Of Guilt Replaces
Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt
Las Vegas Detectives, Prosecutors And Judge Orchestrate Kirstin Blaise
Lobato’s Serial Rape By The Legal System
By Hans Sherrer
, Issue 34, Fall 2006, pp. 24-34
On the hot, arid evening of Sunday, July 8, 2001, a man was
‘dumpster diving’ in a trash enclosure several
blocks west of the Las Vegas strip. Around twilight he lifted a trash
covered piece of cardboard next to the dumpster and saw a
man’s torso. He called 911.
at crime scene
The first police officers arrived at 10:36 p.m. One of the officers
went inside the trash enclosure and saw a human foot exposed with the
rest of the person’s body buried under a pile of trash. He
also saw still moist bloody shoeprints leading away from the body
toward the trash enclosure’s opening.
After medical personnel arrived, one of them lifted the trash covered
cardboard and determined the body was that of a dead man.
Several crime scene analysts arrived and they began systematically
removing piece by piece the large number of trash items covering the
body. Only a few items were collected as evidence, while the rest of
the evidence was discarded. When the body was fully uncovered it was
apparent that the man had many wounds, including an amputated penis.
It appeared that the man had been living in the trash enclosure.
It wasn’t until 3:50 a.m. on Monday the 9th, that the
coroner’s investigator examined the body at the scene. At 8
p.m. that night the FBI identified the dead man as Duran Bailey from
When the man who found Bailey’s body was questioned, he said
he hadn’t stepped in Bailey’s blood, which was
completely covered by trash. His shoes were examined and there was no
blood on their soles.
Bailey’s cause of death was “blunt head
Clark County Chief Medical Examiner Lary Simms performed
Bailey’s autopsy. He found that while alive, Bailey
experienced a plethora of serious injuries to his neck, face, head and
upper body, including defensive wounds to his arms and right hand.
Simms also determined that following Bailey’s death he was
stabbed several times in his abdomen, his penis was severed at its
base, and his anus area was stabbed and sliced. Simms determined
Bailey’s cause of death was “blunt head
trauma,” and “a significant contributing condition
was multiple stab and incised wounds,” including a severed
carotid artery. 1
A month after Bailey’s autopsy, Simms expressed his opinion
during a preliminary hearing for the person charged with
Bailey’s murder that it was “more likely than
not” his death occurred within 12 hours from when the first
officer arrived at the scene – or no earlier than 10:36 a.m.
on Sunday, July 8. 2
Las Vegas Metro PD (LVMPD) Homicide Detectives Thomas Thowsen and Jim
LaRochelle were assigned to investigate the case.
Thowsen and LaRochelle immediately had a prime suspect. While the crime
scene was still being processed on the morning of July 9, a woman named
Diann Parker approached one of the police officers and told him,
‘I might know who that guy is. I was the victim of a rape a
week ago and that might be the guy that did it.’ The
information was relayed to the detectives.
The detectives went to Parker’s apartment on the 9th to
informally question her. She told them that Bailey and her were
acquaintances, and that she had on occasion exchanged sex with him for
crack cocaine that he bought.
During their conversation Parker said that several
“Mexican” men in her apartment complex saw Bailey
slap and threaten her on July 1 while she was drinking beer with them.
The Mexicans talked with Bailey and told him to leave Parker alone.
When she left, they were “watching” to make sure
she got back to her apartment safely. Later that day Bailey returned.
He became enraged when she told him she didn’t want anything
more to do with him. After forcing his way into her apartment he beat
and kicked her, and raped and tried to sodomize her while holding a
knife to her neck and throat and threatening to kill her.
Afraid to go to the police because of Bailey’s threats, she
did call 911 three days later when he returned and tried to break into
She told the officer who responded that reporting Bailey’s
assault and rape of her was going “to get me
killed.” She also told the police, “If you all
don’t catch him, I will be dead.” 3
When she asked
the officer for protection he told her, “you got to do what
you got to do to protect yourself the best you can.” 4
was reluctant to give him too much information about the Mexicans
because she thought they could have been in the country illegally.
Parker also told the officer the homeless Bailey “stayed
behind the … Nevada State Bank” at
“Flamingo and Arville.” That is where
Bailey’s body was found three days later.
Parker told Thowsen the two apartment numbers where the Mexicans lived.
He talked with the apartment complex’s manager and learned
the names they used to rent the apartments. The manager also told
Thowsen they didn’t cause any trouble. Thowsen ran a criminal
background check on the names. No record showed up for any of them so
he did not interview the Mexicans.
Thowsen and LaRochelle not only knew that Parker had a significant
motive to want to see Bailey harmed or killed, but the photographs of
her extensive injuries from the beating Bailey inflicted and his knife
wielding were eerily similar to the wounds about Bailey’s
face and neck. Bailey even cut her neck with the knife near her carotid
artery, just as he was cut days later by his murderer(s).
In spite of the strong circumstantial evidence suggesting Parker and/or
the Mexicans may have been were involved in Bailey’s murder,
the detectives didn’t pursue investigating them by
interrogations or obtaining warrants to search their apartments and
vehicles to look for the murder weapon(s), bloody shoes or clothing, or
any other possibly incriminating physical evidence that could link them
to the crime.
When asked later why on July 9 he didn’t interview the
Mexicans after talking with Parker, Thowsen said words to the effect,
‘It was a long day and we were getting tired and at some
point you just have to call it a day.’
Johnson provides detective
with “third-hand” tip about Las Vegas stabbing
On July 20, twelve days after Bailey’s death, Thowsen
received a phone call from Laura Johnson, the juvenile probation
officer for Lincoln County, Nevada. Johnson’s office was in
the county seat of Pioche – more than 170 miles north of Las
Vegas. Johnson informed Thowsen that Dixie Tienken, a Lincoln County
teacher, told her that a former student of Dixie’s told Dixie
that she had cut off the penis of a man who attacked her in Las Vegas.
Johnson told Thowsen that the young woman’s name was Kirstin
Blaise Lobato, and she was living with her parents in Panaca, a small
town about ten miles southeast of Pioche. (Kirstin goes by, and is
known by her middle name, so this article will refer to her as
“Blaise”.) Johnson also told Thowsen she checked
and learned that Blaise owned a red 1984 Pontiac Fiero with a custom
license plate. She also said she had a Lincoln County sheriff deputy
drive by the home of Blaise’s parents and her car was parked
in front on the public street.
Thowsen ran a background check on Blaise after talking with Johnson. He
learned she was 18, and when she was 6-years-old her mother’s
boyfriend had sexually assaulted her for nine months in Las Vegas.
Thowsen and LaRochelle
travel to Lincoln County to arrest Blaise
Thowsen arranged for LaRochelle and crime scene analyst Maria Thomas to
travel to Lincoln County, and he called the county sheriff’s
office to notify them the three would be arriving that afternoon.
Thomas was told that she would be impounding a car –
Within an hour or so after receiving Johnson’s phone call,
Thowsen, LaRochelle and the crime scene analyst headed north on US Hwy
93 in two vehicles to arrest Blaise for Bailey’s murder.
