(LAS VEGAS CBS KXNT) Friends and family have always maintained Kirstin Lobato was wrongly convicted in the 2001 killing and sexual mutilation of a homeless man. Now the case is drawing international attention, after supporters launched an online petition drive yielding nearly 120 thousand signatures.
Members of Justice 4 Kirstin will deliver the petition to the Clark County District Attorney’s office on July 2, asking current District Attorney Howard Wolfson to set aside his predecessor’s formal objection to a new round of DNA testing on crime scene evidence.
The Innocence Project has come forward to pay for the tests. Injustice Anywhere, an organization that pushed for the release American college student Amanda Knox from an Italian prison, has also taken up Lobato’s cause.
Lobato, now 29, is incarcerated at the Southern Nevada Women’s Correctional Center. Her DNA was not present at the crime scene.
Supporters say further tests on evidence from the crime scene would prove others were present. The body was discovered adjacent to a trash dumpster outside a commercial building. At a hearing last year where Lobato’s attorney requested testing on evidence gathered there, the District Attorney’s office objected, noting that it stands to reason DNA from many different people would be present near a trash dumpster.
Justice advocates have performed significant research about the criminal investigation, and point to witnesses who saw Lobato in her home town of Panaca, 170 miles away from the scene of the murder, within a time frame that precludes her involvement.
It’s also unclear how Lobato might have contributed to the introduction of semen into the victim’s rectal cavity.
Police became interested in Lobato as a suspect after hearing she’d told friends that she cut the penis of a man who tried to rape her during a visit to Las Vegas in May of 2001. The penis of the murder victim, Duran Bailey, had been slashed. The killing occurred in July of 2001, creating a questionable chronology.