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8.19.2005

Location, Location, Location 

In late May of 2001, Kirstin Blaise Lobato (nicknamed "Blaze") defended herself from an would-be rapist by slashing at his groin. A little over than a month later, a homeless man named Duran Bailey was killed on or about July 8th, 2001. Among the many injuries contributing to his death was the severing of his member. That injury drew police to Kirstin, who was arrested for Bailey's very brutal murder based on her conversations about the May attack. She was eventually convicted of killing Bailey, despite overwhelming evidence of her innocence, and was sentenced to 40-100 years in prison at the age of 19.

One of the major aspects of this case is the consistent description of where these attacks occurred. When she was arrested, Kirstin told the police what was around her, what she saw, and that sort of thing. Everything in her description matches where she was living at the time, at a Budget Suite motel (4855 Boulder Highway in Las Vegas). Duran Bailey, on the other hand, was killed at the address of 4240 W Flamingo Rd.

In the transcript of Kirstin's statement to the police, one finds her description of the location:

Question: And when you said this struggle occurred, where did it first happen at, in the proximity of the parking lot?
Answer: Um, from Boulder Highway if you’re looking at it from Boulder Highway, like from where the shopping center is across the street say, right over here in the parking lot...Like right around from the fountain, it’s right in front there.
Q: And you are pointing to the left of the fountain?
A: Yeah, on the side…
Q: As you’re facing it from Boulder Highway?
A: Yeah…


Although distance has little to do with anything because these two events happened on different days, you can click here for a map. You can see that the two locations are all the way across Las Vegas from one another.

Now, if you did click on the map, red is where the attack on Kirstin took place, in the parking lot of the Budget Suites motel. The major road running diagonal northwest-southeast is Boulder Highway. You can see it does not come close to the green marker, which is where Duran Bailey was killed inside a gated enclosure used for dumpsters. That space has no roof or ceiling, no fountains, and no shopping centers in sight.

Kirstin also made reference to her attack happening in an enclosed space after the police arrested her. She referred to it many times in court as "a cave" next to where she was attacked. The arresting officer told the court that she noted the 10x10 foot cell they took her to take pictures to looked similar to the place next to where the attack had happened. Except the place of that attack looked smaller, and she could see an parking awning above her. The Budget Suites motel has parking awnings. The Nevada State Bank where Bailey was killed does too.

Now as for the cave and fountain both. Let's look at what is at the Budget Suites (my apologies for the poor quality).





The fountain in this is not easy to see because of the quality, but this is a copy of the actual picture used in court for the following line of questioning:

Q: What does this picture depict?
A: That is the cave and one side of the fountain. And there's a hole right in the center of the cave where more water flows down.
Q: There is some -- what am I pointing to right there (indicating), can you see?
A: That's one of the fountains.
Q: Is that water cascading down?
A: Yes, it is.

There's another picture of the parking awning next to this "cave" but it is far too large and of poor quality to bother putting up. And an Albertsons store (from the supermarket chain) is right across the way.

Now, on the other side of that tunnel is the section of the Budget Suites where the room Kirstin was staying in at the time could be found. She had two ways to go to that room from the motel parking lot: "You can walk through the fountain or you can walk around the sidewalk," she told the court.

Two ways to go. Now, Kirstin told a woman named Dixie about the attack. Dixie told the police this in her statement when they asked: "Did she say where this happened?"

"…I just know that she said that it was dark and I got the idea that it was between buildings or in an alley or something of that sort."

And later...

"I got the impression that she was taking a shortcut…I know that she made a reference to a shortcut."

So, let's check our scoreboard.

Budget Suites has: a fountain/waterfall, parking awnings, Boulder Highway, a shopping center across the road, and an enclosed space that also happens to be a shortcut to Kirstin's apartment.

Nevada State Bank has: a gated enclosure and parking awning.



8.18.2005

The "Star Witness" - Part One 


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:

http://forejustice.org/wc/lobato/Lobato_v_State,_96_P.3d_765_(Nev._09-03-2004).htm

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.


