Tag Archives: DNA testing

Kirstin Blaise Lobato Freed After 15 Years in Prison for Las Vegas Murder Prosecutors Knew She Couldn’t Have Committed

Wrongful Murder Conviction Overturned Kirstin Blaise Lobato

In spite of evidence of her innocence, the Clark County DA’s Office did everything they could to prevent Kirstin Blaise Lobato from being freed after over 15 years in prison for a murder she didn’t commit.

After spending her entire adult life in prison for a murder she didn’t commit, a Las Vegas woman has finally been released. Kristin Blaise Lobato spent over 15 years behind bars in spite of evidence that she was over 150 miles away at the time the killing took place. However, she was finally able to walk out of the Clark County Detention Center a free woman for the first time since she was 18 years old on January 3rd.

Meanwhile, even after a judge had declared her innocent and ordered her release, prosecutors with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office refused to acknowledge the improprieties carried out during her trial(s). In fact, they even briefly had plans to force her to spend another year in the county jail for having been caught having sex with another inmate during the time that she was wrongfully imprisoned.

Fortunately, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez also dismissed that case, instead ruling that the time she had already spent in prison for a crime she didn’t commit was sufficient punishment for that as well and giving her credit for time served. Judge Gonzalez then ordered that Lobato be released from custody immediately.

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District Attorney Steve Wolfson and Chief Deputy District Attorney Sandra DiGiacomo have attempted to justify their efforts to keep an innocent woman in prison by contending that the fact she was found guilty at trial by two juries means she is. However, the case against Lobato was very much flawed from the start and those verdicts were more a product of what was kept from the juries than the strength of the evidence actually presented to them.

Kirstin Blaise Lobato Released From Prison

There was virtually no physical evidence tying Lobato to the murder of Duran Bailey, a homeless man who was found beaten to death and castrated in a Downtown Las Vegas dumpster in 2001. The only real justification for her to even be a suspect was a story that she told to several people that she had fended off a rape attempt by cutting her attacker’s penis with a knife.

She had told that story weeks prior to the murder, though, and had identified the location where that incident happened as a different area of town. In spite of that, police investigators characterized her description of stabbing a man attempting to sexually assault her in the groin during an interrogation as a confession of Bailey’s murder.

More importantly, Lobato was positively verified to have been at her parents’ house in Panaca, Nevada, nearly 200 miles from Las Vegas on July 8, when Bailey was murdered. Based on that and other inconsistencies in the physical evidence, experts brought in by her defense attorneys testified that it would have been impossible for her to have carried out the murder.

However, that testimony was suppressed by Judge Valorie Vega during the original trial. Meanwhile, the prosecution was allowed to present a expert witnesses that made the ridiculous claim that flies in Las Vegas act completely different than flies anywhere else in the world do.

In addition, the district attorney’s office actively fought to prevent additional DNA testing on the physical evidence recovered at the scene, even after the Innocence Project offered to pay any costs involved. All previous DNA testing had excluded Lobato and, due to the violent method of Bailey’s death, it’s unlikely the person who murdered him could have done so without leaving their own DNA behind (such evidence from an unknown source was in fact found).

Of course, if Lobato was guilty those tests would more than likely definitively prove she was present at the crime scene. So realistically the district attorneys should have had their own incentive to cooperate with the DNA tests.

Regardless of that, Judge Vega ruled against allowing the testing. Shortly after, Vega chose not to run for reelection following an (unrelated) official reprimand against her by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. In what’s probably not a coincidence, almost exactly three years after Judge Vega left the bench Kristin Blaise Lobato walked out of the front door of the Clark County Detention Center.

Background on the Case and False Convictions

Not Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and his underlings at the DA’s office have gone to great lengths to keep someone who was obviously innocent in prison. Not too long ago, I reported on the case of Demarlo Berry, who was falsely convicted of murder based on testimony from a witness that was coached and paid off by detectives from the LVMPD.

Not only were the prosecutors in the case complicit in manufacturing evidence against Berry, they also delayed his release for four years after that witness recanted his testimony and the real murderer had confessed. Then, once they finally realized that they couldn’t prevent his release, they portrayed it as if they were responsible for freeing him.

In another case, Fred Steese was issued a pardon last month in order to clear his record of a murder he was falsely convicted of and spent twenty-one years in prison for after he was beaten and coerced into confessing. Prosecutors also hid evidence that definitively proved he was in another state at the time and photo lineup results that pointed to his innocence.

Instead of releasing him after he was declared “actually innocent” by a judge, they threatened to refile the charges and drag out the process coercing Steese into accepting a plea deal for second degree murder to ensure he wouldn’t have to stay in prison for years while fighting those new charges.

Numerous other convictions in Clark County have been overturned recently, including several death penalty cases, due to racial discrimination by prosecutors during jury selection. Obviously, for Wolfson and his prosecutors the important issue isn’t guilt or innocence, but rather simply whether they can get a conviction, even if it they know it’s a false conviction.

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Did Ex-Cop/Lawyer Help Frame Former Alabama Football Player for Murder?

This is a repost of an article originally published on the South East Alabama Cop Block website, which discusses some of the improprieties and possible misconduct by members of the Barbour County “justice” system. This involves the case of Will Dickerson, a former University of Alabama football player, who has been accused of murdering a man named Willie Pugh during a robbery.

Included in those who are alleged to have acted inappropriately and possibly even engaged in an outright framing of Dickerson, are the District attorney prosecuting the case, Ben Reeves, as well as Jeff Compton, a former cop now practicing as a defense attorney, who previously represented Dickerson. It was received via the Cop Block Submissions page.

Full story at Rickeystokesnews.com here, here and updated here.

willWill Dickerson (pictured left), former University of Alabama football player and personal friend of this author, has been in the Barbour County jail awaiting trial for murder since January of 2012. However, new information has come to light that may indicate his previous attorney Jeff Compton (pictured below), who is a former police officer, conspired with other unnamed police and government officials to hide evidence from Dickerson that would have long ago cleared him of all charges.

In the above linked article, Rickeystokesnews.com reporter, Jon Carroll, states “In confidence, members of the court system and law enforcement who feel justice is not being served have confirmed this and been willing to share multiple examples of the evidence.” indicating a large cover up. This alleged conspiracy also represents an obvious unwillingness on the part of court officials and police to uphold their oaths and bring the alleged conspirators to justice in any official capacity. Possibly indicating yet another case of the government showing preferential treatment to it’s own.

Dickerson’s trial is scheduled for February 2nd of this year. South East Alabama Cop Block will be present at the trial as much as possible in order to report any events allowed by the court for public dissemination.

UPDATE: According to Jon Carroll on Rickeystokesnews.com, the trial has been moved up to April and will be held in Russell County. After numerous complaints against Barbour County District Attorney Ben Reeves he has been summoned to the State Attorney General’s office. Mr. Carroll also quotes a “A long term law enforcement official we trust deeply” as saying:

“the district attorney is being pressured by Barbour county’s largest narcotics network to not identify the actual individuals who robbed and murdered Willie Pugh. Blood DNA of those individuals who actually murdered Pugh are in his possession. The State of Alabama has tested this evidence and confirmed it is not Pugh or Dickersons.” 

Mr. Carroll also posted this video:

This knowledge, if true, proves that local police and other officials who have taken oaths as public servants are either complicit in the cover up or at the very least are failing to arrest Mr. Reeves and Mr. Compton even though they KNOW they are breaking the law.

Remember, bad cops are bad. “Good” cops who look the other way or fail to enforce the law on their co-workers are WORSE!

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