Angie Zapata was 18 years old in July 2008, and although born a biological male, had been living as a female for six years. She worked as a cosmetologist, and friends said she wanted to move to Denver to work as a professional drag queen, and that she had dreams of being a beauty queen.
But she never made it to 19.
Angie was beaten to death in her own apartment in Greeley, Colo., on July 16, allegedly by a man who had spent the night with her and the next day became enraged after discovering that Angie was transgender.
The suspect in the case, 31-year-old Allen Ray Andrade, told police he hit Angie with a fire extinguisher and thought he had “killed it.” He wrapped her body in a blanket and started trying to clean up the scene of the crime and destroy any evidence that linked him to it.
But Angie wasn’t dead. Andrade told police she made a gurgling sound and sat up, so he grabbed the fire extinguisher and hit her again. He then took her purse, her keys, the fire extinguisher and his belongings and left the apartment in her car.
Angie’s sister discovered her body the following day.
Andrade was later arrested in Denver, and he is set to go on trial Tuesday, April 14. He will be the first defendant in Colorado to be charged with a hate crime in connection with an attack on a transgender person after Colorado added sexual orientation to the protected classes in its hate crimes law in 2005.
Andrade is charged with second degree murder and theft of a murder vehicle. The hate crimes designation would add 18 months to his sentence if he is convicted.
But Andrade’s earlier confession won’t be allowed as evidence in the trial. A judge has ruled that the suspect had already asked for a lawyer when he made the incriminating statements.
According to a press release issued last November by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, just before the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, Angie Zapata was one of 29 transgender people murdered in the U.S. last year â€” that was up 65 percent over their recorded statistics from 2007.
And the violence continues â€” in this country and around the world. In fact, LGBT activists in the United States right now are calling for a boycott of Jamaica in response to the ongoing violence there against gays, lesbians and transgenders.
So this week, as Allan Andrade goes on trial in Greeley and as trans people every day live in fear, take a moment to remember Angie Zapata and all the other victims of anti-trans hate violence. Because hopefully, remembering is the first step to stopping the hate.