Thowsen and LaRochelle
After the nearly three hour drive to Pioche, Johnson gave a taped
interview to the detectives. She reiterated what she told Thowsen on
the phone. However, she added that the detectives shouldn’t
contact Dixie – the source of Johnson’s third-hand
information about what Blaise had allegedly told Dixie –
because she thought Dixie would warn Blaise that they were coming to
Compounding Johnson’s implicating of Blaise in
Bailey’s murder without any personal knowledge of anything
Blaise said, or what she did or didn’t do in Las Vegas, was
the fact that Johnson made the false declaration in her statement that
Blaise had been in trouble with the law in Lincoln County and sentenced
to probation with Johnson supervising her. 5
However, the detectives
didn’t know Johnson made-up that inflammatory assertion,
because they didn’t verify her claims before deciding Blaise
was Bailey’s murderer. 6
After arranging for a Lincoln County sheriff deputy to accompany them
to where Blaise was living, and arranging for a flat-bed tow truck to
transport her car to Las Vegas, Thowsen and his colleagues headed to
nearby Panaca to arrest Blaise.
unaware the incident
Dixie told Johnson about wasn’t Bailey’s murder
What Thowsen and LaRochelle didn’t know before forming their
opinions about Blaise’s guilt, was that the incident Blaise
told Dixie about was an attempted rape that she fended off with a knife
six weeks prior to Bailey’s murder. Shortly after midnight on
or about May 25, a “really big” black man over 6'
and 200 pounds grabbed the 5'-7" and 100 pound Blaise as she got out of
her car at the Budget Suites motel near Sam’s Town casino on
Vegas’ east side. He threw her onto the ground and as he
knelt over her with his pants pulled down, she pulled out a butterfly
knife her dad gave her for self-protection and tried to stab or cut his
groin area. She was able to get away from him, and she heard him crying
and saw him getting up as she drove off. 7
If the detectives had conducted even a perfunctory investigation into
the details of what Blaise told Dixie, they would have learned that
prior to Bailey’s murder Blaise had told multiple people
about the attack on her that occurred just before the Memorial Day
weekend – eight miles from where Bailey was later murdered on
Vegas’ west side. 8
They also would have learned from
investigating that at least ten people would swear they saw Blaise in
Panaca on July 8 at times from very early in the morning, to throughout
the day, to late that evening. The detectives also would have
discovered much more evidence, including medical and telephone records,
that excluded Blaise from even cursory suspicion of being involved in
However, the detectives didn’t have any idea they were
targeting the wrong person because they decided to arrest Blaise
without conducting an investigation into the substance of
Johnson’s conversation with Dixie.
Blaise’s July 20, 2001 interrogation
When the detectives arrived at the home of Blaise’s parents,
Larry and Becky Lobato, Blaise was in the shower and they were let in
by her younger sister Ashley. Neither of her parents were home. The
first thing Thowsen said to Blaise when he began questioning her at
5:55 p.m., was they knew she had been sexually molested by her
mother’s boyfriend when she was a child. Blaise began sobbing
and continued to do so, even after she signed a Miranda waiver 12
minutes later at 6:07 p.m., which was when Thowsen turned his tape
Blaise thought they were interrogating her about the Budget Suites
assault in May, because at no time before or after the tape recording
began did Thowsen or LaRochelle tell Blaise they were investigating the
murder of a man who had been savagely beaten and sexually mutilated,
its location in Las Vegas, or the day it happened. Consequently, she
had no way of knowing the details of the May assault she told the
detectives about bore no relationship whatsoever to the circumstances
or details of Bailey’s death six weeks later on July 8. There
are 16 significant details in Blaise’s 26-minute recorded
statement inconsistent with specific details of Bailey’s
death that Thowsen and LaRochelle would have known at the time of her
interrogation. There are eight additional significant details in her
statement inconsistent with the details of Bailey’s death
that the detectives would have been aware of shortly after her arrest,
due to forensic testing, expert evidence analysis, or subsequent
witness interviews. 9
matching points between
Bailey’s murder and Blaise’s statement
That Bailey, and Blaise’s assailant were black, both events
occurred in Las Vegas, and a cutting instrument was involved, were the
only three general areas of intersection between the undisputed
circumstances of Bailey’s death and Blaise’s
statement. However, those didn’t remotely
“match,” because Bailey was a smaller man
– shorter and much lighter than Blaise’s assailant;
Bailey was killed eight miles west of where Blaise was assaulted; and
Blaise only described attempting to cut her assailant once to get free
and flee, while Bailey was beaten severely, and stabbed and cut many
times before being sexually dismembered.
Thus there are no actual matching points between Blaise’s
statement and the details of Bailey’s death. The logical
explanation for the dissimilarity is because they were different events.
True to the detective’s purpose of traveling to Panaca to
arrest Blaise on the basis of Johnson’s third-hand
“double hearsay” information – the
detectives abruptly terminated Blaise’s interrogation after
she told them she had been attacked “over a month
ago,” and placed her under arrest for Bailey’s
murder. Her car was loaded on the flatbed tow truck to be taken for
examination by the LVMPD Crime Lab.
She was booked into the Clark County Detention Center that night and
three days later (7-23) she was charged with, “murder with
use of a deadly weapon.” 10
Three days later the DA added the
charge of “sexual penetration of a dead human
body,” based on ME Simms belief that Bailey’s
“anal opening had been cut after his
It is indicative of how sloppy, hasty, and incomplete Thowsen and
LaRochelle’s investigation was that they didn’t
even discover how to correctly spell Blaise’s first name
before arresting her for Bailey’s first-degree murder. In her
statement they spelled her first name Kirsten — not Kirstin.
Six days after Blaise’s arrest, Thowsen returned to Lincoln
County and interviewed Dixie and several other people.
Dixie’s taped statement of Blaise’s conversation
with her differed in important details from Johnson’s claims
of what Dixie said Blaise said to her. Particularly, Dixie said that
Blaise was staying with her parents – not hiding out, and
Dixie did not say her parents were doing anything to hide or get rid of
her car, or camouflage it by painting it. Nor did Blaise ask her not to
tell anyone about the assault she described. Dixie told Justice:Denied
during an interview that Thowsen talked to her for quite some time
before turning on his tape recorder. While the tape recorder was off,
Dixie said Thowsen tried to pressure her to shape her statement to what
he wanted her to say Blaise told her, not what she recollected.
in Lincoln County learn
Bailey was killed when Blaise was in Panaca
The Las Vegas Review-Journal
published an article on July 25 that reported Blaise was charged with
murdering Bailey on July 8. That article was the first that the Lobato
family and other people in Panaca knew that July 8 was the date of the
incident Blaise was accused of being involved in.
Blaise’s dad Larry called Thowsen and left a message. When
Thowsen returned the call, Larry told him they had charged the wrong
person because Blaise had been in Panaca all day on the 8th.
Thowsen’s response was “that as far as he was
concerned he had arrested and charged the right person and did not need
any further information.” 12
lab tests exclude Blaise
Almost a week after Blaise’s arrest, and days after she was
charged, the physical evidence recovered from the crime scene that
included, fingerprints and tire treads, as well as Blaise’s
car and personal effects, were examined by the LVMPD Crime Lab. Blaise
was excluded as the source of four identifiable crime scene
fingerprints. Her metal baseball bat with a porous rubber handle tested
negative for the presence of blood. A spot on the interior of her
car’s driver’s side door panel and on her car seat
cover tested weakly positive after a presumptive luminol test for the
presence of an unknown iron bearing substance (blood contains iron),
but both spots tested negative as being blood when subjected to a
precise confirmatory test.
Somewhat remarkably, the single most important piece of evidence
recovered from the crime scene – Bailey’s severed
penis that was handled by his killer – wasn’t
tested for the presence of identifiable foreign DNA before being buried
with his body.
