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Kirstin's Story

Kirstin's story begins during Memorial Day weekend of 2001. A large black male assaulted her in a Budget Suites parking lot at Boulder Highway and Flamingo Road, a location from which many crimes have been reported.  Kirstin's attacker attempted to rape her and she defended herself by using a knife that had been given to her by her father. That knife and some basic self-defense training her father had also shown her enabled Kirstin to fight back by cutting the man in his groin area so she could safely escape the scene. As she fled, she saw the man curled up in a ball, apparently crying, so Kirstin believed she had inflicted a reasonably serious wound.


At the time the attack occurred, Kirstin had unfortunately fallen into a lifestyle that was unacceptable to her own upbringing and values she was earning her living by dancing in a strip club and also using illegal amphetamines. As a result of the drugs and lifestyle, Kirstin felt it would be pointless to report the attack to the police. A previous experience with reporting a rape had left her feeling shunned and helpless and she was convinced that the police did not care about nor would they ever believe "someone like her."


On July 2nd 2001, Kirstin made the decision to change her unfortunate lifestyle once and for all. She moved back to her parents' home in Panaca, Nevada with the immediate goal of getting completely off drugs. Shortly after Kirstin arrived in Panaca, her mother, Becky, became worried that something was physically wrong with her daughter. Kirstin was unusually lethargic and was sleeping much more than normal.  Becky decided to take Kirstin to see a doctor on July 5 th 2001, and the physician ordered blood samples for testing. Kirstin's blood tests showed that she was on the way to achieving her goal. The blood tests proved there were absolutely NO drugs in her system. The doctor also took a 24-hour urine collection from July 6 th through July 7th.  The urine tests confirmed the blood test results - complete absence of any drugs in Kirstin's system.


As Kirstin began to get re-settled at her parents' home, she began to relax and told some of her friends and a school teacher about her attack and self-defense with the knife on Memorial Day weekend.  Although Kirstin didn't know it, one of the people she told, the teacher, thought the attack should be reported and had apparently contacted the Las Vegas police who documented the information.


Between midnight on July 8th until the early AM July 9th, Kirstin's then boyfriend, Doug, drove from Las Vegas to Panaca. He had offered to help get her into a drug rehabilitation program. Telephone records show that there were several calls between Doug and Kirstin as he drove in from Las Vegas. He had no knowledge of the area and needed specific directions to her parents' house.  They then drove back to Las Vegas together the morning of July 9th.


On July 13th Kirstin called her father to ask him to please drive to Las Vegas to bring her back to Panaca. She discovered that Doug was not off drugs himself and Kirstin was determined to place herself in a drug-free environment. Her father came to get her.


Suddenly, on July 20th 2001 in Panaca,  Kirstin was placed under arrest by Las Vegas Homicide. It appeared that a result of the teacher's call to the Las Vegas police and a remote similarity in the cases, the police had decided Kirstin was a suspect. Kirstin was horrified to imagine that somehow the attacker against whom she had defended herself had later died as a result of her knife wound. The date of the crime was not mentioned to her by the police, so Kirstin incorrectly assumed the man who died was the same person as the one who attacked her.  She admitted that, in self-defense, she had used a knife the area of the attacker's penis (since he was trying to rape her). It seemed to her at that time, that since all she had done was use the weapon from her father and the self-defense techniques he had taught her to protect herself against a big man trying to rape her there was no reason not to tell the truth. And, the man was alive when she left the scene.


Kirstin unfortunately had no way of knowing that an entirely different crime had occurred to an entirely different victim in an entirely different part of town on an entirely different date and this victim had been murdered. The police failed to mention any of these factual discrepancies before getting Kirstin's signed "confession."  The second victim's body was discovered at 10:30PM on July 8th (and there is an 18-hour window during which he could have died). Kirstin was in Panaca during that entire time period.  The victim did not match the description of Kirstin's attacker, he had been a small man, not the large person Kirstin described. The murder victim's penis had been severed after death, he was beaten with a blunt instrument and anally stabbed. Furthermore, Kirstin's description in her confession about her own attack clearly states it occurred in an entirely different area of town. The police just disregarded this and took it upon themselves to assume since this girl was a stripper and a "druggie" she wasn't credible and just didn't remember things right (in reality her drug tests had come back clean and she was not on any drugs then or at the time the second crime occurred).  The only actual similarities in the case were wounds (albeit different ones) to the penis areas and both men were black.


When Kirstin's father found out from a newspaper article (the police never bothered to tell the date to the family either) the exact time of the crime for which Kirstin was charged, he knew Kirstin had been with him and the family at home. He was elated with this news and immediately contacted the detective on the case to so advise him. He told the detective that Kirstin could not possibly have committed the crime since she was with him, her mother and sister in Panaca at the time it occurred.  The detective told Kirstin's father that as far as he was concerned he had arrested and charged the right person and did not need any further information. This left Kirstin's father and family completely shocked. They were even more shocked when during his court testimony, this same detective actually denied ever having had such a conversation with Kirstin's father!  Kirstin's parents had also advised the state appointed Public Defender that Kirstin was at home in Panaca at the time of the crime and during the entire 18-hour "window" and also mentioned the phone records from the calls with Kirstin's boyfriend.  The lawyer, a former law teacher turned Public Defender with no criminal trial experience, unfortunately did NOT (or could not due to inexperience), effectively use this crucial information in Kirstin's case.


