Kirstin Lobato walked out of Clark County Detention Center just before 2 p.m. into the arms of her family and friends.

She could barely contain her joy.

“I feel overwhelmed, excited, grateful,” she said. “I’m so excited.”

She spent nearly 16 years in prison after she was convicted for the murder of a homeless man. All along, she maintained her innocence.

The Innocence Project took on her case even without DNA evidence. Lobato said she was three hours away when the crime occurred. None of that information made it to the jury.

“The reason we took it on is that there was such compelling evidence at that time and she was completely innocent. Her case was a complete injustice, to us, and we wanted to jump onboard to help,” said Vanessa Potkin, director of post conviction litigation for the Innocence Project.

Last week, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez dismissed the murder case against Lobota. Her freedom was imminent but the Department of Corrections said Lobato would have to serve an additional year due to her conviction on a sex case while in prison.

On Wednesday morning, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez granted a motion for the immediate release of Lobato giving her credit for time served on the sex charge.

Lobato was just a teen when she entered the prison system.

“She was 18 when she went into prison, so all of her young adulthood has been taken away from her for no reason.” But we are excited for her going forward and for her to rebuild her life.” Jane Pucher, attorney, Innocence Project.