The crime lab did not analyze the bloody shoeprints leading away from
Bailey’s body, so Blaise’s public defenders
retained a nationally renowned shoeprint expert, William J. Bodziak. He
wrote in his report of March 27, 2002:
“Based on the corresponding dimensions of comparable portions
of other brands of footwear having this generic design, it was
determined the Q1-Q2 impressions most closely correspond to a U.S.
men’s size 9 athletic shoe of this type. …
… Using a standard Brannock foot-measuring device, the
length of the LOBATO right foot equates to U.S. men’s sizes
between 6 to 6-1/2. … The right foot size of KIRSTIN LOBATO
would therefore be at least 2 1/2 sizes smaller than the estimated
crime scene shoe size.” 13
evidence solved by jailhouse informant
On the eve of Blaise’s trial, ten months after her arrest,
the prosecution had no physical, forensic or scientific evidence,
eyewitness or confession linking her to Bailey’s murder.
Neither did they have a single witness who saw her or her car in Las
Vegas on the day of Bailey’s death or for nearly a week
preceding it. In contrast, numerous witnesses said she and her car had
been in Panaca on the 8th and the six days preceding it.
What the prosecution did have was a “jailhouse
informant” – Korinda Martin. Martin claimed that
while they were both in the Clark County Detention Center, Blaise was
loudly “bragging” on several occasions in the open
area of the jail module (where the prisoners watch television and
socialize), “That she was there for murder and that she had
cut a man’s penis off and stuffed it down his
The accurate details about Bailey’s
murder that Martin claimed Blaise described were included in a July 25,
2001, article about Blaise’s arrest in the Review-Journal,
Las Vegas’ most widely read newspaper that was delivered to
the jail. While Martin’s inaccurate details, such as her
claim that Bailey’s penis was stuffed in his mouth, were not
in the paper.
Blaise’s trial began on May 8, 2002, in the courtroom of
Clark County District Court Judge Valorie Vega. Blaise’s
attorneys were Clark County Public Defenders Gloria Navarro and Phillip
Kohn. The prosecutors were Assistant D.A.s Sandra DiGiacomo and William
The prosecution tried to influence the jury by generally focusing on a
series of prongs that they represented during closing arguments were
“proven” by the evidence. The
prosecution’s case during Blaise’s trial can be
understood by explaining several of the key prongs they argued. The
following are eight of those prongs, followed by a rebuttal of why each
one didn’t implicate Blaise in Bailey’s murder.
It was too coincidental that a knife would be used to stab at a
man’s groin in two separate incidents in Las Vegas six weeks
The prosecution ignored that Las Vegas was a crime haven in 2001.
According to the FBI’s 2001 Uniform Crime Report (UCR), Las
Vegas had one of the highest rates of rape in the country, 30% above
the national average, 15
and murder was so commonplace that it was
double the national average, with almost three per week. 16 Also
undermining the prosecution “coincidence” claim is
that in 2001, almost two out of five murders were committed by cutting
or beating – the causes of Bailey’s death. 17
Consequently, it wasn’t unusual for Bailey to be beaten and
stabbed to death, and six weeks earlier for Blaise to have used a knife
to fend off a sexual assault eight miles away in east Las Vegas.
Blaise explained in her statement that she didn’t report the
May 2001 attack because she had reported previous sexual assaults and
the police “basically blew me off. It’s been my
experience that it doesn’t do any good.” 18
non-reporting of the attempted rape is the norm. The U.S. Dept. of
Justice estimates that in 2001 only 39% of rapes and/or sexual assaults
nationwide were reported. 19
The Budget Suites assault Blaise described and Bailey’s
murder were the same event.
The prosecution’s attempt to transpose the two events ignored
that none of the details in Blaise’s statement and during her
trial testimony matched the crime scene or the circumstances of
Bailey’s death. Not the time, the size of her attacker, the
type of attack, the injuries involved … nothing. There are
at least 24 specific details in her 26-minute statement that are
inconsistent with the facts of Bailey’s murder.
The prosecution’s “theory of the crime”
was Bailey’s murder resulted from “A drug deal gone
The prosecution’s “theory of the crime”
was non-fact based speculation for many reasons, including:
- Bailey used crack cocaine, which was in
his system at the time of his death, and witnesses testified he
didn’t use methamphetamines.
- There was no testimony Bailey ever sold
drugs of any kind.
- There was no testimony that Bailey and
Blaise had ever met, or that she knew Bailey was living in the trash
- Multiple witnesses testified that
Blaise used methamphetamines when staying in Las Vegas.
- There was no testimony why Blaise would
drive 170 miles to Las Vegas solely to get meth as the prosecution
alleged, when it was available within walking distance of her
parent’s Panaca house.
Korinda Martin testified that Blaise bragged at the Clark County
Detention Center about killing Bailey.
Undermining Martin’s claims is that the accurate details
about Bailey’s death that Martin testified Blaise said, were
included in a LV Review-Journal article published five days after
Blaise’s arrest. The inaccurate details Martin testified
about weren’t in the media.
The prosecution portrayed Blaise as a bad person of low moral character
who grew up in the sticks of Lincoln County, used methamphetamines, and
on two occasions engaged in amateur exotic dancing in Las Vegas.
Contrary to the prosecution’s intimations, there was no
testimony supporting that because of her upbringing, experiences or
lifestyle Blaise would ever harm anyone except in self-defense.
To explain how Bailey’s extensive injuries could have been
inflicted by a person of Blaise’s slender physique, the
prosecution speculated that after she stabbed him while he was
standing, she repeatedly hit him with the aluminum baseball bat that
she kept in the back seat of her car for self-protection.
That speculation was unsupported by testimony. ME Lary Simms testified
that Bailey “didn’t have any skull fractures that
were depressed like, you know, a bat would depress somebody.”
Thomas Wahl, a technician with the LVMPD Crime Lab, testified,
“There was no blood, hairs or tissue recovered from the
aluminum baseball bat or detected on that item.” 22
has a porous rubber handle that had no trace blood residue.
George Schiro was a forensic scientist of national repute retained by
Blaise’s public defenders to expertly analyze the
prosecution’s physical evidence. He wrote in his Forensic
“There is no documentation of blood spatter above a height of
12 inches on any of the surrounding crime scene surfaces. ...The
confined space of the crime scene enclosures and the lack of [blood]
cast-off indicate that a baseball bat was not used to beat Mr. Bailey.
The beating was more likely due to a pounding or punching type
Judge Vega, however, did not allow the jury to hear Schiro’s
exculpatory blood ‘spatter’ and ‘cast
off’ testimony. She sustained the prosecution’s
objection that Blaise’s lawyers had not provided them with
proper notice of the scope of his expert testimony.
Since Blaise described stabbing at her assailant as he hovered over
her, the prosecution argued that Bailey was standing with his pants
down when he was stabbed in his groin.
Schiro’s analyzed the evidence for ‘vertically
dripped blood’: “The photographs of his pants also do not indicate the
presence of any vertically dripped blood. This indicates that he did
not receive any bleeding injuries while in a standing
Judge Vega, however, did not allow the jury to hear Schiro’s
exculpatory blood dripping testimony. She sustained the
prosecution’s objection that Blaise’s lawyers had
not provided them with proper notice of the scope of his expert
To fit Bailey’s murder with Blaise’s statement that
she was on a methamphetamine binge and awake for the three days
preceding being assaulted, the prosecution speculated she drove her car
from Panaca to Las Vegas on July 6. They further speculated that after
murdering Bailey early on the morning of the 8th, Blaise drove back for
Panaca, arriving around 10 a.m.