The Las Vegas police built their entire, very circumstantial case around Kirstin's unfortunate misunderstanding of her crime and subsequent "confession."  The obvious discrepancies and inconsistencies between her confession and the actual crime were attributed to Kirstin's "drug induced haze" with blatant disregard to the drug-free results of Kirstin's blood and urine tests. Eyewitnesses (including Kirstin's father, mother, sister, cousin, a visiting friend, and Kirstin's boyfriend at the time, Doug) as well as phone records confirm Kirstin was in Panaca at the time of the crime and during the entire 18-hour window during which the victim was murdered. To substantiate her eyewitness testimony, Kirstin's mother was given a polygraph test. She passed the test, verifying her testimony was completely truthful. Kirstin was given and passed three (not just one) separate polygraph tests, all supporting her story and her innocence. And, further, no physical evidence whatsoever was found at the crime scene linking Kirstin in any way to the victim. In fact, the actual physical evidence pointed to someone else entirely - someone whose identity remains unknown. This evidence included a bloody shoe print at the crime scene in a man's size 9 (Kirstin wears a woman's size 6) and DNA from a piece of chewing gum also obtained from the scene which was not that of the victim and certainly not Kirstin's. There were absolutely no traces of blood found in Kirstin's car and blood spatter indicate a person of Kirstin's size and stature could not have committed this act.  Kirstin's father knows for a fact that when he came home from work at half past midnight he saw Kirstin sleeping on the couch. Kirstin's mother (who passed a polygraph confirming the truth of this testimony) got up for work at 5:45AM the very next morning and saw her also, still asleep. In order for Kirstin to have committed the crime for which she was convicted, all of the following would have had to happen in UNDER five hours:  Kirstin would have had to drive 340+ miles in an old car that has problems at top speeds, would have to stop at least once to fill up her gas tank, find an alleged drug dealer and a drug deal that then went "bad," make a decision to kill the drug dealer, bludgeon him, cut off his penis post mortem, move the victim's body by herself to a dumpster where he was found, clean up every speck of forensic evidence from the crime scene and the dumpster, thoroughly clean and remove any and all blood and forensic evidence from herself and her car, change her clothes and dispose of the bloody ones she would have been wearing, and then be back asleep in the same pajamas on her parents' house in Panaca when her mother woke up. And, having a change of clothes and all the necessary cleaning materials pre-supposes Kirstin somehow knew in advance that the alleged drug deal would go bad. The timing of events and entire supposition of Kirstin's involvement is logistically and statistically virtually impossible! Again, Kirstin's defense attorney failed her by not explaining this critical information clearly to the jury.


The District Attorney offered Kirstin a plea bargain that would have required her to serve only three years in prison. Since there were so many discrepancies and the police had no actual evidence, the plea offer reflects the weakness of the Prosecution's case. Nonetheless, Kirstin declined the plea offer because she knew she was innocent, the facts and the evidence supported her innocence and at the time she trusted her lawyer, the Public Defender, would prove it. If she were guilty, this would have been a VERY good deal for her, so why would she turn it down unless she was truly innocent?


Kirstin's Public Defender did not object to a number of derogatory remarks made by the Prosecution about the Panaca community and Kirstin's "character" within hearing range of the jury. The Public Defender made a serious "technical" mistake by failing to give "proper notice" to the court pertaining to certain witnesses. This error proved quite significant in harming Kirstin's defense. It prevented an important expert witness from giving testimony regarding the crime scene blood spatters.  Had the attorney properly filed notice, this expert would have stated under oath that the blood spatters found at the crime scene were completely inconsistent with an injury that could be inflicted by a person of Kirstin's size. The expert was only allowed to testify that the bloody shoe print found at the scene of the crime could NOT possibly have been Kirstin's.


To beef up their case for the trial, the Prosecutor's office obtained the testimony of a jailhouse "snitch" who could supposedly link Kirstin to the crime.  This snitch's testimony completely mimicked the newspaper stories about the case and even included errors exactly the same errors just as they appeared in the news articles.  The prosecutor's office chose to ignore these obvious errors the snitch had clearly derived from the news. The prosecutor's office also ignored the fact that the snitch had unsuccessfully attempted every other means possible to try to obtain a prison release. With those efforts failed, she suddenly came forward with hearsay testimony against Kirstin.  Due to current laws preventing questioning witness character/credibility (NRS 48.045 and NRS 50.085) the Prosecutor was able to keep from the jury the violent nature of the snitch's own criminal background knowing that such information would have lessened or even ruined the credibility of her testimony. The inexperienced Public Defender did not even point out to the jury  her "deal" with the Prosecutor in exchange for this hearsay testimony.



Kirstin has been tried and convicted of first-degree murder due to her inability to afford a good defense team with sufficient resources, skills and time to give her the benefit of every fact, as a result of mistakes and inexperience of her Public Defender, highly dubious jailhouse hearsay testimony, because a detective had already made his decision and wasn't willing to bother to consider new information, without any factual support or forensic evidence, due to prosecutorial bias and prejudices, and for a crime that took place at a time when multiple witnesses swear under oath that she was more than 170 miles away. How could this happen?


It's time to do what's right!


Kirstin deserves her rights to a FAIR trial with competent representation

There are people in our media and legal system that care and can help do what's right

Please help us get the word out so we can help Kirstin get her rights and help our system to get it right this time!


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