May 11, 2002, By GLENN PUIT, Las Vegas Review-Journal
A jailhouse informant told jurors Friday that Kirstin Lobato took pride in giving graphic descriptions of how she killed and mutilated a man last summer in Las Vegas.
“She was boasting about it,” said the witness, Korinda Martin.
Martin, 22, said she met Lobato on July 23 at the Clark County Detention Center and kept a log of her conversations with the murder suspect.
The informant said she recalled one conversation in which Lobato commented, “Yeah, I did an overkill, but he deserved it.”
Martin said Lobato made the comment after prosecutors filed a new charge in her murder case: sexual penetration of a dead human body.
In other conversations, Martin said, Lobato admitted cutting off the victim’s penis and stabbing him in the anus. The witness said she contacted authorities after Lobato said she planned to avoid a murder conviction by falsely claiming the victim had tried to rape her.
“I didn’t feel that was right,” Martin said.
Martin, who is serving a prison term for robbery and coercion, said Lobato knew the victim and had picked him up on West Flamingo Road because she wanted methamphetamine.
“She referred to him as Darrin,” the informant said.
Lobato is accused of killing Las Vegas homeless man Duran Bailey, 44. The man was stabbed and beaten, and his genitalia were mutilated after his death.
“You’ve never mentioned ‘Darrin’ before today, have you?” Special Public Defender Philip Kohn asked Martin during cross-examination Friday.
“When I was being interviewed? No,” the witness replied.
Upon further questioning by Kohn, Martin also denied learning details about the slaying from news accounts. She said she saw no television news in jail, and Lobato clipped out all newspaper articles about the case before other inmates could read them.
Earlier in the trial Friday, prosecutors played a taped statement in which Lobato confessed to police that she had cut off a man’s penis while fending off a sexual assault.
A weeping Lobato, 19, told police she was in the midst of a three-day methamphetamine binge and that she remembered little of what actually happened.
“I grabbed for as much as I could hold down there,” Lobato told Las Vegas police Detective Thomas Thowsen in a recorded statement made prior to her arrest in July. “I just remember grabbing as much as I could, but I don’t remember if I used an upward or downward motion.”
Prosecutors contend that these words prove Lobato, of Panaca, is the person who killed Bailey in a West Flamingo Road parking lot in July.
But Lobato’s defense attorneys have said these comments were not in reference to Bailey’s slaying. In her opening statement, Deputy Special Public Defender Gloria Navarro said Lobato was referring to an incident in which she fended off a sexual assault during a Las Vegas encounter with a man in May, an incident Navarro said occurred months before Bailey was slain.
Lobato told the detective in her taped statement that she was severely impaired by three days of methamphetamine consumption at the time she fended off the sexual assault.
She said the man she fended off had attempted to sexually assault her when she pulled out a knife and defended herself.
She then said it was possible that she had also struck him with a baseball bat. “I have a baseball bat that I keep behind my (car) seat,” Lobato said.
Lobato, who cried throughout the police statement, also revealed she was the victim of extensive sexual abuse as a child.
“When I was 5 years old, I was tortured every day for a year by my mother’s boyfriend,” Lobato said. “She knew about it, but she allowed it to happen.”
After the taped statement was played, Thowsen testified that when he arrested Lobato at her Lincoln County home, she made other incriminating statements to her parents.
“Mom, I did it,” the detective quoted her as saying. “I have to do what I have to do.”
Lobato is charged with both murder with use of a deadly weapon and sexual penetration of a dead human body. If convicted of either charge, she could face a potential life sentence. The defense’s case is expected to be presented in court sometime next week, and several witnesses are expected to say that Lobato was not in Las Vegas at the time of the killing.