Denver Post
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_12165910
 
Officer Testifies Angie Zapata's Head Crushed
The Denver Post
April 17, 2009
Allen Andrade (Weld County Sheriff's Office)

A police investigator told Weld County jurors today what he saw when he responded to Angie Zapata's 400-square-foot Greeley apartment on July 17, the day after she allegedly was beaten to death by Allen Andrade.

Andrade is accused of killing Zapata because she was a transgender female.

Today was the first full day of Andrade's first-degree murder trial, and testimony is scheduled to end at 4 p.m. because of bad weather.

Investigator Clay Buckingham described the blood splatter around the victim's head and said Zapata's forehead appeared to be concaved and bashed in.

Prosecutors also showed a 20-minute video of the crime scene and produced autopsy photos of Zapata, but Judge Marcelo Kopcow ruled they would only be seen by the jury.

Testimony this afternoon is slated to include Ashley Zapata, Angie's sister.

Colorado Independent
http://coloradoindependent.com/26875/prosecutor-accused-zapata-killer-didnt-%E2%80%98snap%E2%80%99-at-transgender-%E2%80%98deception%E2%80%99
 
Prosecutor: Accused Zapata Killer Didn’t ‘Snap’ At Transgender ‘Deception’
By Ernest Luning
April 17, 2009
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Allen Andrade waits for the jury to enter in the Angie Zapata murder trial. (Pool photo/Eric Bellamy, Greeley Tribune)
Flanked by public defender Brad Martin, left, and investigator Marilynn Cullison, Allen Andrade waits for the jury to enter in the Angie Zapata murder trial April 16, 2009, in Greeley, Colo. (Pool photo/Eric Bellamy, Greeley Tribune)

GREELEY — A man who told his girlfriend “gay things must die” — as he sat in jail accused of bludgeoning an 18-year-old transgender woman to death with his fists and a fire extinguisher — was laughing and joking and didn’t really mean it, a defense attorney told jurors Thursday as the trial of Allen Andrade got under way. “This case is not about a judgment of lifestyle,” public defender Bradley Martin said in opening remarks. “This case is about a deception and the reaction to that deception.”

Andrade, 32, killed Angie Zapata in a fit of rage last summer after discovering she was transgender, Martin argued, urging jurors to reject first-degree murder and hate crime charges in the brutal slaying. “Allen [Andrade] had no idea until right before he started hitting this person that the person he thought was a she was actually a he,” Martin said in the Greeley courtroom of Weld County District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow.

Murder victim Angie Zapata, whose accused killer goes on trial April 14 in Greeley. (Photo/Zapata family)
Angie Zapata Murder Victim (Photo: Zapata Family)
 
Nonsense, a prosecutor said, promising to prove that Andrade didn’t “snap,” as defense attorneys have claimed, and that the accused killer wasn’t deceived that Angie Zapata was transgender. “This was not a snap decision,” prosecutor Brandi Nieto tld jurors.”The defendant knew for approximately 36 hours that Angie was biologically male.”

Attorneys spent two and a half days selecting a jury of 10 men and four women — including two alternates, who won’t be designated until the trial has concluded — before beginning testimony in the landmark case, the first in the nation to charge a bias-motivated, or hate crime in the murder of a transgender victim. Colorado is among 11 states and the District of Columbia that include protection for transgender victims in hate-crime statutes.

Quoting from transcripts of jailhouse telephone calls Andrade made to girlfriends, Nieto drove home the prosecution’s contention that Andrade committed a hate crime when he pounded a fire extinguisher against Zapata’s head, crushing her skull and leaving her “bloody, stiff and swollen on the floor,” covered with a blanket, the way Zapata’s sister discovered her the next day.

“It’s not like I went up to a school teacher and shot her in the head or killed a straight, law-abiding citizen,” Andrade told a girlfriend on the phone from jail. Another time Andrade disparaged a “pink-shirt wearing motherfucker,” and said “gay things must die.”

“The evidence will show someone who abhors homosexuals,” Nieto said. “Someone who hates transgenders and killed Angie because of it.”

