By GLENN PUIT, May 17, 2002, Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
An expert hired by attorneys for slaying suspect Kirstin Lobato says physical evidence in the case should serve to exclude Lobato as the killer of a Las Vegas homeless man.
But a jury in the Lobato murder trial never got to hear most of what Louisiana forensics expert George Schiro had to say on Thursday.
This was because the district judge in the Lobato trial, Valorie Vega, agreed with a prosecution request to limit much of Schiro’s testimony.
“There is no evidence to tie Ms. Lobato to the crime scene,” Schiro said in an interview in a hallway of the Clark County Courthouse. “I feel the evidence is even exclusionary on her behalf.”
Authorities disagree. Prosecutors allege that Lobato has made several incriminating statements to witnesses, including the police, regarding the killing of Las Vegas homeless man Duran Bailey off West Flamingo Road in July. The man was bludgeoned and stabbed, then had his penis severed after death.
Lobato, 19, is being tried on charges of murder with use of a deadly weapon and sexual penetration of a dead body. She denied killing Bailey when she testified in court Wednesday.
Outside of court on Thursday, Schiro said a bloody footprint found at the crime scene was nearly three sizes larger than the shoe size Lobato wears. He said none of her fingerprints were at the scene and that authorities found in her possession no physical evidence linking her to the crime.
He said a piece of chewing gum found at the scene had Bailey and someone else’s DNA on it, but not Lobato’s.
But in court, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney William Kephart questioned some of Schiro’s qualifications and he successfully argued that prosecutors did not have enough time to prepare witnesses that he said could contradict Schiro’s testimony.
Vega ended up allowing Schiro to testify about his opinions regarding chemical tests for blood in Lobato’s car. Authorities said materials found in the woman’s car may have been blood, but Schiro believes it was not human blood.
Schiro also was allowed to testify about how fingerprints are lifted.
Testimony in the trial is expected to continue today.