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New hearing ordered for Kirstin Lobato, convicted of brutally killing a homeless man

Kristin Blaise Lobato (Photo By: Michelle Ravell)

A woman convicted of killing a homeless man in 2001 is getting an evidentiary hearing in front of a new judge. Lobato appealed her conviction on charges of manslaughter and sexual penetration of a dead body. The Nevada Supreme court ordered the new hearing in a unanimous decision.

Kirstin "Blaise" Lobato told police a man tried to sexually assault her near Boulder Highway in 2001 and to defend herself, she pulled out a knife and cut him in the groin. In July of that year, 44-year-old Duran Bailey was found dead across town.

According to police, Bailey was left behind a trash bin near what's now the Palms casino. Officers found his mutilated body covered with debris. No knife or sharp weapon was discovered at the crime scene but police eventually recovered incriminating statements they say were made by Lobato.

RELATED | Death in the Desert: 15 years later, a conviction turns into a desperate plea for freedom


POLICE RECORDING


LOBATO: "I figured no one would know, no one was around. I figured nobody would care if I just drove off. I didn't think anybody would miss somebody like that."

Lobato's tearful words were described as a confession and prosecutors used that interview, along with other evidence to convict her - twice. Once in 2002 and again after a retrial in 2006.

Now, the Supreme Court is questioning whether Lobato's legal counsel did the right thing in not hiring an expert witness to pinpoint the time of death. The court believes time of death is crucial because Lobato claims she was in Panaca at midday and early evening on July 8, 2001. According to the appeal, Lobato believes her counsel's performance was deficient and resulted in prejudice.


LACK OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE


In addition, the appeal also makes mention of the lack of physical evidence in the crime. "Because the jury received no physical evidence linking Lobato to the victim's murder, it seems likely that Lobato's statements to the detective and others had the greatest influence on the jury's verdict."

The court is also allowing for the evidentiary hearing based on grounds that the court believes should have been given more than a quick denial by her trial court judge, Judge Valorie Vega.

Among the grounds cited by the court:

  • New forensic entomology evidence that Duran Bailey’s time of death in Las Vegas was after sunset on July 8, 2001, when the Petitioner was 170 miles away in Panaca, Nevada.
  • New forensic pathology evidence that more than one person was involved in Duran Bailey’s murder, and it excludes the Petitioner.
  • New forensic pathology evidence that on July 8, 2001, Bailey experienced two attacks two hours apart and likely separated by a meal

To read the full Nevada Supreme Court order, scroll through the PDF below:

Kirstin Blaise Lobato NV Supreme Court Order by Anonymous zKUNzIj on Scribd


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