Live blog: The Angie Zapata trial, April 20

Categories: Colorado Crimes

an angie zapata pic.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 -- and click these links to catch up on Asmar's coverage of the proceedings on day one, April 16, and day two, April 17, as well as a summary of the evidence so far. To catch up with the day's proceedings, read from the bottom up.

5 p.m.: Court is recessed for today. It will resume at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. Mendoza will return to the stand and the jury will hear two more jailhouse calls between her and Andrade.

4:50 p.m.: During the call, Andrade is saying: "That one moment was so wrong. That one thing right there, it was uncontrollable. I can't explain it. I was outside of myself. I wasn't even acting like a coherent person... I didn't know what was happening. It was over before it started. It wasn't a coherent decision to do that. Nothing happened like that to me my whole entire life."

Mendoza and Andrade refer to Zapata as "it" and talk about how Zapata looked female. Mendoza asks if "it had its boobs done." Andrade says he "didn't even get that far."

4:45 p.m.: Another call. Mendoza is more calm this time, although still angry. She keeps asking Andrade why he lied to her, why he didn't come to her to "get some" instead of finding someone online. She says she doesn't understand. There is an edge to her voice.

He, on the other hand, sounds like a boyfriend who's done wrong. He's using a soothing voice and trying to tell her he just wanted her to be happy. Mendoza is crying now, asking why he didn't tell her what had happened. He says he was "scared of your reaction."

4:30 p.m.: Another jailhouse call. Mendoza is sobbing throughout the entire call, asking him how he could have done this when they talked about spending their life together. "I blame myself," she says. "I'm never going to see you again. It sucks." She asks him why he didn't think of her before he did it.

"I don't know. It happened so freaking fast. I couldn't stop it, I swear. It was one of those things that happens on TV," Andrade says.

She says everyone is going to think he has no remorse, driving around her, "or its," car for three weeks. Earlier in the call, she says she thinks that "that person" deserved it.

4:20 p.m.: The prosecution is playing jailhouse calls between Mendoza and Andrade. During the first call Andrade made to Mendoza, he says, "It was a mistake, totally. But what happened, happened. Somebody died." She asks who died. He says a person he thought was a female. But then when he found out it wasn't, he says he "snapped." She starts crying.

4:17 p.m.: Mendoza says Andrade gave her purses that were identified as Zapata's.

4:12 p.m.: As the attorneys huddle around the judge to discuss something in private, Mendoza and Andrade smile at each other. Her smile is small, like she's trying to restrain it.

4:10 p.m.: As she testifies, Mendoza is glancing at Andrade but not smiling. She looks sort of forlorn. Andrade is staring at her, resting his cheek on his hand.

On July 17, the day after Zapata was killed, Mendoza says she and Andrade went to dinner. On July 19, she says they hung out all day and then went to a hotel and had sex. She told the police that he was acting more affectionate than normal.

The photos on Andrade's cell phone of him hugging a woman are of him and Mendoza.

4 p.m.: Felicia Mendoza, Andrade's ex-girlfriend, is testifying. She says she dated Andrade for several months in 2007 and again in the summer of 2008. She met him on an online dating site and later showed him how to use MocoSpace.

Asked about his temper, she said he "could be a little hot-headed." He was quick to get angry, she said, and he would sometimes hit himself if he got mad.

3:50 p.m.: Kundelius asks Rubio whether MocoSpace checks the truthfulness of users' profile information. He says no. So a person could lie about their gender? she asks. Yes, he says.

3:45 p.m.: Christian Rubio, director of community management at MocoSpace.com, is testifying. Zapata and Andrade met on MocoSpace, a social networking site run through mobile phones. On a MocoSpace profile, Rubio says it's possible to choose your gender -- male or female -- and your sexual orientation: straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual.

He says he was contacted about this case and asked to secure Zapata and Andrade's accounts. He was able to secure Zapata's account but couldn't find Andrade's. When a user deletes a MocoSpace account, it disappears overnight, Rubio says.

3:15 p.m.: The court is taking a twenty-minute afternoon break.

