Two men accused of murdering two
transgender women last month in Puerto Rico have been indicted by a
federal grand jury.
Sean Díaz de Leon and Juan Carlos
Pagán Bonilla were indicted on four charges, including carjacking
resulting in death, using a firearm in relation to crimes of
violence, and destruction of property using explosive materials.
The women, Angelique Velázquez,
32, and Layla Pelaz, 21, were shot to death, their bodies placed in a
car under a bridge in the municipality of Humacao on the island's
southeast coast and set on fire.
Díaz, 19, and Pagán, 21, are accused
of killing the women on April 21. According to an FBI affidavit, the
men had sexual relations with the women at Pelaz's home. Pelaz told
Díaz that they were transgender after they had been intimate. Díaz,
who was furious, told Pagán that the women were transgender.
In an attempt to calm the men, Pelaz
proposed they go buy some marijuana to smoke and talk. Díaz shot the
women as Pagán drove Pelaz's car. The men then parked the car under
the bridge and set it on fire.
condemns new civil code in Puerto Rico, says it would “roll back”
The men have been charged under the
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. If
convicted, they could face the death penalty.
Five transgender people have been
murdered in Puerto Rico this year, including Velázquez