All people experience struggles and Hardships in life, but there is nothing worse being accused of a crime you didn’t do. That’s what happens to a young woman who was accused of killing a homeless man in las vegas On July 8, 2001. Kirstin Blaise Lobato was convicted of murder in 2001 at age 18 and sentenced to prison for 45 to 100 years. It wasn’t until the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to helping those who have been wrongly convicted, took interest in her case that Lobato was found innocent and released from prison nearly 16 years after her original conviction. Now, at age 36, she is trying to rebuild her life.
The release came after a judge dismissed charges against Lobato, who has professed her innocence and appealed her case for years, twice winning new trials. Based on this evidence, all charges against Lobato related to the case were dropped. She was exonerated on Dec. 29, 2017 and released on Jan. 3, 2018.
“I knew, either way, I was going to be free. But there’s a big difference between all charges dismissed and all that stuff on your record, so I can’t even describe the feeling that I have inside knowledge that my name is finally cleared,” said Lobato who would have been up for parole in May had she not been found innocent.
“I feel so many things,” Lobato told reporters gathered outside the Las Vegas jail. “I feel awkward with all of you standing here. … You know what, I’d really like some coffee.” Wearing a prison-issued blue denim shirt over a white T-shirt with blue jeans and white gym shoes, she let out a hearty laugh. “I’m so overwhelmed and so happy and so grateful for all the people that have believed in me and fought for me all these years,” she said. “I feel so much emotion.”
“We are very pleased that this long struggle is finally over for Ms. Lobato and that she will finally be reunited with her family and friends,” said lawyer Vanessa Potkin, director of post-conviction litigation for the New York-based Innocence Project. As part of Lobato rebuilding her life, the Innocence Project teamed up with Glam4Good, an organization dedicated to helping deserving people feel they’re very best through style and beauty, to complete her wardrobe as she tries to re-enter the workforce. Lobato came to New York City for the Innocence Project’s annual gala on May 8, 2018, when Glam4Good pampered Lobato with a head-to-toe makeover that included a haircut, makeup, and a shopping spree in order to instill confidence in her for the event and beyond.