3:10 p.m.: The prosecution is asking Lewis to compare the amount of DNA found on the purse to the amount found on the vibrator. There was a lot more found on the vibrator. On the purse, Lewis found .36 nanograms per microliter of DNA. On the vibrator, she found 19.62 nanograms per microliter.

Deputy District Attorney Brandi Nieto asks again about DNA-rich sources. Could a DNA-rich source be found inside of someone's anus or rectum? Nieto asks. Yes, Lewis says

3 p.m.: More from Lewis.

She found DNA from Zapata and Andrade on a different purse.

She found DNA from Andrade on the pink vibrator collected from Zapata's apartment. She said it's extremely likely it's Andrade's DNA. The chance of it being someone else's DNA is less than one in 300 billion people, she said.

There was a lot of Andrade's DNA on the vibrator and it likely came from a DNA-rich source, such as blood, saliva or semen, Lewis says. But Lewis says she didn't find any semen on the vibrator. It's unclear whether it came from Andrade's blood or saliva or something else.

However, there was semen in Zapata's underwear. Lewis says the DNA matched Zapata.

Lewis also examined the fire extinguisher. She didn't find any blood. Prosecutors are asking whether she thinks blood would be washed away if an item was exposed to the elements for several months. She says yes.

2:50 p.m.: Sarah Lewis, a lab agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, is testifying. She's a DNA analyst. She analyzed evidence in the case and is reviewing her findings.

She discovered DNA from Zapata and Andrade on a cigarette butt found in the apartment.

She did not find DNA from Zapata or Andrade on a purse. It's unclear which purse.

2:25 p.m.: Woods says she analyzed hairs found on Zapata's body. She found they likely belonged to Zapata. She says she had no head hair sample from Andrade to compare them to. Earlier in the trial, the prosecution said it was impossible to get a hair sample from Andrade because his hair was too short.

2:20 p.m.: Yvonne Woods, a lab agent with the FBI in Denver, is on the stand. She's a hair-and-fiber-analysis expert. She analyzed head and pubic hair samples in this case to see if hairs from crime scene matched "known" hairs pulled from a person.

1:55 p.m.: Court is back in session. As soon as the jury was seated, the prosecution started playing a recording of a jailhouse call between Andrade and Tyree. They start off laughing and talking to each other in cutesy voices. They talk about how he'll be old when he gets out and he'll need Viagra. He sings the "Viva Viagra" song from the commercials.

Then they talk about the case. Some of the things Andrade said:

"I try not to think about it. Sometimes at night, I do."

"I should have done a lot of things different. But shoulda, coulda, woulda, whatever. Ain't no going back now.

"All that hate-crime shit, that ain't going to fly. They're trying to put as much on me as they can because they know shit is going to fall away.

"It's not like I just went up to a schoolteacher and shot her in the head, you know what I mean? It's not like I went up to a law-abiding, straight citizen."

Noon: The court is taking a lunch break. The trial will resume at 1:30 p.m.

11:50 a.m.: Prosecutors tried to introduce as evidence a letter Tyree wrote to Andrade. The defense objected. Judge Kopcow agreed with the defense. The letter won't be introduced.

Tyree said she wrote the letter in early July. She said it talks about how she was hurt because Andrade was "messing with Felicia." She said she wrote it because she was mad.

It appears to be the letter that was found in the PT Cruiser when Andrade was arrested. Prosecutors referenced it earlier in the trial but did not explain its significance.

11:45 a.m.: Andrade's ex-girlfriend, Angie Tyree, is testifying. She says Andrade was staying with her for free in July 2008, but they were no longer together. She says she still had feelings for Andrade at that time. Prosecutor Robb Miller asks her if she still has feelings for Andrade. She says yes. "What kind of feelings?" Miller asks. "I love him," Tyree says meekly.

She says Andrade was driving a PT Cruiser in late July. She says he told her he bought it.

Tyree seems to be contradicting on the stand what she originally told detectives.

Tyree just said that in late July, Andrade "was saying he was going to kill himself."

11:35 a.m.: Greeley Detective Mark Stumpf just finished testifying about receipts that show Zapata's sister's stolen credit card being used at gas stations and convenience stores in the days after Zapata's death.

