By GLENN PUIT , May 19, 2002, Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
In a verdict read shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday, a Lincoln County teen-ager was found guilty of murder in the death last year of a homeless man whose penis was severed after death.
Kirstin Lobato, 19, stood still as the verdict was read in the courtroom of District Judge Valorie Vega.
But within minutes, she sat at the defense table and wept. A tissue in her hand, she looked toward the ceiling of the courtroom.
Lobato had been free on house arrest during her trial on charges arising from the July 8 slaying of Duran Bailey, 44. Following her conviction, she was placed back in custody.
She will remain in the Clark County Detention Center pending her July 2 sentencing hearing before Vega.
The prosecution and defense have agreed to recommend a sentence of 40 to 100 years in prison for the first-degree murder conviction. Lobato could have been sentenced to life without possibility of parole on that count.
Jurors also found her guilty of sexual penetration of a dead body, a felony carrying a possible sentence of five years to life.
Jurors heard seven days of testimony before listening to closing arguments that ended Friday night. Vega then told jurors they could go home and commence deliberations at a later date.
Instead, jurors opted to start their deliberations at about 9 p.m. The jury reached its verdict about five hours later.
Bailey was killed behind a trash bin in a parking lot on West Flamingo Road. Prosecutors had offered several possible motives for the crime.
They said Lobato was at the end of a three-day methamphetamine binge when the slaying occurred, and speculated she had agreed to trade sex for drugs. The killing might have occurred when Bailey failed to keep his end of the bargain, prosecutors said.
They also said Lobato, who was sexually abused as a child, might have acted because of her anger toward men.
Regardless, prosecutors said they believe Lobato was on her knees in front of Bailey when she produced a butterfly knife and stabbed him in the testicles. This incapacitated Bailey, and left him unable to defend himself as he suffered numerous other stab wounds, including a potentially fatal one to the neck.
Prosecutors said Lobato then retrieved a baseball bat and beat Bailey to death. After this, she cut off his penis and stabbed him repeatedly in the anus.
“In this case, there was a tremendous amount of evidence in bits and pieces,” Chief Deputy District Attorney William Kephart said after the verdict was read. “The jury seemed to be able to put them all together.”
Special Public Defender Phil Kohn told jurors there was no physical evidence that tied Lobato to either the crime scene or to Bailey. He noted that a bloody footprint three sizes larger than the shoes Lobato wears was found next to Bailey’s body.
He also reminded jurors that another woman accused Bailey of raping her just a week before the slaying.
During the trial, Lobato testified that she never met Bailey and was not present when he died.
Prosecutors then confronted her with the statements of police and others who said she told them about stabbing a man in the penis. Lobato said she was referring to an unrelated incident in which she stabbed at a man’s groin area while she fended off a May 2001 sexual assault near Boulder Highway.