Andrade’s defense attorney, however, pointed to the same calls as evidence his client could hardly believe he stood accused of a hate crime. Andrade and his girlfriend “are laughing and joking during the whole thing,” Martin said, as the two appreciate the absurdity that Andrade is “being held in custody on a bias-motivated crime charge he knows he didn’t commit.”

Jurors won’t hear evidence that Andrade belonged to a homophobic street gang that threatens to kill members who have had homosexual sex. Last month, the trial judge threw out testimony prosecutors had hoped to introduce that Andrade feared for his life after having oral sex with Zapata so decided to kill her to save face with his gang.

Both sides agree Andrade stole a car, credit card, purses and a cell phone from Zapata, and are only asking the jury to decide whether he killed her after deliberation or in a rage — and whether he killed her because she was transgender. It could mean the difference between a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for a first-degree murder conviction or an eight- to 24-year sentence for second-degree murder. Conviction on Colorado’s hate-crimes law could add three years to Andrade’s sentence.

In December, prosecutors filed habitual criminal counts against Andrade, based on prior felony convictions, which could quadruple any sentence he might receive. He also faces automobile theft and identity theft charges.

Andrade has been held without bond since his arrest in July, nearly two weeks after Zapata’s body was discovered on the floor of her Greeley apartment the day after she was murdered. Police arrested Andrade sitting outside his Thornton apartment blasting the stereo in a stolen car that belonged to Zapata’s sister. The accused killer told police he met Zapata on an Internet dating site and spent the night with her. Andrade said he received oral sex from Zapata but didn’t discover she was transgender until the next day when photographs he’d seen in her apartment raised his suspicions.

Zapata smiled at him and said, “I’m all woman” when he grabbed at her crotch and felt a penis, throwing him into a rage, Andrade told police. He admitted knocking Zapata to the ground and then bashing her head with a fire extinguisher. Andrade told police he thought he had “killed it,” according to court documents. While cleaning the apartment to remove traces of his presence, Andrade struck her again with the fire extinguisher when she made a “gurgling” noise and tried to sit up, before fleeing with her possessions, including the fire extinguisher.

When Andrade called Zapata “it,” the defense attorney said in opening remarks, he was simply exhibiting the same natural confusion many felt about the transgender teen, who had been living as a woman for years. “You’re also going to hear [Andrade] refer to Justin as an ‘it,’ ” Martin told jurors, using Zapata’s birth name as he did nearly every time he called the victim by name. Even police got confused, the lawyer said, adding, “Their own police reports switched back and forth between referring to Justin as a he and as a she.” Martin didn’t say whether police ever called the victim “it.”

Jurors likely won’t hear most of the account Andrade gave police the night he was arrested because Kopcow threw out most of Andrade’s confession obtained after he told investigators he wanted to stop talking.

Prosecutors plan to tell a different story, Nieto said. Phone records show the two exchanged nearly 700 calls and text messages in the week before Zapata’s murder, perhaps because Zapata was looking for a roommate. And though the two spent plenty of time in the close quarters of Zapata’s tiny apartment, Nieto said prosecutors plan to introduce DNA evidence proving Zapata didn’t engage in any sexual activity prior to her murder.

The day before she was killed, Andrade accompanied Zapata to municipal court and was there when they called the case, Greeley vs. Justin Zapata, Nieto said, putting into question Andrade’s claim he only discovered she was transgender the moment before he started pummeling her. Prosecutors plan to call court officials to testify that Zapata often showed up for traffic court with her sister or other women, so Andrade’s presence set off a round of “office gossip,” Nieto said. “Everyone knew Angie was transgender,” she said, and the presence of Andrade at her side set tongues wagging.

Perhaps Zapata brought a man with her to court, Andrade’s defense attorney countered in his opening statement, but it wasn’t his client. “None of them is going to point to Allen Andrade and say, ‘That’s the man that was here,’” Martin said.

The trial is scheduled to run through next Friday, though the judge warned jurors a brewing snowstorm could cancel court this Friday. Defense attorneys indicated Andrade will take the stand to testify in his own defense, which could happen Thursday if the trial stays on schedule.

