A Colorado jury has rejected the
trans-panic defense mounted by the man accused of killing a
transgender woman last July.
After less than 3 hours of
deliberation, jurors found Allen Ray Andrade, 32, guilty of the
first-degree murder of Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old transgender woman
formerly known as Justin Zapata.
here for a complete story background and case testimony.
Andrade, dressed in a fully buttoned
latte brown shirt, hung his shaven head as Judge Marcelo Kopcow read
the verdict that found him guilty of first-degree murder,
bias-motivated crime, aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first
degree and identity theft.
“I lost somebody so precious,” said
Maria Zapata, Angie's mother. “The only thing he can't take away
is the love and memories that I have of my baby.”
Andrade's lawyers concede he killed
Angie but attempted to reduce his sentence to second-degree murder
or manslaughter with a trans-panic defense.
Transgender rights advocates who have
rallied around the Zapata trial hailed the verdict.
“This is a landmark decision,” said
Mindy Barton, the legal director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and
Transgender Community Center of Colorado. “Hearing 'guilty on
first-degree murder' and 'guilty of bias-motivated crime' was a huge
emotional experience for all the family, friends and the supporters
of Angie. ... She will not be forgotten.”
Kopcow sentenced Andrade to life in
prison without parole, the mandatory sentence for a first-degree
murder conviction. The bias-motivated conviction would have added 18
months to his sentence if he would have been found guilty of a lesser
offense such as manslaughter.