The prosecution presented no evidence whatsoever that Blaise was in Las
Vegas on July 6, 7 or 8; numerous people saw Blaise in Panaca on July
6, 7 or 8; and multiple people saw Blaise’s car was parked in
front of her parent’s house from July 2 to July 20.
Furthermore, the prosecution’s argument completely ignored
that Blaise also said she was out of her mind on meth for a week before
and after she was assaulted. Yet, Blaise’s blood sample taken
at the Caliente Clinic on July 5 didn’t test positive for
meth, her urine sample was collected on July 7, and many people saw she
was tired and lethargic for four or five days after arriving in Panaca
on July 2 – not hyped up on meth. Blaise’s
boyfriend Doug Twining has testified that he and Blaise only smoked
marijuana while she was in Las Vegas from July 9 to 13, when her dad
picked her up and took her back to Panaca.
The jury, however, was unaware of some of the alibi testimony
corroborating Blaise’s presence in Panaca from July 2 through
July 9. Citing inadequate notice to the prosecution, Judge Vega barred
the jury from being exposed to that exculpatory information.
Vega did not allow the jury to hear the majority of defense witness
Schiro’s proposed expert testimony that would have undermined
that the prosecution’s case had any pretense of a scientific
The jury also did not hear Schiro’s crime scene
reconstruction based on his analysis of the evidence that
Bailey’s murder was a premeditated methodically executed
Schiro was allowed to testify about the testing for the presence of
blood in Blaise’s car. He discussed that both presumptive
luminol and phenolphthalein tests were subject to a high incidence of
false positives, and that negative confirmatory tests indicated to him
that human blood did not cause the weakly positive
presumptive tests for two spots in Blaise’s car.
After he had given his very limited testimony, Schiro, who had spent
the overwhelming majority of his career as a prosecution witness
identifying crime scene evidence that inculpated an accused person,
told reporters in the courthouse hallway what Judge Vega barred him
from telling Blaise’s jurors: “There is no evidence
to tie Ms. Lobato to the crime scene. I feel the evidence is even
exclusionary on her behalf.” 25
didn’t implicate Blaise in Bailey’s death
At the point that the prosecution and defense rested their cases, none
of the prosecution’s prongs supported implicating Blaise as
The closing arguments were made on Friday, May 18, 2002. DA
DiGiacomo’s argument was based on a multitude of speculations
about how and why Blaise had murdered Bailey.
Blaise’s lawyer Kohn, emphasized that the detectives did not
identify the date of the man’s stabbing they were talking
about when they interrogated Blaise. Furthermore, he pointed out that
the detectives and prosecutors were wrongly assuming she was talking
about Bailey, when none of the details of the incident she described
matched those of his death. Kohn told the jury, “Two people
talking about two different incidents.” 26
He compared the
prosecution of Blaise to the Salem Witch Trials, during which many
innocent women were put to death, “Women who were different,
who were odd and who said stupid things.” 27
DA Kephart asserted in his rebuttal argument that Blaise’s
acknowledgement during her interrogation that she stabbed at a
man’s groin area to fend off his sexual assault constituted a
confession to Bailey’s murder.
Judge Vega finished reading the jury instructions at 9 p.m. The jury
began deliberations immediately. After five hours they announced they
had arrived at a verdict. At 3 a.m. their verdicts of guilty to both
counts were read in court, and Blaise, who had been free on $50,000
bond, was taken into custody.
Her lawyer Navarro told reporters, “She placed her belief in
the justice system, and she ended up being convicted of a crime that
she did not commit.” 28
On July 2, 2002, Blaise was sentenced to serve a minimum of 40 years
before becoming eligible for parole.
reversed by Nevada Supreme Court on September 3, 2004
On September 3, 2004, the Nevada Supreme Court reversed
Blaise’s conviction and remanded her case for a new trial.
Lobato v. State, 96 P.3d 765 (Nev. 09/03/2004) The reversal
was based on Judge Vega’s failure to allow Blaise’s
lawyers to cross-examine Korinda Martin about letters suggesting
leniency that she wanted sent to her sentencing judge. The Court noted,
“The proffered letters and extrinsic evidence relating to
them confirmed Martin’s desperation to obtain an early
release from incarceration and her willingness to adopt a fraudulent
course of action to achieve that goal.” 29
The Court also ruled
that it was prejudicial error for Vega to bar Blaise’ lawyers
from examining the woman the letters were mailed to, as well as
introducing the letters themselves.
defense lawyers for Blaise’s retrial
After reviewing her case and becoming convinced of her innocence, San
Francisco based lawyers Shari Greenberger and Sara Zalkin agreed to
represent Blaise pro-bono during her retrial as co-counsel to her lead
lawyer, David Schieck, with the Clark County Special Public Defenders
Office. In December 2005 Blaise was released pending her retrial on a
$500,000 bond posted by supporters believing in her innocence. For
reasons unknown, Blaise’s attorneys did not move to recuse
Vega from the case in spite of her known bias against Blaise.
favor the prosecution
The Nevada Supreme Court was bluntly disappointed with the prejudicial
effect of a number of Judge Vega’s prosecution favorable
rulings during Blaise’s trial. The pretrial motions hearings
for Blaise’s retrial were the first opportunity for Vega, a
former Clark County, Nevada prosecutor, to indicate if she was going to
continue to openly favor her former colleagues. At the conclusion of
those hearings in May 2006, there was no doubt she was not going to be
more balanced. Vega did not grant any defense motion in limine or
suppression outright. The following are some of her rulings.
- The prosecution could
introduce as one of the murder weapons, the bat found in
Blaise’s car when it was searched on July 20, 2001, even
though it had no known connection to Bailey’s murder.
- The prosecution could
introduce pictures and testimony about Blaise’s custom
license plate, even though her car was not found to have any connection
whatsoever with Bailey’s death. Her tire tracks
didn’t match those found at the crime scene and confirmatory
scientific tests excluded the presence of any blood in her car.
- The prosecution could
introduce the “double hearsay” testimony of Laura
Johnson about what she alleged Dixie Tienken said that Blaise had said.
The defense argued, “By seeking to introduce this
impermissible hearsay the State is trying to circumvent the rules of
Judge Vega denied the defense’s motion without prejudice as
premature, since Johnson had not yet testified, but the defense could
object for the record when Johnson testified. Thus, Vega cleverly sided
with the prosecution by allowing Johnson to testify about the
“double hearsay” statements without making a ruling
on the motion’s merits.
- The prosecution could
introduce Blaise’s July 20, 2001 statement, even though her
lawyers argued that its details had no relevance to Bailey’s
death, and she advised Thowsen and LaRochelle in the statement that the
incident she described occurred more than a month prior to the
interrogation, and thus more than two weeks prior to Bailey’s
- The prosecution could
introduce presumptive tests of two spots on Blaise’s car that
weakly tested positive (indicating the possible presence of an iron
bearing substance, one of which is blood.), even though the much more
sophisticated and precise confirmatory tests returned negative results
for the presence of blood. Blaise’s lawyers argued in vain
that the jury would be misled that the weakly positive presumptive
tests inferred the presence of blood in Blaise’s car, when
the spots were disproven as blood by the negative confirmatory tests.