Gay-rights and anti-violence groups have focused on the trial, hoping to bring attention to dangers faced by transgender people and others with different gender identities. A publicity campaign launched last week includes a Web site devoted to Zapata, transgender issues and a call for Congress to pass the Matthew Shepard Act which would strengthen federal hate-crime laws.

Progress Now Colorado paid for an ad featuring Zapta’s family and the slogan “End Hate” that ran in 22 newspapers across the state last week. The group is also sponsoring a visit to Greeley by transgender blogger Autumn Sandeen, who has been covering the Zapata trial via Twitter.

Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,516951,00.html
 
Defense Claims Transgender Murder Was a Result of Deception
Associated Press
April 17, 2009

GREELEY, Colo.  —  A man accused of killing an 18-year-old transgender woman knew she was biologically male for at least 36 hours and beat her to death with a fire extinguisher because he didn't like that fact, a prosecutor insisted Thursday.

But an attorney for Allen Andrade, 32, said the case is about the woman's deception and Andrade's reaction to that deception, not whether victim Angie Zapata's lifestyle was right or wrong.

"This girl that he had just spent the last day with, was in fact a man, and Allen snapped," defense attorney Bradley Martin declared in opening statements.

Andrade is accused of killing Zapata in July in this northern Colorado community.

He faces several charges, including first-degree murder and a bias-motivated crime, which could add three years to any prison sentence. He would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of first-degree murder and eight to 24 years if convicted of second-degree murder.

"The reason that he did this was because she was transgender and he didn't like that," said prosecutor Brandi Nieto.

"Regardless of who Angie Zapata was, nobody deserved to die like this."

Nieto told jurors that Andrade and Zapata had communicated nearly 700 times via text message, cell phone and computer between July 12 and July 16 as Zapata was apparently searching for a roommate. She said Andrade did not make a snap decision but rather decided to kill Zapata after the pair spent hours in Zapata's tiny one-bedroom apartment.

Andrade could have walked away once he learned Zapata was biologically male, Nieto said.

"Angie was possibly looking for a roommate. Perhaps it was the defendant who was looking for more," Nieto argued.

Martin, who repeatedly referred to Zapata as "Justin," said the deception started with Zapata's profile on a social networking site that said she was a straight female.

The two met July 15 and spent the day together, Martin said. Martin said there was no indication at the apartment that Zapata was a man, saying its details, including her clothing, indicated she was female.

"Even Justin's apartment smelled like a female," Martin said.

Andrade told investigators that Zapata performed oral sex on him but wouldn't let him touch her, according to an arrest affidavit.

After spending the night at her apartment, Zapata left Andrade alone, and Andrade noticed several photographs that led him to question Zapata's gender. When he later confronted Zapata, she answered: "I am all woman," according to the affidavit.

Presiding District Judge Marcelo Kopcow last month threw out part of Andrade's confession, saying police didn't honor his request to remain silent 39 minutes into his interrogation. Partial transcripts of tape-recorded jail calls in which Andrade allegedly told his girlfriend that he "snapped" and that "gay things need to die" were shown to jurors by Nieto.

Nieto also showed jurors a partial transcript of a jailhouse phone conversation where Andrade downplays the slaying.

"It's not like I went up to a school teacher and shot her in the head, or killed a straight law-abiding citizen," Andrade said, according to the transcript.

Martin said the jail calls were taken out of context as Andrade joked with his girlfriend about a crime he knew he didn't commit.

Andrade was arrested July 30, nearly two weeks after Zapata's sisters, Monica and Ashley, discovered her body under a blanket in her apartment. Andrade told investigators that he struck Zapata twice in the head with a fire extinguisher and thought he had "killed it" before striking her again as she struggled to get up, the arrest affidavit said.

Andrade is believed to be the first person tried for a hate crime under the sexual orientation section of Colorado's hate crime law, according to the New York and Los Angeles-based Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD. Colorado is one of 11 states to have such designations in their laws, GLAAD says.

