Angie Zapata Verdict In

aThe first time an anti-transgender hate crime’s charge has been applied in the Unites States has a positive ending today. Angie Zapata’s murderer, Allen Andrade, was found guilty on all 3 counts with which he was charged, including murder. He was also found guilty of the additional hate crimes charge that some feared he would avoid.

The decision to uphold the hate crime’s charge sets an important precedent for the efficacy of anti-transgender hate crimes’ law. The conviction will make it that much easier for advocates to extend hate crimes’ legislation concerning transphobia to the rest of the nation. As it stands, Colorado is the only state with specific laws currently on the books.

Andrade’s conviction also further chips away at the “gay/trans panic defense” which has become far too common place amongst people suspected of assaulting or murdering members of the queer community. And it sends a clear message to defense attorney’s that the tactic of using male pronouns for trans women, or their given names instead of their chosen ones, as a credibility tactic may no longer fly with increasingly aware jurors. At the same time, I don’t doubt the “panic defense” will be used again in this nation and that both lawyers and media will continue to refer to transgendered people by the wrong gender and/or name and in the case of trans women, also refer to them as sex workers without proof.  Nevertheless, today’s verdict clearly shows a learning curve in the favor of equality.

Andrade has not been sentenced but his murder conviction comes with mandatory life imprisonment without parole. Prosecutors also intend to enter his past criminal record during the sentencing for his other 3 convictions to push for another Colorado legal statute to kick in that could up his sentence by 4xs the verdict.

Andrade will have an opportunity to address the court at sentencing. As of now, he has expressed nor remorse for his actions nor retracted his homophobic and transphobic comments about Zapata.


source for this post: Colorado Independent

image: Rocky Mountain News/unattributed


6 thoughts on “Angie Zapata Verdict In

  1. You beat me to it! (I’ve missed commenting on this case all along, so I’m glad you’ve done it.) He was sentenced at 4 p this afternoon, MDT. We’ll see if he had anything to say–my guess is no, because he got a mandatory sentence.

    It is really good news , and perhaps significant, that the “gay panic” defense didn’t fly here in my conservative little town.

    • @Historiann – yes. Colorado was good testing ground for a lot of reasons, it being conservative is a big one!!!

      @ Red – Welcome to the blog. Yes it is.

  2. Pingback: Why I call this place Baa Ram U. : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

  3. As I mentioned over at HistoriAnn’s, it is good news that Colorado is willing to prosecute hate crimes. The problem, though, is that such prosecutions come a bit late to help the victim. They don’t, to my mind, represent an attempt to change the structures the encourage such crimes. I also worry about an ongoing tendency to confuse “justice” with “vengeance” in this country, but that is another matter…

    • I also worry about an ongoing tendency to confuse “justice” with “vengeance” in this country, but that is another matter…

      That has been a big concern for me as well, whether the prosecution addresses oppression or reinscribes it, I do think we need to take our discussion of policing to a more varied level & I fear I didn’t do that in this post b/c I was just so happy to see the system actually get that killing Angie was wrong.

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