- The prosecution could
introduce what amounted to about 140 photographs of the crime scene and
Bailey’s autopsy photos. Blaise’s lawyers argued
unsuccessfully that the cumulative effect of the photos, many that were
near duplicates, would have “the principle effect of inciting
and inflaming the jury, due to graphic depictions of the
victim’s body, the horror of the crime and the cumulative
effect of unnecessarily duplicative photographs.” 31
- Judge Vega also denied the
defense motion to dismiss the charges based on “the
state’s failure to preserve and collect exculpatory
evidence.” Blaise’s lawyers argued the failure to
collect and/or preserve potentially exculpatory crime scene evidence
for testing was a fatal due process violation caused by the
“bad faith,” or at a minimum the “gross
negligence” of the police. Judge Vega ruled that in July 2001
the crime scene investigators and police could not have been expected
to know that fingerprints and scientific testing such as DNA, could
possibly identify Bailey’s murderer(s) from their handling of
any particular item, so they couldn’t have acted in
“bad faith” in failing to collect and preserve the
crime scene evidence.
- Judge Vega also denied a
defense motion to dismiss the charges on the basis that the prosecution
“cannot establish the corpus delicti of the crime with
evidence independent of defendant’s extrajudicial
Just weeks before the motion was heard, the Nevada Supreme Court
reiterated, “It has long been black letter law in Nevada that
the corpus delicti of a crime must be proven independently of the
defendant’s extra-judicial admissions.” Edwards v.
State, 132 P.3d 581 (Nev. 04/27/2006). Due to the absence of any
evidence independent of her July 20, 2001, statement and her other
purported extra-judicial statements, Blaise’s lawyers argued
that contrary to the prohibition by the Nevada Supreme Court, the
prosecution relied solely on her extra-judicial statements
“to prove the corpus delicti of Bailey’s
Although Vega was aware that there must be independent evidence of
Blaise’s alleged guilt apart from interpretations and
recollections of her purported extra-judicial statements, she
nevertheless denied the motion.
It was evident from Vega’s pre-trial rulings that she was
going to allow the prosecutors free-reign to run a replay of
Blaise’s first trial.
hair DNA tests excluded
Blaise in Sept 2006
Several weeks before Blaise’s retrial was scheduled to begin
on September 11, 2006, the prosecution disclosed that it had finally
ordered DNA testing of a pubic hair found during a combing of
Bailey’s pubic hair on the day his body was discovered. The
hair had remained untested for years in his rape kit, even though the
defense had repeatedly asked for it to be tested.
The DNA test excluded Blaise and Bailey as the hair’s source,
but it did reveal that it came from an unidentified male. That finding
was consistent with ME Simms’ testimony during
Blaise’s May 2002 trial that the manner of Bailey’s
murder had homosexual overtones.
No Korinda Martin Testimony During Retrial
The prosecution had let it be known during pretrial proceedings that
they intended to present the same case during Blaise’s
retrial as during her first trial. That, however, wasn’t
true. The defense found out during opening statements that Korinda
Martin wouldn’t be called as a prosecution witness. The
prosecution may have been influenced to omit Martin as a witness
because the defense contended in a pretrial motion to exclude
Martin’s testimony that allowing her testimony would
constitute subornation of perjury by prosecutors DiGiacomo and Kephart.
prosecutors also knew that based on Vega’s pretrial rulings
they didn’t need Martin’s testimony.
Since there was no physical, forensic, scientific, circumstantial,
documentary, eyewitness or confession evidence linking Blaise, her car,
or any item of hers within 170 miles of Las Vegas at the time of
Bailey’s murder, the prosecution’s primary strategy
was to argue: ‘It is possible she did it.’ The
defense had timely filed its notice of an alibi defense, and over a
dozen witnesses were scheduled to testify who would place Blaise in
Panaca from July 2 to 9. So the success of the prosecution’s
‘It is possible’ strategy depended on their success
at blocking anyone from testifying about their knowledge of the attack
on Blaise six weeks before Bailey’s murder.
Dixie had been Blaise’s adult education teacher when she
earned her GED at 17 in 2000. Blaise considered Dixie her friend and
during a three hour conversation in early July 2001 that covered many
topics, Blaise mentioned she had fended off a sexual assault with her
knife when she had been staying in Las Vegas. Dixie didn’t
provide any testimony specifically linking Blaise to Bailey’s
murder, and she actually provided testimony supporting that the attack
Blaise described had occurred between one and two months prior to their
conversation. Although the prosecution treated Dixie as a hostile
witness, her testimony was necessary to lay the foundation for
“Star Witness” Laura Johnson’s
“double hearsay” testimony about what Johnson
claimed Dixie told her Blaise had said.
Witness” Laura Johnson testifies
During Laura Johnson’s “double hearsay”
testimony, she testified that Dixie said Blaise said that when she was
coming out of a strip club where she worked in Las Vegas, a man
attacked her while his penis was hanging out of his pants and she cut
it off. Johnson also said Dixie said Blaise said she was
“hiding out” at her parents house and her parents
were trying to get rid of her car, or get it painted to hide it. Thus
Johnson provided the magic phrases suggesting Blaise had a
‘guilty mind’, which Dixie denied Blaise told her.
First, that Blaise had been “hiding out” in Panaca,
and second, with the help of her parents she wanted to “get
rid” of her car or “hide” it by painting
“Games” Bailey’s Time of Death
During Blaise’s Preliminary Hearing in August 2001, ME
Simms’ testified that Bailey died no earlier than 10:36 a.m.
on July 8. That didn’t jibe with Blaise’s statement
that she was attacked during very early morning hours, so at
Blaise’s first trial he “gamed”
Bailey’s time of death by expanding it six hours to the
pre-dawn time of 4:36 a.m. That allowed the prosecution to argue that
the nighttime assault on Blaise and Bailey’s death were the
same event. During Blaise’s retrial Simms further
“gamed” Bailey’s time of death to as
early as 3:50 a.m. 35
During Detective Thowsen’s direct testimony and
cross-examination, he described informally visiting Diann Parker after
being told she had been at Bailey’s murder scene asking about
him. Thowsen also described her telling him that Bailey beat and raped
her on July 1, after several Mexicans in her apartment complex told him
earlier that day to leave her alone after he slapped and threatened her
while she was drinking beer with them. Thowsen then talked to the
apartment manager who provided him with the names used by the Mexicans.
He said they didn’t cause any trouble. After Thowsen ran a
background check on the names that returned nothing, he
didn’t question the Mexicans.
Although Bailey’s murder was rich with fertile leads, Thowsen
did no more “investigating” into Bailey’s
case until getting a call from Johnson on July 20 about her
conversation with Dixie. He described doing a background check on
Blaise, and contacting the Lincoln County Sheriff that he would be
driving up that afternoon with another detective and a crime scene
analyst to interview a witness and arrest a murder suspect.
During defense attorney David Schieck’s cross-examination,
Thowsen was asked why he didn’t investigate the Budget Suites
attack Blaise described in her statement before arresting her, Thowsen
replied, ‘Because it didn’t happen.’
Thowsen elaborated that every detail in Blaise’s statement
that is inconsistent with Bailey’s crime scene or manner of
death is explainable as “minimizing.” Which he
described as a guilty person’s technique of reducing the
seriousness of what he or she did.
