Author's note: This entry was long enough to come in two parts. The second part is below. All emphasis added by me.
Kirstin Blaise Lobato, whose nickname is Blaze, has spent more than 3 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. That trial has been reopened, which means that she is now innocent until proven guilty once more. She is still incarcerated, however.
Both the reason she ended up being convicted and the reason her trial has been reopened are based upon one thing. Or, one person, rather. That person is a jailhouse informant named Korinda Martin.
This informant was the prosecution’s star witness, and the only thing in the prosecution’s case that was not circumstantial. Martin provided the only direct evidence to connect Kirstin to the crime. Not one scrap of forensic evidence did so. No other person’s testimony did so.
Just to be clear, I’m going to give an example of “direct” evidence versus “circumstantial” evidence. If I am having an omelet in a small restaurant and I see someone throw out an empty egg carton, I may presume that my omelet was made from eggs in that carton. It is logically implied, but I do not know for sure. That is circumstantial. If, on the other hand, I ask the cook if my omelet was made from eggs that came from that carton and he or she tells me yes, that is how my omelet came to be made, it would be direct evidence. The cook knows.
In this case, I may have no direct evidence other than the cook’s word. If so, that could make him the “star witness”, and it would be prudent to know if I could trust his word. In essence, this is how it went with Kirstin’s trial. Without Korinda Martin, there would be no direct evidence, because the rest was supposition.
Now, I have read some comments on this case to the effect of: “I have not seen enough evidence to prove her innocence, so I remain unconvinced”. I applaud that. But consider for a moment, you true skeptics: what do you trust more? Implied evidence, or hard or direct evidence? Because I will tell you, Korinda Martin is the only hard evidence the prosecution had. The rest of it was inferred. All of it. And hardcore skeptics usually find circumstantial evidence weak when compared to direct evidence. Especially when opposed to tangible or forensic evidence. The defense had plenty of that kind of evidence, but it did not get into trial because Kirstin's public defender did not submit it in a timely fashion. Yes, that is the actual reason that exclusionary forensic evidence was not allowed at trial, and never seen by the jury.
So, because Martin alone could provide this evidence for the prosecution, this jailhouse informant is worth scrutinizing closely. When that scrutiny came, after Blaze had been convicted, she was found to be unreliable indeed. Evidence of her perjury was kept from the jury during trial, and this is what the courts decided later when considering if her case should be reopened:
Among many other things (and I strongly encourage you to read this), we find that:
“Martin admitted to a prior robbery conviction. However, on cross-examination, she admitted to separate convictions for robbery and coercion. Martin also admitted that she had unsuccessfully attempted to secure her release from custody on several occasions via motions for bail, house arrest, release on her own recognizance, and bail reduction. She admitted that one of the motions was based upon a claim that she was pregnant and that the pregnancy was high risk. Martin stated that, while she would have done whatever was necessary to get out of jail, she would not lie, have someone lie for her, or assist someone to lie to a court.”
Right smack in the middle of trying all of the above methods to acquire her freedom, Martin called up the police and said Kirstin admitted the murder to her in jail, and that she would testify. In court she admitted that she asked for a letter from the District Attorney's office saying she had voluntarily cooperated in helping with the case (though nothing was promised). Also in the report linked above are findings of fact regarding Martin's perjury during Kirstin's trial, finding that she would lie to the court and had done so in the form of writing letters on her own behalf to a judge, while pretending to be someone else.
Martin's manipulative behavior is well known and documented, by the way. Even after this trial, she could not stay out of trouble. Check here or here for more on the current affairs (haha) of this “star witness”, her lies and how easily they are seen through (oh yeah, here too). They may take a while to load, being rather extensive documents, but one can clearly see how she keeps trying to deceive her way to the freedom and money she fantasizes about.