National News

Woman walks free after 16 years in prison

Posted January 4, 2018 1:15 p.m. EST

— A Nevada woman who was twice convicted of a 2001 murder and sexual mutilation of a homeless man has been ordered free from a Las Vegas jail.

A court spokeswoman says a judge ordered Kirstin Blaise Lobato released Wednesday after she was exonerated in the July 2001 slaying of Duran Bailey, last week.

"I don't think I can get those years back, all I can do is move forward," said Lobato as she sat down with 13 Action News just moments after she was released.

Lobato is now 35.

She was 18 when she was first arrested for Bailey's death. She was convicted twice for the murder, but eventually got a third trial.

Lawyers from the Innocence Project took on Lobato's case and were eventually able to prove her innocence to a Clark County judge December 29.

"It was the first time we had forensic evidence to prove, the time this person died was at a time when she could not have physically done this crime," said Innocence Project Attorney Jane Pucher. "That's the thing that cracked it."

Pucher along with the team at the Innocence Project believe Lobato was at her parent's home in Panaca, 150 miles from Las Vegas, when the crime occurred.

"I'm not asking anybody to just believe me, look at the evidence, read the documents to see what is really there and then form an opinion," Lobato said.

Lobato was greeted by friends, family and her lawyers as she walked out of jail Wednesday afternoon.

"There are 11 years worth of Christmas presents waiting waiting for her to finally have a chance to see them," said Michelle Ravell, Lobato's long time advocate.

"I'm excited and you know I get a brand new start," Lobato said.

Lobato had been moved last Friday to the CCDC from state prison, after she was exonerated. Before Wednesday, she was told she would be serving a one-year misdemeanor sentence in a 2007 prisoner sexual contact case.