Thowsen’s testimony about Blaise’s alleged
“minimizing” was critical to the prosecution,
because nothing in her statement identified her as involved in
Bailey’s murder. What Schieck didn’t know during
his cross-examination was that Thowsen fabricated his explanation that
she had “minimized” her involvement. According to
the FBI and other experts in police interrogation techniques,
“minimizing” is what a detective does to induce a
suspect who has already admitted to an identifiable level of
involvement in a crime to further incriminate him or herself by
confessing to more specific details. The following are excerpts from an
article in the August 2005 issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,
titled, “Reducing a Guilty Suspect’s Resistance to
The investigator presents the acceptable reasons to confess, usually in
one of three … categories: rationalizations, projections of
blame, and minimizations. … investigators can try to reduce,
or minimize, the heinous nature of the crime so it produces less guilt
or shame for the suspect.. …
Because the focus of the rational choice theory is centered on
self-interest, projecting the blame on anything else is appropriate to
reduce the suspect’s feelings of guilt. … the
investigator can minimize the woman’s shame by acknowledging
her righteousness …
To make the crime more acceptable, the investigator can minimize the
suspect’s deviant actions by explaining how he has seemingly
overcome overwhelming natural circumstances…
Regarding minimizations, the investigators could suggest that engaging
in property crimes to obtain the American dream offers a much more
acceptable route than committing violent crimes.
To minimize the crime, the investigator can convince the suspect that
his actions were minor offenses … 36
The preceding explanation of “minimization” in an
official FBI publication clarifies that during Blaise’s
interrogation neither Thowsen nor LaRochelle
“minimized” her involvement in the assault she
described. Further undermining Thowsen’s credibility about
“minimization” is that Blaise said nothing to
reduce her involvement in the assault she described in her statement.
Thowsen’s false testimony about
“minimizing” to explain away the absence of
similarity between Blaise’s statement and the details of
Bailey’s death wasn’t a minor infraction. It was
the cornerstone of his testimony.
lacked evidence implicating Blaise
There were several dozen witnesses during the prosecution’s
nearly three-week case. Those witnesses included police officers,
several crime lab technicians, medical examiner’s office
personnel, relatives of Bailey, and friends and acquaintances of
Blaise. What is notable about those witnesses is that not a single one
provided any testimony linking Blaise to any involvement in
Bailey’s murder, or that on July 8 she had been within 170
miles of Las Vegas, or that she had ever met Bailey. Not even the two
key witnesses, Johnson and Thowsen, provided any testimony that was
anything more than conjecture that Blaise possibly could have been
referring to Bailey’s death when she described fending off a
sexual assault with her knife.
That lack of testimonial evidence was backed up by the absence of any
physical, forensic or scientific evidence that Blaise or her car was
present at the crime scene. Her involvement was in fact undermined by
the crime scene fingerprints that excluded her, the DNA test of the
pubic hair found on Bailey’s body that excluded her, the
bloody male shoeprints that excluded her, the tire tracks that excluded
her car, and the DNA on chewing gum found on the cardboard covering
Bailey’s body that excluded her.
During cross-examination of law enforcement witnesses, the defense was
repeatedly able to expose the multiple deficiencies in the collection,
preservation, and/or testing of crime scene evidence. The portrait
painted by the defense’s cross-examination was that with a
few exceptions, the LV Metro PD handled Bailey’s crime scene
and investigation like they were a cross between the Keystone Cops and
The defense did not retain Schiro for Blaise’s retrial, but
it did enlist two experts who testified, Dr. Michael Laufer and Brent
Michael Laufer testifies
Bailey was likely murdered with scissors
Dr. Michael Laufer is associated with Stanford Medical School and the
nationally recognized inventor of more than 100 medically related
In the course of reviewing the autopsy report, and autopsy and crime
scene photos, Laufer began doubting that Bailey’s stab and
slashing wounds were caused by a knife, as he had been told when he
agreed to review the case. He noticed they resembled scissors wounds he
had treated during his years as an emergency room doctor. So he
proceeded to conduct a photographed controlled experiment to see if he
could duplicate Bailey’s wounds by stabbing scissors into a
flesh substitute – foam rubber tightly covered with ultra
In his final report, dated September 24, 2006, Laufer determined that
Bailey’s stab wounds were consistent with being caused by
scissors, and that barber scissors with a finger hook were the most
likely type used to inflict Bailey’s wounds. He also
concluded that scissors were likely used to snip his carotid artery,
and “The penile amputation was most likely performed with
that duplicated a wound to Bailey’s abdomen disclosed
“a “ring distance” between the inside of
the second finger and the inside of the fifth finger of the
assailant’s hand of at least 5.8 cm.” 38
distance” of Blaise’s hand was measured to be 4.3
cm. Thus Laufer concluded her hand is much smaller than
Laufer also determined that because the bleeding of Bailey’s
blood stopped at the waist level of his pants, the wounds above his
waist were inflicted while his pants were pulled up.
Laufer testified to his findings about Bailey’s wounds and
cause of death on direct examination. The prosecution, however,
successfully blocked his testimony about the case’s extensive
blood evidence. Judge Vega agreed with the prosecutors that the defense
had not provided the required notice about the extent of
Laufer’s expert testimony.
Kephart was taken aback during his cross-examination, when Laufer
testified that he provided his expertise in Blaise’s case pro
bono. Laufer said, “The first thing I was told [by defense
lawyer Greenberger] was, “We don’t have any
Turvey testifies no
physical evidence implicates Blaise in Bailey’s murder
The other defense expert was Brent Turvey, a forensic scientist and
criminal profiler. After analyzing a large number of case reports and
documents, Turvey completed a report dated October 17, 2005. His
1. There is no physical evidence associating Kirstin
“Blaise” Lobato, or her vehicle (a red 1984 Fiero),
to the crime scene.
2. The offender in this case would have transferred bloodstains to
specific areas of any vehicle they entered and operated.
3. The failure of Luminol to luminesce at any of the requisite sites in
the defendant’s vehicle is a reasonably certain indication
that blood was not ever present, despite any conventional attempts at
4.There are several items of potentially exculpatory evidence that were
present on or with the body at the crime scene but subsequently not
submitted to the crime lab for analysis.
5. A primary motive in this case is directed anger expressed in the
form of brutal injury, overkill and sexual punishment to the
6. The wound patterns in this case may be used to support a theory of
multiple assailants. 39
Turvey testified to his findings on direct examination. Key points of
his testimony revolved around forensic science’s
“exchange principle,” which is that
“every contact leaves a trace” and, “no
evidence means no proof of contact.” 40
The “exchange principle” is the basis of his
conclusion that there is no physical evidence Blaise was involved in
Turvey’s cross-examination was much more contentious than
Laufer’s. The biggest fireworks occurred when Turvey resisted
DiGiacomo’s attempts to pressure him to acknowledge that the
two spots in Blaise’s car that weakly tested positive after a
presumptive test, “possibly” could be blood. Turvey
repeatedly responded that the much more precise confirmatory testing of
the spots were negative for blood, so the idea it was blood
“had to be let go.”
witnesses not allowed to
testify attack on Blaise was before Bailey’s death
The prosecution knew that prior to Bailey’s murder Blaise
talked with at least five people about the May 2001 Budget Suites
assault. Those five people are Steve Pyszkowski, Kathy Renninger,
Michelle Austria, Heather McBride, and Blaise’s dad, Larry
During Blaise’s first trial Vega had allowed Pyszkowski,
Austria and McBride to testify that they were told about the assault
against Blaise in Las Vegas on days that ranged from a month to six
days preceding Bailey’s murder on July 8. Larry was told by
Blaise about the attack in late June 2001, but he wasn’t
called as a witness by the defense.
Four of those people, Pyszkowski, Austria, McBride, and Larry testified
at Blaise’s retrial, but Judge Vega blocked all of them from
testifying about their knowledge of the May assault, by sustaining the
prosecution’s objections it was hearsay.
