Update 2017: The case was dismissed December 29, 2017
Update 2014: The Nevada Supreme Court has granted a motion to allow for a continuance for the oral arguments requested in Kirstin Lobato's case scheduled for September 9, 2014
Update 2011: Habeas Corpus petition filed on May 5, 2010
My apologies to the hard-working people on Kirstin Lobato's defence team. I asked for an update I could publish on injusticebusters and then missed the e-mail when it was sent several weeks ago.
This is an "update" up to August 31! Court TV was said to be covering the trial but could not get enough stations to pick it up so they sent their resources elsewhere.
I have been aware of your site for some time now. You do not know me nor of me. You know of my cause and the cause of the people working with me.
It is the cause of a young woman named Kirstin Blaise Lobato, of Panaca, Nevada. A tale of a woman who has suffered many injustices in her life and who, in a few short weeks, will have the chance to put the biggest injustice behind her.
I became involved a little more than a year ago now. The fact that this can happen in our country disgusts me, and I know it is not an uncommon occurrence, as evidenced by the many stories on this site, from Canada and the US. But I felt a personal pull to this case and offered my help. In the course of this year, I have come to know some of the key people and have talked to Kirstin herself. I know the truth, and it is my sincere hope, within one month's time, the whole country will know the truth.
I was asked to give an update on the case up to this point. I am not sure where to start. Although I have only involved only since August of last year, I am well aware, through transcripts and newspaper articles, of key dates in the case leading up to this point.
19 year old Kirstin Lobato was convicted early on the morning of May 18, 2002, for murder in the first degree, and sexual penetration of a dead human body. The conviction came despite ZERO physical or forensics evidence to tie her to the scene. It came with alibi witnesses and phone records and drug tests that proved she was not in Las Vegas, where the murder occurred, but in Panaca, some 170 miles away, at the time of the incident. It came despite the facts that no one could tie her to the victim and that there were a good 3 or 4 other suspects that were never checked out, and that bodily injury to the murder victim could have implicated these people.
It came solely because the lead prosecutor, Bill Kephart, put on the performance of his life in closing arguments. It came because he and his co-counsel, Sandra DiGiacomo, managed to block key forensic and alibi witnesses that would have exonerated Kirstin. It came because they also had a "star" witness named Korinda Martin, a jailhouse snitch who Kirstin's lawyer proved was lying on the witness stand, but the jury never heard that.
On August 27th, 2002, Kirstin was sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison.
On March 11th, 2004, Kirstin's Case was heard before the Nevada Supreme Court on appeal.
On September 3rd, 2004, Kirstin's conviction was overturned, based on the judge not allowing Korinda Martin to be impeached about a fraud she committed upon her own sentencing court (and perjury in Kirstin's case).
On October 28th 2004, Kirstin's bail was set at $500,000, which is TEN TIMES the bail set before the original trial.
In January 2005, new lawyers, Shari Greenberger and Sara Zalkin of Pier 5 Law, (an office they share with Tony Serra, considered to be one of the top 10 attorneys in the country) joined David Schieck of the Special Public Defenders office. They are working pro-bono (although their expenses have been paid by supporters who believe in Kirstin's innocence). A new trial date was set for November 7, 2005.
In October 2005, the defense filed its witness list at the predetermined 3-week cutoff before the scheduled November 7 trial. Unknown to us at the time, the prosecution was seeking a continuance because of an illness to the judge in the case. So the prosecution never had to file their list.
On November 3, 2005, at calendar call, the Thursday before the trial was to begin, the judge set a new trial date for April 17, 2006.
Over the next month, outraged at the delay and sick of seeing Blaise suffer behind bars any longer, friends and family managed to raise her bail. Despite delays (due to the bondsman being out of the country and the Nevada Attorney General stalling on paperwork), Kirstin was FINALLY released on bail on December 2, 2005.
Over the next few months, many pre-trial motions and oppositions were sent. Kirstin's trial was now slated to start on April 17, 2006, but complications arose when Kirstin's case overlapped with another one Shari and Sara were on. So the trial was put back again, this time set for September 11, 2006.
On May 19, 2006, A pretrial hearing to settle in limine motions for the trial was heard. Most of the defense motions were dismissed, but a few were carried over to be heard at later dates.
