Watching the Angie Zapata Murder Trial

April 2009

The trial over the murder of transgender Angie Zapata could spark a national conversation, reports 9News. That's because advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are using the case to push for a national hate-crime law. Allen Andrade allegedly beat 18-year-old Zapata, of Greeley, to death after finding out that Zapata was physically male during a sexual encounter. The case, notes The Greeley Tribune, is being tried not only as a murder but also as a hate crime under a Colorado law amended in 2005 to include sexual orientation. It is the first case in the nation to test a hate-crime law for a transgender person, and advocates of the national law hope to resurrect a bill named for Matthew Shepard, a gay man beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998. Defense lawyers will likely argue that Zapata was killed because she concealed her male identity, reports The Denver Post, causing Andrade to become "almost justifiably enraged." ProgressNow is running full-page ads to draw attention to national legislation, and a website in support of Zapata has been constructed.