Petition Urges DNA Testing in Manslaughter Case

LAS VEGAS - She's a convicted killer, sitting in prison for a gruesome crime, but friends of Kirstin Lobato say she's innocent. They're demanding DNA testing and pressuring District Attorney Steve Wolfson to allow crime scene evidence to get tested.

Lobato has spent ten years in state prison, convicted of killing homeless man Duran Bailey in Las Vegas. Prosecutors say a drug deal went bad and Lobato cut Bailey's genitals and left his body in a dumpster.

Her 2002 murder conviction was thrown out, but Lobato was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in 2006.

Michelle Ravell became friends with Lobato just before the murder and is convinced forensic science can free Lobato.

"I cannot believe that after all this time, they still believe she's guilty," Ravell said.

More than 126,000 people have signed Ravell's online petition which urges Wolfson to allow DNA testing.

"These are things that were not just left by somebody throwing away trash, they were things on his body, in his body," Ravell said. "These are things that would have come from the real killer."

The Innocence Project says it will pay to test 13 pieces of evidence connected with the crime, but prosecutors say this tactic was already tried more than a year ago.

"The judge looked at all the evidence in the case and said, ‘No,'" said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Owens. "There's no reasonable possibility that any of the evidence in this case, if it were tested for DNA, could result in an exoneration of Kirstin Lobato, and then they took that up on appeal, and it was denied on appeal as well."

Owens says Lobato also admitted to the crime.

"This is not a DNA case. It's a confession case. Kirstin Lobato confessed to murder," he said. "She admitted to unique circumstances and facts that tie her, link her, to this murder."

"There is nothing in her statement that confesses to this murder, nothing," Ravell countered. "They have it in their head. That's what they want to believe."

Lobato's supporters maintain she was actually telling police about an unrelated attack that took place two months earlier and eight miles away. They also say she was in Panaca when the murder took place. Prosecutors think she had time to drive to Lincoln County.

The petition will be presented to the district attorney next week.


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