May 9, 2002, By GLENN PUIT, Las Vegas Review-Journal
A prosecutor told jurors Wednesday that a young woman’s own words link her to a mutilation slaying that occurred last summer.
In his opening statement, Chief Deputy District Attorney William Kephart said Kirstin Blaze Lobato told a teacher she cut off a man’s penis while fending off a sexual assault in Las Vegas.
He said these and other statements link the Panaca teen to the killing of Duran Bailey, a homeless man who was found beaten, stabbed and mutilated in a West Flamingo Road parking lot in July.
“His penis was found severed, completely cut off, in the trash around him,” Kephart said.
Deputy Special Public Defender Gloria Navarro told jurors her 19-year-old client was never at the crime scene.
She said Lobato, in her statement to the teacher, was referring to an unrelated incident in which she was sexually assaulted months before Bailey died.
“The reason why there is nothing to connect Blaze to the crime scene is because she wasn’t even in Las Vegas at the time,” Navarro said.
The two different scenarios were presented to a jury Wednesday afternoon on the opening day of the teen’s trial before District Judge Valorie Vega.
Lobato is charged with murder with use of a deadly weapon and sexual penetration of a dead body. If convicted of the murder charge, she faces at least 40 years in prison.
The body of Bailey, 44, was found behind a trash bin across the street from the Palms.
In describing the cause of death, a medical examiner pointed to two sets of injuries: head wounds caused by blows from a blunt object and stabbing and cutting wounds on the abdomen.
The medical examiner said Bailey was dead when his penis was severed and his rectum was stabbed and sliced.
About 10 days after the body was found, homicide investigators were led to Lobato after learning of statements she made to an adult-education teacher, the prosecutor said.
The teacher said Lobato told her she had severed a man’s penis in Las Vegas while fending off a sex assault.
“He had tried to put his penis in her mouth, so she pulled out a knife and cut his penis off,” Kephart said of Lobato’s account.
Kephart said the story could not be true because the medical examiner determined Bailey’s body was mutilated after death.
The prosecutor said Lobato told police that at the time of the encounter with Bailey, she was at the end of a three-day binge on methamphetamine and that she had been propositioned by Bailey.
“A dirty, old, stinky black man,” is how the defendant supposedly referred to Bailey, Kephart said.
“No one like that is going to do anything to me,” the prosecutor said Lobato told a cellmate at the Clark County Detention Center.
Before the trial, Lobato’s defense was expected to argue she was defending herself against a sexual assault. Bailey had been accused of rape by another Las Vegas woman a week before his death.
The expectation was furthered by an August courtroom revelation that Lobato was a victim of sexual abuse as a child.
But in court Wednesday, Navarro said Lobato had nothing to do with Bailey’s death.
The attorney said her client’s comments about defending herself against a sexual assault in Las Vegas were not a reference to Bailey’s killing.
Navarro said Lobato was talking about an attempted sexual assault against Lobato at a Budget Suites on the east side of town.
Navarro said that incident occurred in May 2001, months before Bailey’s death.
The defense attorney told the jury that bloody footprints found at the scene did not match Lobato’s shoe size. The crime scene prints were nearly three sizes larger than the size shoe Lobato wears.
“Kristin Lobato did not kill Duran Bailey,” Navarro told the jury. “She had never even been to that parking lot.”