Kirstin Lobato could soon be a free woman after serving 16 years in prison. Despite her overturned conviction on December 29th in connection with the 2001 murder of a homeless man in which his penis was cut off, she was not immediately released. Lobato was to serve an additional year in jail for another charge. However, her lawyers believe a judge could soon issue an order for her release.
On Tuesday, the Nevada Attorney General’s office which handled the 2007 conviction for committing a sexual act with an inmate, sent the I-Team the following statement:
“Our office is in contact with Ms. Lobato’s counsel, and has informed them that we do not oppose their request to have the court reconsider the sentence from her 2007 conviction.”
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson spoke exclusively to the I-Team about the case on Tuesday. It’s the first time the DA has spoken publicly about Lobato.
Vanessa Murphy, Reporter: “Do you believe she’s an innocent woman?”
Steve Wolfson, Clark County District Attorney: “No.
Vanessa Murphy: “Why not?”
Steve Wolfson: “Well because 24 jurors, two separate groups of 12 listened to the evidence and the facts and circumstances and found her guilty.”
The Clark County judge who dismissed the case ruled Lobato didn’t have a fair shot when she was on trial in 2001.
For nearly two decades, Lobato insisted she was innocent.
There wasn’t any physical evidence linking her to the crime. Questions linger about the time of death since she was seen nearly 170 miles outside of Las Vegas before and after the crime, and she passed her polygraph tests.
But during the trial, Lobato’s statements about using a knife to fend off an attempted sexual assault that occurred about a month previous to the homeless man’s death in Las Vegas didn’t help her case.
Lobato’s conviction was taken on by the Innocence Project and the fight for her freedom, and in December Lobato was given a new trial.
Lobato was given a new trial because of ineffective counsel, meaning her previous lawyers should have done a better job at presenting evidence which could have helped exonerate her.
Wolfson said instead of pursuing the case again he asked for the case to be dismissed.
“This woman had spent over 15 years in prison, and that she was eligible for parole this year, I felt that it was fair and just to approach the court and inform the court that we were not going to seek a new trial,” Wolfson said.
Lobato’s attorneys say the hope is that a judge will sign an order for Lobato to be released by Wednesday morning. As of Tuesday night, she remained in custody at the Clark County Detention Center.