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas, NV. Archived from the original on 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2015-03-20. Earlier this year, the judge agreed to a public reprimand by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline for putting her personal schedule ahead of a murder trial.
  25. ^ State Bar of NV (2013-07-17). "Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Valorie Vega will not Seek Re-Election". nvbar.org. State Bar of Nevada. Archived from the original on 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2015-03-20. Judge Valorie Vega has recently said she will not seek re-election prior to her term expiring in January 2015 and instead will let an open election take place.
  26. ^ "LOBATO (KIRSTIN) VS. STATE 58913 (LCC Clark Co. - Eighth Judicial District - C177394)". Archived from the original on 2014-09-13. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  27. ^ Smith, Jordan. "LAS VEGAS PENIS MURDER CONVICTION OVERTURNED". The Intercept. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  28. ^ https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/courts/judge-tosses-case-against-kirstin-lobato-orders-her-freed/
  29. ^ http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/37175158/kirstin-blaise-lobato-to-be-held-for-additional-year-behind-bars
  30. ^ https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/courts/clark-county-judge-orders-immediate-release-for-kirstin-lobato/
  31. ^ http://justicedenied.org/wordpress/archives/4135
  32. ^ http://justicedenied.org/wordpress/archives/4135

External links[edit]