The "Star Witness" - Part Two 

Speaking of lies, let’s see what Martin told the court about what Kirstin said to her:

- That Kirstin admitted cutting a man’s penis off and stuffing it down his throat. (Martin offered this information twice, both times without prompting by either side).
- That Kirstin worried about blood being in her car.
- That Kirstin had hit the man in his face and his teeth had come out.
- That Kirstin had picked the victim up on West Flamingo to get meth.
- That Kirstin referred to him as Darren (his real name is Duran Bailey).
- That Kirstin admitted stabbing the victim in his anus.
- That Kirstin was going to try and say that the victim tried to rape her.
- That Kirstin said the man’s pants were on when she killed him.
- That Kirstin said she went to her boyfriend or ex boyfriend’s afterward
- That Kirstin hit the victim in the car.

There are three factual items in that whole list that are not true according to every reconstruction of the crime scene. While Kirstin was not even present at the time (and could not have been, according to multiple witness testimonies), no evidence shows that he was harmed in her car or any car, nor that his member was ever put down his throat (it was not), and he was found with his pants down, not up. The rest of this information - including the facts about his pants - can be found in an article on July 25th, 2001 from the Las Vegas Review Journal (CUT RESULT OF AN ATTACK, TEEN SAYS). I’d link it but the search feature on http://www.reviewjournal.com/ only returns errors on the advanced search for that day. However, I have read the article, and can provide a scan of it on request.

Let’s be clear about what I am saying: every item that Martin got right was in the newspaper article or logically follows from the details in that article. Every item Martin asserted which was not supported by factual evidence was not to be found in any article, except for whether his pants were up or down. But someone could certainly vividly imagine these things might have happened even if the newspaper didn’t mention it.

But Martin denied reading any newspaper article, several times. And she called the detectives in charge of the case on August 1st, a week after that article (and several other articles detailing other facts) came out. Why did she make that call? She says because she “didn’t feel that [what she says Kirstin told her] was right”. That was the only reason she could give, and she was asked a couple of times. It must have been mere coincidence that this information fell into her oh-so-humanitarian lap at the same time she was throwing every option she possibly had on the table for her freedom. She was just following her conscience.

Yeah. Okay. Calling all skeptics.

Ahh, but she did keep a journal of their conversations, she says. But what happened to it? It was destroyed by the correctional center when she was transferred to another facility, she says, four months after she wrote it and four months after she talked to the police (and who apparently never asked to see it). And why was this potential evidence inconveniently destroyed when she was being transferred from a holding facility to prison? Well, she was asked in court, and said:

“You can only take personal letters, photos, and legal documents with you. The stuff my journal was on was the back of a notepad, the cardboard and they wouldn’t let me take none of that with me.”

So, the correctional center would not let her take anything other than letters, photos, and legal documents along. Funny, that’s not what they seem to think their policy is.

Here’s the important stuff regarding transfer of property between facilities:

711.01; 1.3.1: “All personal property within the limitations given by this regulation will be sent with the inmate.”

Section 711.08 details authorized inmate personal property. Read over it if you like, but it is a long and somewhat ambiguous list. There’s really no reason to think that her property would not have counted as “personal equipment” obtainable within the facility itself. Should we believe that they allow magazines, letters, and legal documents, not to mention a host of appliances and CDs and such, but not a single notepad which may serve as evidence in a later trial?

The long and short of it is that this inmate provided the only non-circumstantial evidence that connected Kirstin to the man who was killed – which is required for a verdict of guilty in a case that needs reasonable doubt. Martin is a self-serving and manipulative liar, and in her efforts to escape her incarceration, she gambled on leniency using the currency of another woman’s life and freedom. Recognizing that, the court has rightfully reopened Kirstin’s trial.

Please visit Kirstin Lobato’s website and forum. This is not over yet, and she could use all the support and help she can get. Really.


8.16.2005

Visit the Message Board 

Here:

http://www.justice4kirstin.com/phpBB/index.php


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