Gay rights activists hope the case raises awareness for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal hate crime law, which would allow the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate crimes against gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.

Prosecutors also have filed a habitual offender charge against Andrade, who has five felony convictions, according to court records. That charge could add decades to any sentence.

Greeley Tribune
http://www.greeleytribune.com/article/20090417/NEWS/904169867/1002/NONE&parentprofile=1001
 
Allen Andrade: Stunned Victim Or Homophobic Killer?
Prosecutors, defense start making their case as jury is seated
By Sharon Dunn
April 17, 2009
Flanked by public defender Brad Martin, left, and investigator Marilynn Cullison, Allen Andrade waits for the jury to exit the courtroom in the trial for the murder of Angie Zapata on Thursday in Greeley. Andrade is charged in the beating death of Angie Zapata, a transgender woman. The Weld District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the murder as a hate crime.
Flanked by public defender Brad Martin, left, and investigator Marilynn Cullison, Allen Andrade waits for the jury to exit the courtroom in the trial for the murder of Angie Zapata on Thursday in Greeley. Andrade is charged in the beating death of Angie Zapata, a transgender woman. The Weld District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the murder as a hate crime.
 
Prosecutors on Thursday painted a picture of Allen Andrade as a homophobe lying in wait to kill his prey because of a severe hatred of homosexuals, while defense attorneys told jurors Andrade was stunned and motivated by a deception of the worst kind.

Andrade, on trial for first-degree murder in the death of Angie Zapata, admits that he snapped when he found out Zapata was biologically male on July 16 after spending three days with her. That night, police say, he struck her repeatedly with a fire extinguisher, disfiguring her head. She was pronounced dead the next day after her sister found her on the floor of her Greeley apartment.

Public defender Brad Martin said Zapata, who was born a male and whose given name

was Justin, looked so convincingly female that it was difficult for anyone to see her as a male.

“The evidence will show that Allen had no idea until right before he started hitting Justin that the person he thought was a she was not,” Martin said in his opening statements Thursday.

Attorneys finally seated a jury by noon on Thursday, after more than two days of questioning hundreds of jurors. The jury, consisting of 10 men and four women, spent the afternoon hearing attorneys describe vastly different pictures of the man presumed to be innocent at the defense table. By opening statements after lunch, the courtroom filled with members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, as well as with Zapata’s family and friends and two rows filled with members of the media, including TruTV and The New York Times.

The case has received national attention because it is the first murder of a transgender woman to be prosecuted as a hate crime. Advocates from the transgender community are watching the trial closely, including Autumn Sandeen, a transgender blogger from San Diego who writes for Pam’s House Blend, an online magazine targeted to the GLBT community. Representatives from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in Los Angeles also are on hand. Advocates hope attention paid to the trial will help advance national hate-crime legislation that’s been just missing the legislative stamp of approval for years.

Andrade and Zapata met on an online social networking site called Moco Space and had 700 communications before meeting in person. Martin said Zapata represented herself as a woman, and others saw her as such.

“This case is not about judgment of a lifestyle,” Martin told the jury. “It’s not about whether Justin Zapata’s lifestyle was right or wrong. It’s about a deception and a reaction to that deception. ... Justin’s Moco Space profile was that of a female, not of a transgender, and it certainly wasn’t that of a man.”

Deputy District Attorney Brandi Lynn Nieto told the jury that Andrade knew for 36 hours Angie was biologically male. He even attended a court hearing for a traffic ticket where clerks called for the case against “Justin Zapata.”

“You’ll hear a call to his girlfriend that demonstrates his hatred for homosexuals,” Nieto said. “It will give you a window into the defendant’s mind. It will show his bigotry, his prejudice and his bias against homosexuals.”

Nieto showed the jury transcripts of those calls, including one that said it was not like he was shooting a teacher in cold blood or a straight, law-abiding citizen.

“He makes it clear there is a difference between killing someone who’s homosexual and someone who’s not,” Nieto said. “He knew for some time she was transgender, and he brutally killed her because of it.”