Thirteen people testified that they saw Blaise in Panaca between July 2
and July 9. 41
Ten of those people testified they saw her on the weekend of July 7 and
8. All of the relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors who also
testified about seeing Blaise’s car parked in front of her
parents house said they never saw it moved or parked in a different
position on the city street behind a utility trailer, after she arrived
from Las Vegas on July 2, until the police took it away on July 20.
During LVMPD Crime Lab technician Kristina Paulette’s
testimony on September 25 as a prosecution witness, she described the
DNA test results of a pubic hair combed from Bailey’s public
hair that remained untested in Bailey’s rape kit for more
than five years. The test not only excluded Blaise, but it was from an
unidentified male. After the retrial began DiGiacomo instructed the
police crime lab to perform DNA testing of three cigarette butts found
on Bailey’s body. That DNA report was issued two days after
Paulette testified for the prosecution, so she was called as a defense
witness on October 2. She testified that one butt did not have
isolatable DNA, another had Bailey’s DNA (from his blood) and
the DNA of an unidentifiable person, and the third only had the DNA of
an unidentified male. Paulette testified that Blaise was conclusively
excluded as a source of the DNA on the second and third cigarette butts.
The personality differences between the two prosecutors and
Blaise’s lawyer conducting the closing, David Schieck were
stark. Prosecutor DiGiacomo has the bearing and mannerisms of a
spoiled, petulant child. Prosecutor Kephart has a forceful personality
and the mannerisms of a snake-oil salesman. While Schieck has an
earnest, low key manner.
DiGiacomo’s closing revolved around the theme: It is possible
Blaise killed Bailey.
To support her ‘It’s possible she did it’
claim, DiGiacomo speculated about numerous allegations that were
unsupported by any trial evidence. She even had a PowerPoint
presentation laying out her supposition that Blaise was
Bailey’s killer. Although DiGiacomo made her arguments
without caution or restraint, Blaise’s lawyers
Schieck’s closing was built on several interrelated themes:
the crime scene evidence that was collected and tested excludes Blaise;
there is nothing in her statement that incriminates her in
Bailey’s murder; nothing in her possession or her car links
her to Bailey’s murder; the unrebutted alibi testimony of
nearly a dozen people establishes she was in Panaca the entire day of
July 8; and because of the complete absence of inculpatory evidence,
the prosecution was seeking to have Blaise convicted on their
speculation it was possible she killed Bailey – and not proof
beyond a reasonable doubt.
He described the prosecution’s case as:
“It’s possible it happened this way;”
“somehow Blaise came into contact with Mr. Bailey;”
“Somehow, somehow, somehow, it goes on and on.”
Schieck explained that the prosecution was supporting their scenario of
the crime with the argument, “There is nothing to disprove
this so it must be true.” He told the jurors, “The
prosecution is actually defending themselves from the lack of evidence
and trying to convince you that somehow they have proved anything in
Schieck plainly asked the jury, “Isn’t it possible
that she wasn’t there and that’s why they have no
evidence? Isn’t it possible they are prosecuting an innocent
person? Isn’t that a possibility if they want to talk about
Schieck emphasized, “What happened in this case is a snap
judgment was made to arrest Blaise Lobato in Panaca, Nevada, and for
the next five years the state and the detectives have attempted to
prove their case after they made their arrest instead of doing it the
right way of getting your facts straight before you arrest someone and
charge them with murder.”
He encouraged the jurors to listen to Blaise’s taped
statement, telling them, “There is no evidence in that
statement that is going to convict her in this case.”
He also told the jury that when the defense presents an alibi defense,
the burden is on the state to disprove the alibi beyond a reasonable
doubt. Yet the prosecution presented no testimonial or documentary
evidence rebutting Blaise’s alibi of continuously being in
Panaca from the afternoon of July 2 until the early morning of July 9.
So she wasn’t even in Las Vegas when Bailey was murdered on
Schieck gave the jury a bit of a history lesson by telling them that
the prosecution’s burden of proving a defendant guilty beyond
a reasonable doubt was embedded in the Bill of Rights to prevent a
person such as Blaise from being convicted without any evidence. He
explained, “The burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt,
not, it’s possible.”
Kephart is an experienced prosecutor who knows from more than 100 jury
trials that evidence of a defendant’s guilt isn’t
necessary to win a conviction, as long as he is able to push the jurors
emotional buttons that make them bypass the thought process and feel a
defendant is guilty without being able to coherently articulate why.
Since the prosecution had no direct or circumstantial evidence upon
which to base an argument for the jury to find Blaise guilty, Kephart
resorted during his rebuttal to using his forceful personality to
command the jury’s attention while he made an emotion laden
zealous argument for a guilty verdict based on the theme that it was
too coincidental for a man to be non-fatally wounded by having his
groin area stabbed or cut as Blaise described in her statement, and six
weeks later for another man across town to have his penis severed after
he was dead.
Kephart’s argument bet that the all-white middle-class jury
could be induced to disregard that no evidence tied Blaise to
Bailey’s murder if they could be convinced that in July 2001
she was a thoroughly bad and depraved young women who would do anything
to satisfy what he alleged was her meth craving. Kephart’s
wild-eyed ranting about Blaise during his closing was in some ways
reminiscent of old film clips of fevered denunciations by Hitler and
other Nazis of Jews as subhuman and deserving of punishment.
Kephart’s closing emotional appeal to the jury was showing
them a large blow-up of Blaise’s picture taken when she was
arrested in Panaca on July 20. He thundered that the short-haired
bleach blond 18-year-old with no make-up shown in the picture is who
the jury was judging and should convict – not the attractive
23-year-old brunette with long “swept-back” hair
sitting at the defense table. As with DiGiacomo’s closing,
the defense allowed Kephart to run-off his mouth unrestrained by
After Kephart’s fire-breathing evangelical closing, some
trial observers might have been concerned the jury would rush out like
a lynch mob and convict Blaise in short order while in a fevered state
of mind. The jury began deliberating at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, October
5, and when they requested to go home at midnight, it was known that at
least one juror wanted to at least consider the evidence. The jury
resumed deliberating at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, the day before the
beginning of the Columbus Day holiday weekend. In mid-afternoon, after
more than ten hours of deliberation, they notified the bailiff they had
reached a verdict.
The jury convicted Blaise of voluntary manslaughter with a deadly
weapon and sexual penetration of a dead body. Schieck moved for
continuation of Blaise’s release on $500,000 bond. Kephart
opposed it, arguing she was a flight risk because she hadn’t
personally put up the bond money. Vega adopted Kephart’s
position and Blaise was taken into custody.
After the verdict, both Kephart and Schieck publicly expressed the
opinion that it was a compromise: some jurors wanted to acquit Blaise,
and others wanted to convict her of first or second-degree murder. But
on the eve of a holiday weekend, the jurors settled in the middle
rather than continue deliberating through the holiday, and possibly
even then be unable to reach a unanimous non-compromise verdict.
Judge Vega went along with the recommendation of her former colleagues
in the Clark County DA’s office and sentenced Blaise to the
maximum of 13 to 45 years in prison on February 2, 2007, even though
she was eligible for probation, she received a positive psychological
evaluation from both a prosecution and a defense expert, and there was
no evidence presented during the sentencing hearing that she poses any
danger to the community.
Almost six years after Duran Bailey’s murder, all the
physical evidence and evaluation of the crime scene points exclusively
to one or more males as the perpetrator. Yet Blaise has twice been
convicted in this death without any evidence whatsoever she was within
170 miles of Las Vegas at the time of his murder.
