Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for April, 2009

Angie Zapata’s Murderer Found Guilty

Jim Burroway

April 22nd, 2009

It has just been announced that a Colorado jury found Allen Andrade guilty of murdering 18-year-old Angie Zapata. He was also found guilty of the additional hate crime enhancement as well as vehicle theft and identity theft. The charges carry a mandatory life sentence without parole.

Angie Zapata was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher on July 17, 2008 when Andrade discovered that she was a transgender woman. Andrade then stole her car, a 2003 PT Cruiser. It was that stolen car which led investigators to Andrade.

During the trial this week, jurors heard a tape of phone call Andrade made from jail to a girlfriend. In that phone conversation, Andrade said that “gay things need to die.” He also joked about his “celebrity” status which should fetch him $50,000 for his life story. That phone call was made just days after his arrest.

Colorado added gender identity to its hate crime law in 2005, making it one of only eleven states to include transgender protections. This is the first case in which Colorado’s hate crime law has been applied in a case involving a transgender person.

“Provoking Smile” Defense Rejected in Murder Case

Jim Burroway

September 19th, 2008

We’ve had some strange defense excuses in LGBT murder hate crime cases, excuses which often amount to blaming the victim. But the most outrageous example has to be this one: a defendant in a Denver-area murder case who complained that “she smiled at me.”

Yesterday, Weld County (Colorado) District Judge Marcelo Kopcow ruled against a motion to lower the charge in the case of murdered transwoman Angie Zapata from first degree murder to second degree murder. Her killers lawyers contended that the defendant, Allen Andrade, was provoked into killing her when she smiled at him:

Only when Andrade grabbed at Zapata’s crotch did he discover the truth. But when she smiled at him and said, “I’m all woman,” it drove an enraged Andrade to commit murder, attorney Annette Kundelius said.

“At best, this is a case about passion,” Kundelius said. “When (Zapata) smiled at him, this was a highly provoking act, and it would cause someone to have an aggressive reaction.”

Judge Kopcow ruled against the request, citing evidence that Andrade killed Angie deliberately, hitting her several times with a fire extinguisher. He also expressed anger against gays while in custody, and repeatedly referred to Angie as “it.” Judge Kopcow also declined to drop the hate crime charge in connection with the felony.