The Angie Zapata trial: A summary of the evidence so far

Categories: Colorado Crimes

The trial of Allen Andrade, who's accused of killing transgender Greeley teen Angie Zapata last summer, continues today at 8:30 a.m. So far, as noted in live blogs filed during the April 16 and April 17 proceedings, the fourteen jurors have heard opening statements from both sides, as well as testimony from witnesses, including police officers who responded to the murder scene, Zapata's best friend and her mother. Witness testimony will continue today.

Prosecutors claim Andrade, 32, was a homophobe who killed Zapata out of hate. They say he knew that Zapata, an eighteen-year-old who wore makeup and long hair and acted like a woman, was biologically male 36 hours before he killed her. He "deliberately" beat her to death with a fire extinguisher on July 16, two days after they met, prosecutors say.

Andrade's defense attorneys aren't disputing that he killed Zapata. But they say he didn't plot it out. Instead, they say, Andrade "snapped" when he found out Zapata was male and his "immediate reaction" was to pummel her, first with his fists and then with a fire extinguisher. "It was over before it started," they say.

Andrade has been charged with first-degree murder, which carries a life sentence, as well as a bias-motivated crime. Gay-rights groups say the case marks the first time a person has been charged with a hate crime in a transgender murder.

Continue reading for a summary of the facts and opinions revealed in the trial thus far:

Zapata and Andrade met on the social networking site MocoSpace. They had about 700 communications -- mostly text messages -- in the days before they met in person.

Zapata borrowed her mother's car to pick up Andrade in Thornton on July 14. Zapata had to appear in court the next day for a traffic ticket and she told friends and family that she didn't want to go alone. She said she was picking up a male friend to go with her.

Andrade accompanied Zapata to court on July 15, prosecutors say. While there, he heard court staff refer to her as "Justin," which was her given name. Defense attorneys say there's no evidence that the man who accompanied Zapata to court was Andrade.

That night, Andrade told police, Zapata performed oral sex on him. But, he said, Zapata "did not allow him to touch (her) sexually" and the two slept in different rooms of Zapata's Greeley apartment.

The next day, Zapata went to work babysitting her older sister's children. Andrade told police he stayed behind in her apartment. While there, he saw some photographs of Zapata that made him suspicious of her gender.

When Zapata returned home that night, Andrade told police, he confronted her about her gender. She answered, "I am all woman." Andrade asked her to prove it and she refused, he told police. So he grabbed her crotch and upon feeling a penis, started hitting Zapata with his fists and then with a fire extinguisher.

Zapata fell to the ground, Andrade told police. He said he thought he "killed it." But a few minutes later, he told police he heard what he described as "gurgling sounds," so he grabbed the fire extinguisher and hit Zapata in the head again.

Some of what Andrade told police will not be allowed at trial. Judge Marcelo Kopcow ruled last month that during his police interview, Andrade invoked his right to remain silent and the police did not honor it. Everything he said after he invoked that right 39 minutes into the interview has been thrown out.

Andrade was arrested about two weeks after Zapata's death. At the time he was arrested, he was sitting in Zapata's sister's car, which he told police he stole, and listening to loud music. The car was surrounded by empty beer cans.

In jailhouse calls, Andrade denied knowing Zapata. He also made homophobic comments, telling his girlfriend that "gay things need to die" and saying this: "Gay fool. Tell him I'll kill him too." Andrade's defense attorneys say the comments are being taken out of context. They say Andrade and his girlfriend were "laughing and joking about these things," not saying them maliciously.

Zapata's friends and family say she was attractive and got a lot of male attention. But, they say, she always told men she was transgender. Neighbors who didn't know her well said they could tell she was a man who dressed and lived as a woman.


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