An examination of Blaise’s case reveals deep flaws in the
collection and testing of evidence, and the investigation, prosecution
and adjudication of serious crimes in Clark County, Nevada, and in a
larger sense, jurisdictions all across the United States. That is
because the same bureaucratic police, prosecution and judicial
processes and influences involved in Blaise’s case are
typical of those that prevail throughout the country. It is sobering to
consider, but there is every reason to think Blaise could have been
convicted – twice – anywhere else under the same
circumstances of an underfunded defense, detectives unconcerned about
the truth, prosecutors obsessed with “winning at all
costs,” and an overtly prosecution friendly judge who is a
former assistant DA. 42
be written at:
outside contact is:
Vegas, NV 89115-1808
Free Kirstin’s Website, http://www.justice4Kirstin.com
Hans Sherrer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Autopsy Report: Pathologic
Examination On The Body Of Duran Bailey, Clark County Coroner, July 9,
2001 (Las Vegas, NV).
2 Simms expressed that opinion
during Kirstin “Blaise” Lobato’s
Preliminary Hearing on August 7, 2001, based on the fact that when
examined by the coroner’s investigator at the crime scene,
“The body wasn’t manifesting any significant degree
of decomposition, so I would say he had died a lot closer to the time
he was discovered than not.” See, State v. Lobato, Case No.
C177394, Reporter’s Transcript of Preliminary Hearing, August
7, 2001, 32-33.
3 The State of Nevada v. Kirstin
Blaise Lobato, No. 40370, Transcript Vol. 5, 45, Testimony of Diann
Parker, May 14, 2002.
4 Id., 46
5 Statement to Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department by Laura Linn Johnson, Event
#010708-2410, July 20, 2001, pp. 2-3.
6 Contrary to Johnson’s
assertion, Lincoln County District Attorney Greg Barlow reports that
Blaise has never been investigated, arrested, convicted, sentenced, or
served any probationary term for any alleged violation of any law in
Lincoln County. District Attorney Barlow provided that information in a
letter dated January 4, 2007, to The Justice Institute/Justice:Denied,
in response to a Public Records Law request.
7 This relating of events is a
composite of Blaise’s statement to Detectives Thowsen and
LaRochelle on July 20, 2001, and conversations she had with other
people. See, Statement to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department by
Kirsten Blaise Lobato, Event #010708-2410, July 20, 2001, (hereinafter,
8 The testimony of Doug Twining
establishes the assault occurred on May 23, 24 or 25, just before the
2001 Memorial Day weekend.
9 These 24 details are documented in
two charts at,
10 The State of Nevada v. Kirstin
Blaise Lobato, No. 01F12209X, Dept. 2, Criminal Complaint, July 23,
11 The State of Nevada v. Kirstin
Blaise Lobato, No. 01F12209X, Dept. 2, Amended Criminal Complaint, July
12 Larry Lobato testimony on
October 3, 2006, at retrial of Kirstin Blaise Lobato.
13 William J Bodziak, Footwear
Examination Report, Forensic Consultant Services, March 27, 2002.
14 The State of Nevada v. Kirstin
Blaise Lobato, No. 40370, Transcript Vol. 3, 169, Testimony of Korinda
Martin, May 10, 2002.
15 Crime in the United States 2001,
Uniform Crime Reports, FBI, U.S. DOJ, Washington D.C., Table 6, Index
of Crime (There were 447 reported rapes in Las Vegas in 2001.).
16 Id. (There were 133 identifiable
murders in Las Vegas in 2001).
17 Crime in the United States 2001,
Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department
of Justice, Washington D.C., Table 2.9, Murder, Types of Weapons Used.
(A sharp object (knife, scissors, etc.) was involved in 13% of all
murders, and 24% of murders were committed with fists or an unknown
Defendant Denies Mutilation Slaying Charge, Glenn Puit, Las Vegas
Review-Journal, May 16, 2002.
19 “Reporting to the
police,” 2001 National Crime Victimization Survey, Bureau of
Justice Statistics (U. S. Department of Justice), p. 10. At,
20 Kephart didn’t just
argue this in court, but explained it to journalists during the jurors
deliberations and then after Blaise was sentenced on August 28, 2002.
See, Homeless man's killer sentenced, Las Vegas Review-Journal, August
28, 2002; Jurors Deliberate Severed Penis Slaying, Glen Puit, Las Vegas
Review-Journal, May 17, 2002.
21 The State of Nevada v. Kirstin
Blaise Lobato, No. 40370, Transcript Vol. 2, 38, Testimony of Lary
Simms, May 9, 2002.
22 The State of Nevada v. Kirstin
Lobato, No. 40370, Transcript Vol. 4, 124, Testimony of Thomas Wahl,
May 13, 2002.
23 Crime Scene Reconstruction and
Forensic Science Interpretation in State v. Lobato, Case No. C177394.
Forensic Science Resources, Case No. FSR2-02, May 31, 2002, p. 3. (Bold
in original.) This report was completed after Blaise’s trial.
24 Id., p. 3. (Bold in
25 Expert’s Testimony
Limited, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 17, 2002. (emphasis added)
26 Jurors Deliberate Severed Penis
Slaying, Glenn Puit (staff), Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 17, 2002.
28 Convicted Killer Turned Down
Plea Deal, Las Vegas Journal-Review, May 29, 2002.
29 Lobato v. State, 96 P.3d 765
30 Defendant Lobato’s
Notice Of Motion And Motion In Limine To Exclude Testimony Of Laura
Johnson, State v. Lobato, No C177394, District Court, Clark County, NV,
31 Defendant Lobato’s
Notice Of Motion And Motion In Limine To Exclude Inflammatory and
Cumulative Photographs, State v. Lobato, Case No. C177394, Dept II,
District Court, Clark County, Nevada, p. 4.
32 Kirstin Lobato’s
Motion To Dismiss Because The State Cannot Establish The Corpus Delicti
Of The Crime With Evidence Independent Of Defendant’s
Extrajudicial Admissions, State v. Lobato, Case No. C177394, Dept II,
District Court, Clark County, Nevada.
33 Id. at 6.
34 Defendant Lobato’s
Notice Of Motion And Motion In Limine To Exclude Witness Korinda
Martin’s Testimony …, State v. Lobato, Case No.
C177394 (“…the presentation of said testimony is
tantamount to suborning perjury.”)
35 Simms has twice revised his
estimate of Bailey’s time of death, even though the
information upon which he based his initial estimate remains unchanged.
36 Reducing a Guilty
Suspect’s Resistance to Confessing: Applying Criminological
Theory to Interrogation Theme Development, By Brian Parsi Boetig, M.S.,
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, August 2005 Volume 74 Number 8, United
States Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC 20535-0001. (Emphasis added to original.)
37 Report Re: Lobato, Michael D.
Laufer, MD , September 24, 2006, Interpretation of findings, No. 8., p.
38 Id., Conclusions, No. 5., p. 4.
39 Forensic Examination Report,
Brent E. Turvey, MS, October 17, 2005, p. 2.
40 Brent Turvey’s
testimony on October 2, 2006, at Kirstin “Blaise”
41 A chart of the alibi witnesses
is at, http://www.justicedenied.org/issue/issue_34/ alibi.htm
42 For a discussion of the
dominance of bureaucratic processes in the United States, see, The
Inhumanity of Government Bureaucracies, Hans Sherrer, The Independent
Review, Vol. 5, No. 2, Fall 2000, 249-264.