Justice For The Family Of Brutally Murdered Angie Zapata

There were tears of grief and also a sense of justice in the Greeley, Colarado, court room as Maria Zapata and her family (pictured) learned on Wednesday that Allen Andrade had been found guilty of the brutal murder of Maria Zapata’s transgender daughter Angie Zapata (pictured second from the right), as well as charges of a bias-motivated crime (hate crime) and motor vehicle and identity theft, making this a landmark ruling and a gain for transgender-rights.

The jury in the Angie Zapata case took just two short hours to return a guilty verdict, and whilst there was some speculation that they might find Andrade guilty of a lesser crime due to claims of a “trans-panic” defense, the jury saw fit to implement the full letter of Colorado law and use the hate-crime protections that make Colorado one of the leading states in this field. It is thought that Andrade is the first person to be tried in America under a hate crime against a transgender person.

Young Angie Zapata (18 at the time of her murder) had been living as a woman since a young age but was still biologically male. She and Andrade (32) had met online and later begun seeing one another in the flesh and building a relationship. The details, even now, remain sketchy, but at the time the trial began it was thought that Mr. Andrade, at some point, figured out that Angie Zapata had been born male.

The trial heard that Andrade did not act immediately upon this realization, but instead waited until Zapata was possibly asleep or at the very least defenseless, and then kicked and punched her before finally beating her with a fire extinguisher.

This is spurious however. As the Advocate reports, the prosecution contested that the website Andrade and Zapata met on was a gay related dating site, and that Zapata had, at all times, been up-front about her sexuality and gender expression. They challenged Andrade that he had, in fact, known about Zapata’s gender identity throughout their relationship and that he had intended, from the very first moment they made contact, to kill Angie Zapata due to his deep hatred of both homosexuals and transgender people.

At any rate, Mr. Andrade, taking the fire extinguisher with him, then stole Zapata’s car as well as pictures of Zapata that indicated her previous identity as a young man, and drove away. Police eventually tracked Andrade down because of the stolen vehicle, and took Andrade into custody. Throughout the trial, the court heard various homophobic remarks made by Andrade such as when he contended he was justified in killing “it” (Angie Zapata) and that, during a telephone call to a new girlfriend, had commented that “all gay things need to die”. 

Indeed, according to prosecutor Robb Miller “The only time [Andrade] showed any emotion is when he was talking about homosexuals.” During closing statements, Miller explained why this crime had to be thought of as bias-motivated as well as being that of first-degree murder, “It was clear that Mr. Andrade valued Angie Zapata’s life less than he did other lives… a life sentence is what justice demands in this case and that’s what I’ll ask the court to impose.”

Addressing Andrade directly following the verdict, Judge Kopcow said, “I hope, Mr. Andrade, as you’re spending the remaining part of your natural life in the Colorado Department of Corrections… that you every day think about the violence and brutality that you caused this fellow human being and the pain you have caused not only on your family but the family of Angie Zapata”.

With the conviction of first-degree murder (without chance of parole and a mandatory life sentence in affect) the hate crime charge is redundant so far as the duration of the actual sentence, but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups throughout the U.S. have hailed the bias-motivated conviction as a landmark ruling that can only add impetus to a push for a federal hate-crime law – called the Matthew Shepard Law after the brutal murder of gay Laramie teenager Matthew Shepard. Find out how you can help the cause below.

Because of the nature of the trial, Angie Zapata’s life will not be forgotten, as her death and the subsequent hate-crime ruling has made a quiet bit of history and marked another step along the path in ensuring that LGBT people are given protections from those such as Mr. Andrade who think it is acceptable to perpetrate violent crimes based on their misguided hatred of a person’s sexuality or gender expression.

Though this verdict can not heal the wounds that the Zapata family will no-doubt feel throughout their own lives, perhaps knowing that Angie was far from a nameless, faceless statistic as so many other transgender victims have become, will offer them a little comfort and allow them to know that their son, who then became their daughter, has now transformed into a symbol of hope that by meeting these sorts of atrocities with the punishment they deserve, one day violence against LGBTs can be stopped.

Action You Can Take:
Tell President Obama America needs a Federal hate-crime law by signing this Care2 petition.


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to ProgressNow Colorado

4 comments

Carol H.
Past Member 10 years ago

I watched that trial from beginning to end all I wanted to do is go through my TV and kill him myself. How dare he say that he didn't know the situation how dare him. He was on the web site trouling for this and he got this innocent child who needed to be loved and killed her because he was afraid of the gang members might find out of something I know not what he makes me want to throw up and that is a fact.
I could tell just by looking at her that he was a male and her voice the same but if she was happy as female more power to her.
How dare that piece of trash even be in the same room with Zapata Family and still be breathing. He should fry TODAY and that is a fact.

MAY GOD BLESS THE ENTIRE ZAPATA FAMILY NOW AND FOR ALL TIME AS I AM SURE HE WILL!!!

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Cherry Marrone
Cherry M10 years ago

My heart aches for the Zapata family but at the very least a small amount of justice has been served and this monster is off the streets. Why can't we just "live and let live"?

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Alice B.
Alice B10 years ago

Remember: it was "President" [sic] George Dubya Bush who REFUSED TO SIGN THE HATE-CRIME LEGISLATION INTO LAW. If the law had been in force the murderers of Angela Zapata would have had a federal law violation to consider well before they tortured Angela to death. It is the top-down tacit approval for LGBT GENOCIDE that AIDS AND ABETS these heinous and horrific crimes in the first place.
Not only is Dubya/Cheney & Co a gang of War Criminals worldwide - that gang has been the inspiration and aiders/abetters of the torture/hate-crime GENOCIDE AT HOME.
SIGN THE PETITION - AND BEGIN TO EDUCATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS ABOUT LGBT GENOCIDE. TAKE THE RISK TO CHALLENGE A FRIEND, COWORKER AND FAMILY MEMBER ABOUT THEIR HOMOPHOBIA - MY AND ALL OTHER LGBTs' LIVES DEPEND UPON YOUR BEING OUR ALLIES. THIS IS NO FRICKIN' JOKE - THIS IS OUR REALITY.

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Eva S.
Eva S10 years ago

I am happy for the Zapata family that justice was done and served. No one has the right to take another's life. I know this won't take away their pain or loss but they have some closure. I will pray for everyone involved.

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