Prosecutors in the first-degree murder
trial of the man accused of killing a transgender woman last July are
preparing their closing arguments in a Colorado courtroom today.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberations this afternoon, reports
CNN's In Session.
Angie Zapata was eighteen last summer
when she met Allen Ray Andrade, 32, on MocoSpace.com, a social
networking site run through mobile phones. On July 14, 2008, she
borrowed her sister's PT Cruiser and traveled more than 50 miles to
pick up Andrade and bring him to her tiny Greeley, Colorado
apartment, where the pair shared several days together.
Andrade has confessed to killing
Zapata, formerly known as Justin Zapata, in a fit of rage when he
confronted her about her sexuality. He beat her first with his fists
and then with a fire extinguisher and beat her a second time when he
realized she wasn't quite dead, police allege.
Defense attorneys have mounted a
trans-panic defense for Andrade they hope will minimize his sentence
from life in prison down to possibly 25 years. They say Andrade
killed Zapata because he was “deceived.”
“This is not about judgment of
lifestyle,” Martin said in opening remarks. “This case is about
a deception and the reaction to that deception.”
But prosecutors, who have also charged
Andrade with a hate crime, disagree.
“This was not a snap decision,”
Prosecutor Brandi Nieto told jurors. “The defendant knew for
approximately 36 hours that Angie was biologically male.”
Zapata self-identified as a woman as
early as 2004, jurors learned. Nieto told jurors that the day before
she was killed, Andrade accompanied Zapata to municipal court to
respond to a traffic ticket issued under the name Justin Zapata.
And, Nieto said, if Andrade didn't know before then that Zapata was
transgender, then he certainly found out at the courthouse.
The trial opened with gruesome photos
of the victim and the murder scene: Zapata lying supine in her
apartment living room, dressed in black plants and a white shirt; a
photo of four forty-ounce Budwiser bottles, stacked neatly in the
sink; another of a bottle of rum and a bottle of vodka on top of the
fridge; and a blood-stained blanket and a pink vibrator on the floor
next to Zapata's bludgeoned body.
Jurors also heard taped jailhouse calls
between Andrade, a former girlfriend and a current girlfriend.
Andrade told former girlfriend Angie
Tyree, “It's not like I went up to a schoolteacher and shot her in
the head ... or like I killed a law-abiding straight citizen.”
Felicia Mendoza and Andrade reconciled
their on-again-off-again relationship in the days following Zapata's
death. Andrade drove to her home the day he killed Zapata, in the PT
Cruiser. He told her he bought the car from a co-worker and showered
her with roses he had bought and two purses he had stolen from
Andrade was arrested on July 30,
sitting outside Mendoza's home in the PT Cruiser.
An emotional conversation between the
pair where they discuss the murder was played for jurors, “It was a
mistake,” Andrade told her, “... somebody died ... I met this
female; at least I thought it was ... I just snapped.”
On the final day of testimony, lab
agents said they found Andrade's DNA on three items: a cigarette
butt, one of the purses Andrade gave Mendoza, and the pink vibrator.
Sarah Lewis, a lab agent with the
Colorado Bureau of Investigation, testified that a high level of
Andrade's DNA was found on the vibrator; levels found in blood or
saliva. Nieto asked if the sample is consistent with DNA found
inside of someone's rectum. Lewis answered yes.
Seven members of Zapata's family and
“I worried about her all the time”
over taunts Angie endured since she was a little boy, Angie's sister
Monica said. After not hearing from Angie for several days, she went
to her apartment, where she found her sister's bloody body.
Andrade has decided not to testify on
his own behalf.