May 10, 2002, By GLENN PUIT, Las Vegas Review-Journal
The person who killed homeless man Duran Bailey last summer unleashed a horrifying attack with blatant sexual overtones, a medical examiner said in court Thursday.
Testifying in the murder trial of Kirstin Lobato, Medical Examiner Lary Simms said he was responsible for performing an autopsy on Bailey in July, about a day after Bailey’s body was found in a West Flamingo Road parking lot.
Simms said the autopsy revealed Bailey, 44, had been stabbed in the testicles while alive. Simms said at the time this wound was suffered, Bailey’s pants likely had been pulled down around his knees.
In addition to inflicting this wound, Bailey’s killer broke both of his upper and lower jaws, knocking out six of his teeth, Simms said. Bailey’s head had been crushed from blunt force trauma, possibly from being struck by a bat, and he had been stabbed in the forehead, chin and neck.
Then, after Bailey died, his killer sliced off his penis and stabbed him in the rectum, Simms said.
“There was a gaping large wound to the scrotum. … The penis was amputated at the base,” Simms said.
This violent attack, authorities say, was carried out by the diminutive and slender Lobato, a 19-year-old Panaca woman who is both soft-spoken and well-dressed in court.
Lobato adamantly denies involvement in the crime.
Prosecutors, however, say Lobato was easily identified as a prime suspect in the case after she told several people she had cut off a man’s penis in Las Vegas.
In the opening arguments of the trial, defense attorney Gloria Navarro said these comments by Lobato were a reference to a sexual assault Lobato fended off in Las Vegas in May, months before Bailey’s death. Navarro said Lobato wasn’t even in Las Vegas at the time of Bailey’s slaying, and several witnesses are expected to testify to this when the defense begins presenting its case next week.
On the witness stand Thursday, Lincoln County adult education teacher Dixie Tienken said a distraught Lobato showed up at her doorstep last summer and talked about cutting off a man’s penis while fending off a sexual assault.
Outside court, Tienken said she believes Lobato is innocent. “I don’t think she did it,” Tienken said. “I don’t think she killed anyone.”
Another witness, Panaca resident Paul Russell Brown, testified that he overheard Lobato telling his girlfriend last summer of an account similar to the one told to Tienken.
“She was attacked by a man and she defended herself with a knife,” Brown said. “She reached down and cut off his penis.”
Brown said he has often disregarded Lobato’s stories because she was known to exaggerate.
“I’ve heard a lot of stories so I sort of let it slide,” Brown said.
And Brown’s girlfriend, Michele Austria, testified that Lobato told her only of having to use a knife to defend herself during a sexual assault. She said Lobato made no mention of cutting off a man’s penis.
Today, a Las Vegas homicide detective is expected to take the stand and accuse Lobato of confessing to cutting off a man’s penis in Las Vegas. The homicide detective also is expected to say Lobato told police she was in the midst of a three-day methamphetamine binge when Bailey was killed.
During this binge, Lobato said she had danced topless at a Las Vegas strip club and a swingers club, trying to earn money to fund her drug habit.
Prosecutors have yet to present jurors an exact scenario of how Bailey encountered Lobato, but authorities speculate Lobato might have been seeking drugs from Bailey when he was killed. Bailey had a small amount of cocaine byproduct in his system at the time of his death.
During a court recess Thursday, Clark County prosecutor William Kephart was asked to identify the killer’s motive.
“I believe the motive had sexual connotations,” Kephart said. “It was a drug-induced angry state (directed) at someone who wanted more than she was willing to give.