Man arrested in murder of transgender person
updated 31/07/2008

Angie Zapata 20 anni, assassinata
Angie Zapata: 20 anni, la vittima

Allen Andrade, 31 anni, arrestato come presunto killer di Angie

BRIGHTON - The man arrested in the murder of a 20-year-old transgender person was on date with a person he thought was a woman, 9NEWS has learned. Police say when the suspect discovered his date was actually a man, he killed her.

Allen Ray Andrade, 31, was arrested in Thornton on Tuesday and faces second-degree murder and aggravated motor vehicle theft charges.

In an arrest affidavit obtained by 9NEWS, Andrade admits to police to killing Angie Zapata, 20, who was living as a woman but born as Justin Zapata.

Zapata was found beaten to death in a Greeley apartment in the 2000 block of 4th Street on July 17. Authorities say Zapata had suffered fatal wounds to her head and face.

The affidavit says Andrade met Zapata on a social networking site, MocoSpace, and the two arranged to meet July 15.

Zapata picked Andrade up in Thornton where he lived and the pair returned to Zapata's Greeley apartment together. Andrade told police Zapata performed a sexual act on him.

The following day, the affidavit explains, Andrade started to look at photos in the apartment and questioned Zapata's sex. That night, Andrade questioned Zapata directly, according to the affidavit, and Andrade says Zapata responded, "I'm all woman."

Andrade told police he grabbed Zapata in her genital area and felt a penis. He became angry and hit Zapata with his fist before grabbing a fire extinguisher and hitting her in the head twice, according to the affidavit.

Andrade explained to police that he thought he "killed it," referring to Zapata but when she made gurgling noises and started to sit up, he hit her with the extinguisher again.

He also admitted to police he stole Zapata's car and drove away.

On the 17th, Zapata's sister, Monica Murguia, called police saying she had not heard from Zapata. She also went to her apartment where she found Zapata's body on the ground covered with a blanket.

Wednesday morning at around 1:45 a.m. Thornton Police responded to a noise complaint at Sierra Vista Apartment Homes in Thornton. There they contacted Andrade and linked him to the stolen car. He was arrested on outstanding warrants.

Andrade has a lengthy record that includes attempt to commit first-degree criminal trespass, attempt to commit theft from a person, possession of a contraband, attempted escape and attempt to commit theft by receiving. He served time for each of the convictions.

At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, prosecutors said they could still pursue charges related to calling the attack a hate crime.

"Whether the victim is victimized because they are of a certain race, religion, sexual orientation it is a crime and in Weld County and in Greeley we're going to do the very best we can to enforce the law" said Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.

Experts say it may not be easy for prosecutors to prove it was a hate crime.

"A prosecutor is going to talk about this being a knowing killing, that the defendant knew what he was doing. The defense is going to argue that it was the heat of passion, that he did it because he, the defendant, was so upset for being duped," said 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson.

Robinson believes that while the prosecution will be seeking a conviction for second-degree murder, the defense could seek a lesser offense of heat of passion manslaughter.

"This is not a classic hate crime, where an individual is beaten to death because of their orientation. This is a case when an individual reacted irrationally and unlawfully to learning they had been fooled," said Robinson.

Prosecutors were firm on their stance.

"It just can't be tolerated at any level. And I hope that if anything positive were to come of this, we would develop a stronger relationship with the gay, lesbian, transgendered community so that they understand just how seriously we take crimes like this and how vigorously we will pursue justice in a situation like this," said Buck.

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