For the first time in American history, someone has been convicted under a state hate crime statute for the murder of a transgendered person.
Allen Andrade, 32, was convicted today in a Denver court of first-degree murder and a bias-motivated crime for killing Angie Zapata, 18, in 2008. Andrate met Zapata, a transgendered woman who was biologically male, online and spent three days with her in Zapata's Greeley apartment prior to bludgeoning her to death with a fire extinguisher. For a sense of just how heinous Andrate's actions were, lookit CNN's summary of the police affidavit from the trial:
According to [the] affidavit Zapata was out of the apartment when Andrade noticed photographs that made him "question victim Zapata's sex."
Andrade confronted Zapata, who declared, "I am all woman." Andrade then grabbed Zapata and discovered male genitalia.
According to court records, Andrade told police he began hitting Zapata with his fists, knocking her to the ground. He then grabbed a fire extinguisher and twice hit her in the head.
Andrade told police he thought he had "killed it," referring to Zapata, and covered her with a blanket. Realizing what he had done, he then cleaned up the crime scene, the affidavit said.
Andrade told police he heard "gurgling" sounds coming from the victim and saw Zapata sitting up. He hit her again with the fire extinguisher, he said, according to the affidavit.
To repeat: When asked, Andrade said he thought he had "killed it"--"it" referring to Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old woman. Here she is:
In 2007, both houses of Congress passed a federal hate crime bill called the Matthew Shepard Act, but it died after famous homophobe and former President george w. bush threatened to veto it. Representatives have re-introduced the bill after President Obama indicated his support for the law.
I can't decide what's worse: Killing one woman in a homophobic rage or refusing to protect thousands of other Americans from the threat of people like Andrade.