In July 2006 another hearing is held. Here the defense is granted portions of its motions regarding Korinda Martin and how they can impeach her in the new trial. New DNA tests on physical evidence were ordered to see if it matches anyone in the database (the evidence already excludes Kirstin).
On August 10 2006, a final hearing was held. Here the defense motion to dismiss based on lack of evidence other then Kirstin's statements was denied. Also, the prosecution took back the statement that the new DNA tests mentioned above were ordered, stretching the truth in doing so. The Judge, who refuses to take responsibility for making the right decision in this case, and dismissing the charges against Kirstin, will leave the taxpayers of Nevada to face the financial burden of this trial so the "jury can decide" a case without any physical evidence. Judge Vega is up for re-election in 2008.
So that is where we are up until this point. The calendar call for the case, with a motion to limit graphic autopsy photos, will be on September 7, 2006.
The trial itself will start the following Monday, September 11th. Please keep us in your thoughts. Most importantly, please keep Kirstin in your thoughts.
August 31, 2006
Court TV is covering this trial, where the prosecution is again running the same salacious story -- and the media is lapping it up.
LAS VEGAS - Before police ever asked Kirstin Blaise Lobato a single question about the mutilation and murder of a homeless man, she bowed her head and cried, saying, "I didn't think anyone would miss anybody like that."
The man Lobato thought no one would miss was 43-year-old Duran Bailey, prosecutor Bill Kephart told jurors during his opening statement in Lobato's trial Thursday.
The prosecutor alleges Lobato, who was then 18, encountered Bailey while she was on a three-day methamphetamine binge on July 8, 2001, when she ran out of drugs and money and attempted to exchange sex for drugs from Bailey.
When Lobato, now 23, realized Bailey didn't have any drugs, she pulled out a butterfly knife, cut off his penis and killed him with a combination of stabbings and blows to the head with a baseball bat, according to Kephart.
Bailey's injuries also included what the coroner determined was a postmortem stabbing to his anus.
After a thorough investigation of the crime scene, however, police had no suspects, Kephart said.
They had no leads until July 20, when officers received a phone call from a woman in Northern Nevada asking if the police have any ongoing cases with a severed penis involved.
The call came from Lobato's confidante and former teacher, who said Lobato came to her house "extremely upset about something she had done in Las Vegas."
Kephart said police officers drove to Lobato's parents' home in Panaca, Nev., about 160 miles north of Las Vegas, and questioned the teen about the incident.
Lobato told them Bailey was "an older smelly black man, a person who smelled like alcohol and dirty diapers" whom she was trying to keep out of her mind.
The prosecutor said Lobato was in her hometown for the Fourth of July celebration. But neighbors are expected to testify that, on July 5 and 6, Lobato fought with her mother about returning to Las Vegas.
Kephart contends Lobato drove to Las Vegas angry and looking for more methamphetamine when she came into contact with Bailey.
The prosecutor said several of Lobato's friends will testify that she would "do anything she could do to get her hands on meth."
Other witnesses will testify that Bailey was known as someone who traded sex for drugs.
But Kirstin Lobato's attorney, Shari Greenberger, told jurors that Lobato never met the victim and was "160 miles away in Panaca" when the killing occurred. The defense attorney said witnesses and phone records will support her alibi.
When Lobato was confiding in her former teacher and later talking to police, Greenberger said, she believed she was discussing a different incident weeks earlier in which she was sexually assaulted by another man.
The defense attorney contends the police took Lobato's story of being attacked and acting in self-defense and "twisted it into a confession" to the murder and mutilation of Bailey.
She also pointed to a lack of physical evidence, saying DNA on gum at the scene, a foreign pubic hair found on Bailey, bloody shoeprints and tire tracks have all been shown to have no connection to Lobato.
Greenberger also offered another possible suspect - a woman named Diane Parker.
Greenberger claims Parker was raped by Bailey one week before he was found dead, giving her or someone she knows a motive to kill him. Parker was at the crime scene and identified Bailey's body for police, Greenberger noted.
Lobato was convicted of first-degree murder and sexual penetration of a corpse on May 18, 2002, and later sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison.
In September 2004, however, the Nevada Supreme Court granted her a new trial, citing the trial judge's failure to admit evidence that could have weakened the credibility of a jailhouse informant.
Kirstin Lobato's retrial is being covered live by Court TV