The prosecution began putting witnesses on the stand Thursday afternoon, most of them identifying Zapata and the vehicle she drove, in which Andrade was later arrested.
 
New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/us/17transgen.html
 
Murder Trial Tests Colorado Hate-Crime Statute
By DAN FROSCH
April 17, 2009
 
GREELEY, Colo. — Angie Zapata was killed two weeks shy of her 19th birthday last summer, beaten to death with a flurry of fists and a fire extinguisher.

It was one of the most gruesome crimes this northern Colorado farming town has seen. The man accused of killing Ms. Zapata, Allen R. Andrade, 32, told the police that he had attacked her upon discovering that she was biologically a man, after the two met on the Internet and had a sexual encounter. In a chilling arrest affidavit, Mr. Andrade said he thought he had “killed it,” after striking Ms. Zapata in the head until she stopped breathing.

Now, Mr. Andrade stands accused of first-degree murder, in what national gay rights groups say is the first trial in which a hate-crime statute has been used to prosecute the killing of a transgender person.

Opening statements in the trial began Thursday before a packed courtroom here with prosecutors painting Mr. Andrade as a vicious homophobe who plotted to kill Ms. Zapata 36 hours after figuring out that she was born male.

“This is the person who spent time with her, talked to her and then, on the evening of July 16, picked up a fire extinguisher and bashed in her skull,” said Brandi Nieto, a deputy district attorney, who also contended that there had never been sexual activity between Ms. Zapata and Mr. Andrade.

“His statements will show he did this because she was transgender,” Ms. Nieto said.

Ms. Nieto also cited a recorded phone conversation from jail between the accused and a woman in which he said, “It is not like I went up to a schoolteacher and shot her in the head or killed a straight law-abiding citizen.”

Mr. Andrade, wearing a striped dress shirt, with a crew cut and tattoos on his hands, stared ahead as his public defender, Bradley Martin, said that Mr. Andrade had flown into a rage the moment he realized that Ms. Zapata was born male.

“This case is about a deception, and a reaction to that deception,” said Mr. Martin, who often referred to Ms. Zapata as Justin, her birth name. “Allen discovered that Angie, this girl he had spent the last night with, was in fact a man, and Allen snapped.”

The trial, expected to last at least a week, has drawn attention because of the grisly circumstances of Ms. Zapata’s death and because it may set a precedent on how hate crimes involving transgender people are handled.

In a ruling in March, Judge Marcelo A. Kopcow of State District Court in Weld County ruled that part of Mr. Andrade’s confession could not be introduced because it was elicited after he had told investigators he was finished answering questions. Arguments by prosecutors that Mr. Andrade killed Ms. Zapata because he feared repercussions from fellow gang members were also disallowed by Judge Kopcow.

But the judge let the hate-crime charge stand, and ruled as admissible the phone recordings, in which Mr. Andrade said, “gay things need to die.”

“One of the characteristics of hate crimes is the use of extreme brutality,” said Kelly Costello, director of advocacy at the Colorado Anti-Violence Program. “This is one of those cases, which is why it’s so important to see it designated as a hate crime.”

Colorado is one of 11 states, and the District of Columbia, that have hate-crimes laws that cover gender identity. That charge here carries an additional sentence of up to three years. Mr. Andrade is already facing life in prison for the first-degree murder charge.

According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, 21 transgender people were killed last year. Angie Zapata — young, working class and a minority — was strikingly similar to the other victims, said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“Here was this beautiful 18-year-old child who was murdered,” Ms. Keisling said. “I think it is unbelievable that somebody would do this and that we still live in a society where his excuse would be listened to.”

Here in Greeley, a largely conservative town where racial tensions have sometimes run high, the death of Ms. Zapata, who was popular but troubled, has prompted an outpouring of sympathy, particularly among young Hispanics.

Angie Zapata’s older sister, Monica, who discovered the body and will testify, said her sister had only wanted someone to love her for who she was.

Of Mr. Andrade, who is expected to take the stand, Ms. Zapata said: “I want him to spend the rest of his life in prison. He don’t deserve to be happy no more.”

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