A 32-year-old man has confessed to the killing of 18-year-old transgender woman Angie Zapata, after being arrested about 50 miles away from the murder scene.
Police in Thornton, Colorado arrested Allen Ray Andrade after responding to a noise complaint early Wednesday morning and finding him in Zapata’s stolen car.
Andrade now faces charges of first-degree murder as a hate crime, identity theft and aggravated motor vehicle theft. He has been refused bail.
It will be the first murder in Weld County to be prosecuted as a hate crime.
In 2005 a new law added protections for people based on sexual orientation, including “transgender status,” to Colorado’s “bias-motivated crimes” statute.
Zapata’s sister found her in her apartment in Greeley, Colorado.
She had been beaten to death on July 17 and covered with a blanket.
Andrade told police that he met Zapata on July 15 for a one-time sexual encounter through social networking site MocoSpace.
Andrade reportedly discovered Zapata’s male genitalia the next day after seeing photographs around the apartment, becoming suspicious, and forcibly grabbing her crotch after her insistence that she was “all woman.”
Andrade then hit Zapata twice in the head with a fire extinguisher after striking her with his fists.
While cleaning the scene for evidence, Andrade told police that, though he thought he’d “killed it,” Zapata tried to sit up.
He then struck her a third time with the fire extinguisher and also took her purse, keys and phone before fleeing in her 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser.
“You get the sense that maybe he wasn’t seeing Angie as a person. Then you get an idea of the violence behind this act,” Crystal Middlestadt, Director of Training and Education for the Colorado Anti-Violence Program told PageOneQ.com.
Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck told the Denver Post that he will aggressively prosecute Andrade.
“It just can’t be tolerated at any level. And I hope that if anything positive were to come of this, we would develop a stronger relationship with the gay, lesbian, transgendered community so that they understand just how seriously we take crimes like this and how vigorously we will pursue justice in a situation like this,” Buck said.
About 200 people attended the July 23rd memorial service for Angie Zapata.
“Angie gave me the power to not care what people thought of me,” friend Angie Portillo, a lesbian, said at the service. “She always just wanted to be who she was, and that was female and to be loved.”