ON DECEMBER 29, more than a decade after she was first sent to prison in Nevada for a murder she did not commit, Kirstin Blaise Lobato saw the charges against her dismissed. “It is the end to her nearly 17-year nightmare,” said Vanessa Potkin, director of post-conviction litigation for the Innocence Project, which took on Lobato’s case. “It’s over.”
Lobato was twice convicted of the gruesome murder of a 44-year-old homeless man named Duran Bailey, whose body was found behind a dumpster off the Las Vegas Strip just after 10 p.m. on July 8, 2001, covered in a thin layer of trash. Bailey’s teeth had been knocked out and his eyes were bloodied and swollen shut; his carotid artery had been slashed, his rectum stabbed, and his penis amputated. It was found among the trash nearby.
Despite a crime scene rich with potential evidence, Las Vegas detectives Thomas Thowsen and James LaRochelle ignored obvious leads and instead focused their investigation on 18-year-old Lobato, based solely on a third-hand rumor. Read more >>