Murderer Gets Life For Killing Transgender Woman

In a historic decision, Allen Andrade has been convicted of first-degree murder and a hate crime for his killing of 18-year-old transgender woman Angela Zapata (at left, her family reacts to the trial).

Andrade's defense attorneys claimed that Andrade reacted without premeditation, in a rage at finding out that Zapata was born male (which Guanabee suggests may have happened after the two had sex). One lawyer said, "Justin Zapata lived like a female, looked like a female, sounded like a female. That's what Mr. Andrade believed. And when he found it wasn't Angie, it was actually Justin, he lost control." But prosecutors countered that Andrade knew that Zapata was born male for 36 hours before he killed her, and that he did so "out of his dislike for homosexuals." The jury agreed, deliberating for only two hours before finding him guilty of both murder and hate crime — one of the first times hate crime law has been applied to a transgender victim. Andrade will serve a life sentence without parole.

A really telling — and disturbing — aspect of this case is the language used on both sides. Andrade's defense lawyers insisted on referring to Zapata as Justin, perhaps implying that Andrade's actions somehow made more sense because Zapata wasn't "really" a woman. Andrade himself referred to Zapata as "it" when he was first arrested. There's also an interesting contrast between the AP's description of Zapata as "biologically male" and the Times's "born male." Does the Times's version do a better job of acknowledging the complexities of biological gender?

Blogger Drew Wilson reminds us that Zapata's death was, sadly, not a first for Colorado. A Navajo teen, Fred Martinez, was killed in 2001 because he identified as a two-spirit, a Native American who occupies both male and female gender roles. Notably, his murderer, Shaun Murphy, was not convicted of a hate crime. The conviction of Angela Zapata's killer on this charge is the saddest kind of progress.


Murder And Hate Verdict In Transgender Case
[NYT]
Jury reaches verdict in Colo. Transgender Slaying [Breitbart]
As We Remember Angie, Let's Not Forget Fred [Drew Wilson, Denver Gay Examiner]
Breaking: Allen Andrade Convicted Of First Degree Murder [Feministe]
Defense Says ‘No Hate Crime' In Angie Zapata Trial, Prosecution Proves Otherwise [Guanabee]