Live blog: The Angie Zapata trial, April 16

Categories: Colorado Crimes

angie zapata mirror.JPG
Angie Zapata.

Editor's note: Melanie Asmar is live blogging the Greeley trial of Allen Andrade, the man charged with murdering Angie Zapata, a transgender teen. Look for updates here.

4:50 p.m.: Court is recessed for the day. Judge Kopcow is telling the jury not to discuss the case with their family or friends, or read any media tonight: not newspapers, not blogs, not "Tweeter." Barring a snowstorm, the trial will resume at 8:45 a.m. tomorrow, he says.

4:44 p.m.: Thornton Police Officer Joe Thomas is testifying that he was the first to respond to the noise complaint. He says when he showed up, he noticed beer cans outside the PT Cruiser and Andrade in the driver's seat. He says he knew the car was associated with a homicide, so he arrested Andrade. "I felt he was somewhat nervous, but he was cooperative and he did everything I asked him to do," Thomas says.

At the police station, Thomas says he confiscated Andrade's wallet and cell phone.

4:35 p.m.: Thornton Police Officer Brian Phelps is testifying that on July 30, he responded to a noise complaint at an apartment complex in Thornton. He says when he arrived, there were two officers surrounding a PT Cruiser that was known to be associated with a homicide. He identified the man inside the car as Andrade. As Andrade was being arrested, Phelps says Andrade told him that he stole the car.

4:23 p.m.: Greeley Police Officer Jared Baker is testifying that on July 17, the day Zapata's body was found, he interviewed Zapata's sister, Monica Murgia, outside Zapata's apartment. He says Murgia told him that Zapata's car was gone and whoever had done this to Zapata probably had her car. Baker says he put out an alert for the car, a PT Cruiser.

4:08 p.m.: Court has resumed. Thomas Nicolas, a neighbor of Zapata's, has taken the stand. He is testifying that on the day Zapata was murdered, he saw a person who appeared female park a Chrysler across from the apartment building where Zapata lived at around 8:30 or 9 p.m. The next day, he says, the car was gone.

On cross-examination, Andrade's defense attorney again asked whether the person appeared to be female. "This person was wearing dark clothes and had long hair, right?" Martin asks. Yes, Nicolas says.

3:45 p.m.: Andrade has been sitting at a table with two attorneys and someone who appears to be a law clerk. He is thin and has a buzz cut. He's wearing a blue striped shirt and gray pleated pants. During testimony, he appears calm and often has his hand up near his mouth. At the break, he's led away in handcuffs.

3:40 p.m.: The judge has called a fifteen-minute break. The jury commissioner is handing out a sheet of paper instructing the jury on how to find out if the court will be closed tomorrow due to a predicted snow storm. "From what I hear, it's not going to hit Greeley, but we're taking precautions," Judge Kopcow says.

3:37 p.m.: On cross-examination, one of Andrade's defense attorneys is asking the neighbor whether Zapata appeared to be female. The neighbor says yes. The attorney asks if she was wearing makeup. The neighbor says he didn't know. "But she always appeared to you to be a female, right?" the attorney asks. "Uh-huh," the neighbor says.

3:34 p.m.: A neighbor is testifying that he saw Zapata get out of her car on July 16, the day she was killed, and walk to her apartment and knock on the door.

3:19 p.m.: A now-retired Greeley police officer is testifying that he was one of the first to respond to the murder scene. He says he saw what appeared to be a Hispanic female lying on the ground.

3:15 p.m.: The EMT who first responded to the 911 call is testifying.

2:58 p.m.: Morales is testifying that Angie's sisters knocked on her door on July 17, 2008, and said, "My sister's dead." Morales says she called 911 and the operator asked her if she could give Zapata mouth-to-mouth. But Morales says she couldn't because Zapata was "real stiff, real cold."

2:47 p.m.: The first witness is on the stand. Her name is Marion Morales and she lived in the same apartment building as Zapata. She says they talked a lot.

2:43 p.m.: Defense attorney Martin is rebutting the prosecution's assertion that Andrade knew Zapata was biologically male because he went to court with Zapata, where Zapata was called "Justin." But Martin says no court clerk can say for sure that Andrade was there.

2:41 p.m.: The defense is calling Zapata "Justin," which was Zapata's given name. The prosecution is calling Zapata "Angie," the name Zapata went by.

2:39 p.m.: Martin: "You will hear no direct evidence that Allen killed Justin after an exercise of reflection ... Allen thought that Justin was Angie. Allen thought that he was a girl. Allen had no idea until right before he started hitting Justin, that this person he thought was a she was actually a he."

2:35 p.m.: Defense attorney Bradley Martin is giving his opening statement. He says that Andrade lost control when he found out that Zapata was a male. "Allen snapped. Allen flew into an uncontrollable rage. And when it was over and Allen realized what had happened, he ran out of the apartment."

2:34 p.m.: Nieto is saying that Zapata met Andrade on a social networking site and they spent a few days together. She says Andrade knew Zapata was male for 36 hours before he killed her, although there was no evidence of sexual activity.

She says Andrade "picked up a fire extinguisher and struck her repeatedly in the head, crushing her skull until she was bloody." "No matter who Angie was, she didnt deserve to die like this," Nieto says.

2:33 p.m.: Deputy District Attorney Brandi Nieto is making her opening statement. She begins by describing the murder scene: "She's beaten so badly that she's hardly recognizable." She describes Zapata as "bloody, stiff and swollen on the floor." During the description, the Zapata family cries and hugs each other.

2:29 p.m.: The modern-looking courtroom is nearly full. Zapata's family is sitting on one side, Andrade's on the other. Media is filling more than two rows. Representatives from several gay-rights groups are also in the courtroom.

2:05 p.m.: The trial of Allen Andrade, who is accused of killing transgender Greeley teen Angie Zapata, has begun. The fourteen jurors are seated. Most are white and several appear older. Judge Marcelo Kopcow is explaining to the jurors how the trial will proceed and warning them not to talk to the attorneys or the media.


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