LAS VEGAS — More than 125,000 people have joined a new campaign on www.change.org calling on Clark County District Attorney Steven Wolfson to allow evidence from a 2001 murder to undergo DNA testing. The petition was started by Michelle Ravell, a longtime friend of convicted murderer Kirstin Blaise Lobato, who says DNA testing will further prove Lobato’s innocence in the murder of homeless man Duran Bailey.
District Attorney Wolfson has reportedly refused to allow the tests to occur. “DNA doesn’t lie,” Ravell said about her campaign on Change.org. “And I can’t understand why a District Attorney wouldn’t want to test all the evidence.” Ravell started her petition after the Innocence Project, an organization whose DNA testing work has freed 292 innocent people from prison, offered to pay to test 13 pieces of evidence related to the crime using the latest in DNA technology. “This isn’t just about proving Kirstin’s innocence, it’s about finding the real killer,” Ravell said. “That’s why over 125,000 people have signed my petition.” Lobato has long maintained her innocence and was convicted without any physical evidence tying her to the crime scene. None of the evidence already tested for DNA or the four identifiable crime scene fingerprints matched Lobato, and a bloody shoe print found next to the body was determined to come from a “U.S. men’s size 9 athletic shoe.” Lobato passed a polygraph exam, and multiple people testified that she was nearly 200 miles away from the Las Vegas crime scene at the time of the murder. Last year, two of the jurors who voted to convict Lobato in 2006 signed affidavits supporting a new trial and and stated that had they been presented with the evidence that is now available, the jury’s deliberations “could have possibly resulted in either a hung jury or Ms. Lobato’s acquittal.” A previous campaign on Change.org helped persuade the state of Texas to grant DNA testing to death row inmate Hank Skinner. “Petitions involving DNA testing are becoming increasingly popular on Change.org because the latest testing techniques are demonstrating that sometimes, innocent people go to prison,” said Change.org Senior Campaigner Jonathan Perri. “Without money for expensive lawyers, starting a petition on Change.org can be great way to highlight flaws in criminal justice cases and Michelle Ravell’s petition is a prime example of this.” Live signature totals from Michelle Ravell’s campaign can be seen at www.change.org/kirstin. District Attorney Steven Wolfson can be contacted by calling 702-671-2500, emailing email@example.com or visiting the Clark County District Attorney’s Office located at 200 Lewis Avenue in Las Vegas. Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by two million new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.