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Colorado judge unsympathetic to 'transgender panic' argument

by Nick Cargo

On Thursday, a judge upheld the first-degree murder charge against the man accused in the July 16 bludgeoning death of 18-year-old transgender woman Angie Zapata, née Justin.

Allen Ray Andrade, 31, faces various felony charges in Zapata's death. Public defender Annette Kundelius argued that the murder charge should be reduced to second-degree, saying that Andrade was driven to kill Zapata after she smiled at him, saying "I'm all woman," after he discovered her male genitals.

"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."

Phone calls between Andrade and his girlfriend show anti-gay bias and disregard, though he did acknowledge making "a mistake." "All gay things need to die," Andrade said in one conversation, adding that there was "no use crying over spilled milk" in trying to put the murder behind him.

Weld County District Judge Marcelo Kopcow determined that there was enough evidence to proceed with trial on charges including first-degree murder after deliberation as a bias-motivated crime, felony motor vehicle theft and felony identity theft.

"I'm glad," Zapata's friend Alexis Garcia told the Greeley Tribune. "He should have to suffer the way she suffered."

On July 17, as PageOneQ earlier reported, Zapata's sister found her body in her apartment in Greeley, Colorado, about 50 miles northeast of Denver. The two had met in person through a social networking website on July 15 and engaged once in oral sex. The next day, Andrade, upon looking at photographs in the apartment and becoming suspicious, confronted Zapata and soon beat her unconscious with a fire extinguisher and left her to die after grabbing her crotch and discovering her male genitalia. He left the apartment in Zapata's car, taking with him her purse, keys and phone. After being arrested near his home in Thornton, Andrade would refer to Zapata as "it" when talking to police.

Andrade continues to be held without bail. The next hearing is set for November 6.


Originally published on Friday September 19, 2008.

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