GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - A man who claimed he snapped before killing a transgender woman was swiftly convicted of first-degree murder and a hate crime Tuesday for savagely beating the woman with a fire extinguisher.
The jury deliberated for just two hours before convicting Allen Andrade, 32, of Thornton. The first-degree murder conviction carries mandatory life without parole, and the conviction on bias-motivated crime carries an extra three years.
The judge set formal sentencing for later Wednesday. It's believed to be the first prosecution under Colorado's bias-crime statute for a crime involving a transgender person.
Prosecutors argued Andrade had known for hours that 18-year-old
Angie Zapata was biologically male and beat her to death because he
Andrade's attorney didn't deny that Andrade had killed Zapata but said had just learned Zapata's identity after spending hours with her and lashed out without thinking.
When the verdict was read, Andrade put his hand to his chin and wiped his goatee. Zapata's family let out an audible gasp.
The jury got the case about midday after four days of testimony.
Prosecutors played recorded jail conversations where Andrade referred to Zapata as "it" and said it wasn't as if he "killed a straight, law-abiding citizen."
"His own statements in the jail call betray the way he values Angie's life, the way he thought of her as less than, less than us because of who she was," Chief Deputy District Attorney Robb Miller told jurors.
"Everyone deserves equal protection under the law and no one deserves to die like this," Miller said.
Defense attorney Annette Kundelius said Andrade had no time to react or think about his actions when he discovered Zapata was biologically male.
"This is not something that people plan for," Kundelius told jurors. "This isn't a situation where people know how they would act."
Kundelius asked jurors to consider the lowest possible charge, criminally negligent homicide.