I-Team: Motions Denied for Woman Who Claims Wrongful Conviction

LAS VEGAS -- A woman who claims she was wrongly convicted of the murder and sexual mutilation of a homeless man spent a disappointing morning in court. Judge Valorie Vega denied Kirstin "Blaise" Lobato's request to test and re-test physical evidence that she believes may help to prove her innocence.

Jurors convicted Lobato twice for the murder and sexual mutilation of Duran Bailey, first in 2002 and again in 2006, despite a lack of physical evidence tying her to the crime scene. Yet as Lobato fights to have her conviction overturned, she believes that same physical evidence may help her to find the "real killers." She has even convinced the Innocence Project in New York to do the testing.

Thursday she learned those tests are not going to happen, at least not now.

After nearly 10 years of experience with the legal system, Lobato comes to court without expectations. Though the issues before the court this day are largely procedural, one motion offers Lobato a glimmer of fresh hope: a request to allow the Innocence Project, run by famed defense attorney Barry Scheck, to test and re-test 13 pieces of physical evidence related to the crime.

In a letter to the court, Scheck argues modern DNA testing techniques not previously available could identify the real killer.

"If they find somebody else's blood at the scene that's not Duran Bailey's and it's not hers, it's a slam dunk that she was not the perpetrator. So it's really critical," said Lobato's attorney Travis Barrick.

Prosecutor Tyler Smith argues the request is premature. Before Lobato can present new evidence, she must first convince the court she was unlawfully convicted, a legal term known as habeas corpus.

"The statute is clear that after the writ is granted, and a date set for hearing, then discovery becomes available to the defendant in this case," said Smith.

Judge Vega agreed, denying Lobato's motion. It was an outcome not entirely unexpected to Lobato or her attorney.

"She's not clinging to any sort of result and, quite frankly, is eager to be beyond Judge Vega's courtroom," said Barrick.

Lobato's case has been before Judge Vega since 2001.

The hearing was not all bad news for Lobato and her supporters. Judge Vega set a date to hear Lobato's habeas petition -- her list of 79 issues that Lobato believes entitle her to be released. Judge Vega is not obligated to hear arguments on the matter. She could have decided them entirely on the legal briefs.


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Community Calendar
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Connect with 8 News NOW
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Deadly Dust: Asbestos
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Community Pride
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Politics Now
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News