Bil Browning

Angie Zapata murder: Guilty on four counts

Filed By Bil Browning | April 22, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Allen Ray Andrade, Angie Zapata, breaking news, hate crimes against LGBT people, identity theft, murder, transgender

Breaking news: Allen Ray Andrade has been found guilty of first degree murder, car theft, identity theft and committing a hate crime for the murder of transgender woman Angie Zapata. The sentence will be life without parole.

Justice is served.

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and let the word be heard, the gay panic defense is dead.

better be dead.

I feel a sense of hope for the justice system.

For once the Twinkie defense didn't work.

Well, it was pretty obvious he did it and that it wasn't in a fit of rage or anything.

Sadly, this verdict has no effect on the ability of future defendants raising trans or gay "panic" defenses. Hopefully, it will, at least, make it clear to prosecutors that those defenses can be defeated and that they shouldn't allow the threat of such a defense to persuade them to allow a defendant to plead to manslaughter or other lesser offense, as happened with some of the defendants in the Gwen Araujo case, and the defendant in the murder of Amancio Corrales. Only a change in the law of every state that allows a "heat of passion" or similar defense to preclude the use of the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity or expression to mitigate cold-blooded murder can guarantee that never again will a victim be put on trial, as Angie Zapata was in this case.

You're the expert - can you see any grounds for appeal that have a realistic chance of success? I know it's a crap-shoot, anything is possible, but what are the odds of the verdict being overturned?

"It's not like I just went up to a school teacher and shot her in the head, you know what I mean? It's not like I went up to a law-abiding straight citizen."
It seems that at least in Greeley, Colorado, from this day forward, yes it is.

No matter what the final outcome, that is a great victory.

As significant - and unlikely - a victory as a white man being convicted of murdering a black woman in Alabama in 1950.

Why did a girl who had just turned 18 have to die to gain it though? Some prices are too high to pay.

Zoe, the short answer is that, based on what I know today, I think the chance of a successful appeal is slim to none. Hopefully, later today, I'll have a post up here explaining some of my reasoning.

I, too, wish that our community could have achieved all that this verdict will hopefully bring us without Angie and her family having to pay such a horrific price.

In a case like this, there is no true justice available. A beautiful young woman is gone forever and there is no changing that. The best we can hope for is that the person responsible for such a horrific injustice is held to account for it.

We can take solace in knowing that a murderer will be made to pay for his crime, and in knowing that this jury demonstrated something in deciding this case that should give all of us hope for the future, but there is no justice to be had in this kind of tragedy, not now and not ever.

christophe | April 22, 2009 9:34 PM

BEST news I've heard all day

Kathy Padilla | April 22, 2009 10:41 PM

"Justice is served."

What you said, Bil.

Sure people will still try and use the panic defense, but it will be harder to get away with it. This jury saw past the prejudice to the person and the crime. Others will do the same.

CailleanMcM | April 22, 2009 11:47 PM

There is no justice for Angie; the justice is for the rest of us left behind. For once, we are not as disposable in a courtroom as our rights are in a legislative caucus room.

For far too long, the wrist slap sentences of those who slaughter us have gone largely unremarked. What would have been the reaction of the G/L community if Matthew Shepard's murders had gotten four years or less? The White riots in San Francisco suggest the response.

But so many of our deaths go unsolved by uninterested law enforcement, and so many of our killers walk after token incarcerations.

Not today, not this day.
We are ever the slightest bit safer tonight because, for once, there were consequences for killing one of our sisters.

Best line in the thread. Thanks for expressing what I meant in my hurry to get the verdict online...

There is no justice for Angie; the justice is for the rest of us left behind.

I am with Bil, Caillean. That line sums it all up.

I don't find justice done here. Angie Zapata is still dead, and Allan Andrade gets to live as a leech of the state of Colorado for, possibly, decades.

If ever there was a case that justifies the existence (and, in the case of Colorado, shows the need for) the death penalty, this one is it. Andrade is a rabid dog, and should have been put down like one. Given that Colorado has made the mistake of abolishing the death penalty, I hope Andrade meets a rapid and painful end at the hands of his cellmates, followed by an eternity in hell. It is the least he deserves.

I do hope that people are keeping in mind that this decision in no way makes it any safer for someone to take chances like Angie did. I agree completely that justice is served, but no amount of justice can ever replace simple common sense.

It worries me that some fail to remember the old adgage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

No matter how much we believe that a person should stop and consider before killing someone because they discovered a penis where they did not expect one, it is not always going to happen. And even in cases like this one, where there was clearly some knowledge a considerable time before the murder, things can go bad very quickly. The message still needs to be one of caution.

Suzanne, what "chances" did Angie take? Was it to spend time with a guy to whom, as the jury found and you yourself acknowledge, she had outed herself more than a day before he beat her head in with a fire extinguisher? What would you have had her do differently? Stay home behind closed doors for the rest of her life? Never date another guy? Of course, cisgender women aren't always our best friends either, so never date anyone? Or at least never be alone with a date until she feels safe? But how long is long enough to feel safe? The evidence showed that she gave Andrade at least 36 hours. Evidently, that wasn't long enough.

The implied criticism of Angie that continues despite the evidence that she did everything people say she should have done to be safe just really pisses me off. When will it stop? When will people acknowledge, as the Colorado Anti-Violence Progam and its national affiliate did in a statement issued this morning, that such criticism is based on "the dangerous assumption that outing oneself as transgender guarantees safety," when, in fact, "in some instances, outing can increase the risk of violence"?

What would you have had Angie do differently? What would you have the rest of us do differently to avoid a similar fate? Please tell us, because otherwise it feels like you're telling us that whatever violence happens to us is, at least, in part, our own fault, despite the Catch-22 with which we are forced to live.

First off, I am not criticizing Angie. I think she was only a victim here. I am criticizing those who fail to take the opportunity to warn others that things like this can, and do, happen.

No, a victim is never at fault. There is no justification for someome committing an act of violence like this. But, no amount of theory and rhetoric and wishful thinking is going to change the fact that these things do happen, and that people need to be careful to avoid the danger as much as possible.

What could Angie have done differently? That is a good question. The same question could be asked about Gwen Arajuo. And it could be asked about other, similar, cases.

In Angie's case, it is hard to say. Based on the facts that came out, the so-called "trans panic" defense would not even seem to apply. But for others, thinking that some guy is not going to notice that penis between the legs, or that he is not going react violently, or that the law is going to protect you, is foolhardy.

Simply put, if one is pre-op, a good start is to make sure you are on the same page either before you actually meet, or at the very least, while you are still in public. Waiting until you are in the bedroom, and have a sudden surprise can be fatal.

I can understand someone like Angie not wanting to date some guy who is into "that sort of thing." I can understand her wanting a man who likes women, and who, presumably, could see past her penis. But, such men are rare. One is far more likely to meet someone who may quickly turn violent. Implying, even remotely, that things are any other way is simply wrong.