July 17, 2008: Today in LGBTQ+ history...
On July 17, 2008, Angie Zapata – a young transgender woman – was brutally murdered in an attack motivated by anti-transgender bias.
Zapata was raised in Fort Lupton, Colorado, and began living full-time as a woman at the age of 16. When she was 18, she met Allen Ray Andrade, who was 31 at the time, on the social networking website MocoSpace. After exchanging emails and hundreds of text messages, the two arranged to meet, and on July 15, according to Andrade’s affidavit, the two attended a court hearing in Adams County, where Andrade had a criminal record. Later that day, Zapata allegedly performed oral sex on Andrade but refused to let him touch her sexually. The following day, according to the affidavit, Zapata left Andrade alone at her apartment for the day while she left to babysit her sister Monica’s three children. Andrade later told police that he’d begun to grow suspicious of Zapata’s gender after looking at the photographs that decorated her neat living room. That night, he said, he confronted her about it.
Andrade told investigators he had noticed photographs that, coupled with her reluctance the previous day, raised questions about “Zapata’s sex.” When Zapata returned, Andrade says he confronted her about being transgender, grabbed her genitalia, and proceeded to viciously beat her. Then, believing her to be dead, he started ransacking her apartment. While doing that, he heard her gasping for breath and struggling to sit up as she regained consciousness. He beat her further with a fire extinguisher and killed her. Andrade then stole Zapata’s credit cards and fled the scene in her car.
Zapata’s sister later found her lying dead in her living room floor, covered in a sheet.
Andrade was arrested two weeks later. On April 22, 2009, he was found guilty of first-degree murder, hate crimes, aggravated motor vehicle theft and identity theft. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Because Andrade had six prior felony convictions, the judge dubbed him a “habitual criminal” at his sentencing trial for the hate crime and theft convictions, and added an additional 60 years to his sentence.
Andrade is serving his time at Limon Correctional Facility in Lincoln County, Colorado. Zapata is buried in the Hillside Cemetery in Fort Lupton, Colorado.