There's nothing about these receipts that indicates to you who actually made these purchases?, defense attorney Bradley Martin asks on cross-examination.

"That's correct," Stumpf says.

11:10 a.m.: Court is back in session.

Shannon Tollefson, senior court clerk for Greeley municipal court, is testifying that Zapata appeared in court for a traffic ticket on July 15 with a male. Tollefson said she knew Zapata as "Angie," although her court case was under her given name, "Justin."

An audio recording of Zapata's court appearance is played for the jury. On the tape, you can hear Zapata being called "Justin Zapata." The whole court appearance lasts about a minute. On the tape, Zapata's voice is soft and feminine, although a little bit deeper than a female's voice. She talks about working out a payment plan and is then dismissed.

On cross-examination, Kundelius asks whether Tollefson can identify the male Zapata was with. She says she can't.

10:45 a.m.: The court is taking a fifteen-minute morning break.

10:40 a.m.: Anderson is testifying about reviewing Andrade's cell phone. He found several photos and evidence that the phone had been used to access MocoSpace.com, the social networking website where he met Zapata.

Five photos from Andrade's cell phone were shown to the jury. Most looked like they were taken by Andrade by turning the camera on himself: one headshot-type photo of him wearing a white undershirt reclining against a pillow; one full body photo of him with his shirt off in the bathroom; two photos of him hugging a woman; and one closeup photo of a can of Budweiser. The photos of him hugging the woman were from July 16, the day Zapata died.

It's unclear whether the woman in the photos was Zapata.

10:30 a.m.: One juror often keeps his eyes on Andrade. Today, Andrade is wearing a gray button-down dress shirt and a tie. As usual, he's sitting at the defense table with his left hand up to his mouth, looking forward. He has what appear to be faded green tattoos on his hand.

10:20 a.m.: Greeley Detective Trevor Anderson is testifying. He's a computer crimes investigator. On July 29 and 30, he says he went to convenience stores in Westminster and Lakewood to gather surveillance videos and transaction records for someone using Zapata's sister's credit card. The credit card was in her car, which was stolen from outside Zapata's apartment the night Zapata was murdered. Andrade was arrested in the car on July 30.

10 a.m.: The lights are off in the courtroom as a silent surveillance video from a local liquor store plays on the flat-screen TV facing the jury. A store clerk testified that Zapata, who was eighteen, was a frequent customer and the video shows "a person" buying beer.

In the video, you can see the front door of the store. A man in a gray tank top walks out.

9:55 a.m.: Greeley Police Detective Scott Barber is on the stand. His testimony has been very short. Barber said he talked to several witnesses, including Zapata's mother, Maria Zapata. He said she has a lot of animosity toward police and didn't want to talk to him.

Defense attorney Annette Kundelius asked Barber whether Maria Zapata told him that her daughter often didn't tell her where she was going or who she was with because she knew it upset her mother. "That's correct," Barber said.

9:40 a.m.: Prosecutors have introduced as evidence the small, home-sized fire extinguisher they say Andrade used to kill Zapata. They've also introduced another extinguisher as an example of the kind found in Zapata's apartment complex. Both look the same and are in evidence bags.

The jury is handling them, passing them among themselves. From the gallery, you can hear the crinkle of the plastic evidence bags. Otherwise, it's silent. One juror, brow furrowed, is turning over the extinguisher in his hands, looking at all sides and the bottom.

9:20 a.m.: The trial is back in session. The jurors look engaged this morning. There are only about twenty people in the gallery, which is fewer than the first two days. A few members of Andrade's family sit on one side of the courtroom, while some of Zapata's friends and family sit on the other. Several members of the media are here, including cameramen for TruTV.

Dr. James Wilkerson, the forensic pathologist who performed Zapata's autopsy, is on the stand. He described Zapata's injuries: bruising and cuts around the eyes, bleeding in the eyes, fractures to the skull. It should look nice and smooth but its all broken up, he said of the skull, showing a photo to the jury but not to the rest of the courtroom.

"Do you think a fire extinguisher could cause these injuries?" asked prosecutor Brandi Nieto.

"Yes," Wilkerson said.

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