Breaking: Allen Andrade Convicted of First Degree Murder

Allen Ray Andrade, the man who murdered Angie Zapata (left), was just minutes ago convicted on the two main charges of first degree murder and bias-motivated crime (hate crime).  He was also convicted of the significantly lesser charges of vehicle theft and identity theft.

As far as I’m aware as of writing, those are the highest convictions on all charges against him.  And for his heinous crime, at 4:00PM MDT, Andrade will be sentenced to mandatory life without parole.

It took the jury only about 2 hours to deliberate.  Only about 2 hours.

The trans panic defense failed, seemingly by a landslide.  Like my co-blogger Jack and others, I am not convinced that this is actually justice for Angie — when a woman is dead and nothing can bring her back, I don’t really think there is such a thing as “justice” anymore.  But it is the best we could have hoped for in this particular case.  And I am in relieved shock.

h/t JusticeforAngie

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79 comments for “Breaking: Allen Andrade Convicted of First Degree Murder

  1. catfood
    April 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Wow. Amazing news. So good to hear the jury didn’t buy the “trans panic” defense.

  2. Alison
    April 22, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Thank the stars – anything less than this would have been such a slap in the face to the trans community and allies. I am so glad the jury saw through the bull and did what was right.

    You’re right Cara – true justice would have been this never happening to begin with, but at least the best outcome came through. I hope this gives her family and loved ones at least a little bit of comfort, knowing the jurors didn’t buy into the bigotry and hate.

  3. April 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Word, Alison. Also, to be clear, I’m not the only one arguing that a conviction for Andrade does not equal “justice” — I’ve been reading several people talk about this on Twitter today. Unfortunately I think they all might be protected accounts, so I have added to the post (which I wrote in a big rush!) “Like many others I’ve been reading,” for now :)

  4. j.ceasless
    April 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Chaos, please let this be the end of having such convictions bringing such an acute sense of relief (welcome though that is!). Let this be the beginning of the a time where there is no fear of the ‘shocked murder’ defense ever working.

    Excuse the invocation, I just wanted to express: its weird to celebrate something that should be expected (respect for human life), and yet, this makes me feel hope today.

  5. April 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Okay, got permission — changed post yet again to reflect that Feministe blogger Jack gave me the idea through her tweets earlier today. /meta — back to discussing the verdict.

  6. kaninchen
    April 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Oh, I’m so relieved. I’d thank god, but I believe in giving credit where it’s due and will instead thank the people serving on that jury.

  7. April 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I’ve been watching the justiceforangie twitter feed every time I’ve been able to sit down at the computer. It IS heartening to hear that he was convicted. What’s depressing is that Andrade’s attitudes aren’t rare. He thought he was doing a public service. There’s no way that he could think that if there wasn’t a cultural consensus about the value of trans bodies in our society. If there wasn’t so much transphobia, so much violence and casual hatred, he wouldn’t have been so confident as to laugh about selling his story. One person with the ability to kill has been convicted. But he was borne of the same culture we all live in. Our culture fed his hatred, made him feel confident that the rest of society would be there to back him up after he did it.

    We still have a lot to work on.

  8. April 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I hope this can be some small comfort to the people whose hearts hurt because Angie Zapata is gone.

    I think the most important thing is what didn’t happen here. The trans panic defense did not work; the jury did not hang and apparently did not even struggle. To twelve Coloradans, the simple proposition that Angie Zapata was as deserving of the full protection of law as any of us was not in dispute.

  9. Kristen J.
    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Oh thank the universe. May it signal a change in the way we as a society treat people who are trans. (Please???)

  10. April 22, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Thank goodness.

    Does anyone know if there has been any progress on the Duanna Johnson case?

  11. george
    April 22, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    praise be to Allah

  12. Heresygirl
    April 22, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Thank the blessed universe. I’ve been watching my twitter feed all afternoon. I know her family still suffers greatly. Peace to them. I hope this verdict has far reaching impact.

  13. April 22, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    The only thing that worries me is the 2 hrs of deliberation. Just 2 hrs to decide on a life sentence? Personally I’d take that as a reason justice wasn’t served — the trial now looks tainted at least from the outside.

  14. Kristen J.
    April 22, 2009 at 5:32 pm


    Last I heard the Memphis PD had placed it in their circular filing cabinet along with the other crimes they don’t think are important or that might implicate a police officer.

  15. UnHinged Hips
    April 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Michael- 2 hours to deliberate on a case in which the defense admitted that the defendant killed the victim, because she was transgendered, is just fine. I mean, they practically stood up and said “Yes, he committed a hate crime, but you should let him off the hook because…umm….she was transgendered and that made him crazy”. I’m sure the jury was able to sufficiently address that defense in two hours.

  16. April 22, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Seriously, Michael? SERIOUSLY????


  17. Kristen J.
    April 22, 2009 at 5:39 pm


    There’s some evidence that 2 hours is about average for a jury verdict.

  18. April 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    WTF, Michael.

  19. Nobilis
    April 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    WTF, Michael.

  20. KJ
    April 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Oh thank goodness.

  21. April 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you, Kristen. (Also, cosigning onto UnHinged Hips’ comment.)

    To be perfectly, 100% clear, the reason I noted the jury deliberation time, which I didn’t have time to elaborate on in the post I quickly whipped up, is: 1. because a verdict was not actually expected until tomorrow, thereby making this faster than expected and 2. more importantly, if a guilty verdict came through, I frankly expected a few bigoted stragglers that would have needed more convincing that Andrade didn’t have good reason to murder Angie because of her gender identity. The fact that the verdict was relatively swift shows that it was also adamant — and while any guilty verdict would have been good news, I think the adamant nature of it also gives it extra weight and symbolism.

  22. April 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Oh fuck off, Michael. He admitted to the murder. His defense merely asserted a trans-panic defense for having the sentence lower. In my opinion, two hours is far more than enough to determine that line of defense to be exactly what it, in fact, is: utter bullshit.

    IMO, there should be another charge against him for his defense, which further desecrated Angie Zapata by referring to her in court as “he” and “Justin”. Talk about raping the dead.

  23. SA
    April 22, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Micheal, he killed her. All the jury had to decide was whether killing a transwoc was ok. And they decided it wasn’t.
    Someone was murdered. That’s the bottom line. We can’t be happyabout it, but we can be slightly less furious than we would be if the jury had said it was ok to kill her.

  24. micheyd
    April 22, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    This is such a relief – I have been following this through Feministe and can’t say I was overly optimistic about the outcome. I clicked over to CNN and realized again why I hate the goddamn media – Angie’s name is in quotation marks after her birth name. UGH.

  25. April 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    The people who would think two hours isn’t long enough to deliberate would have found something to complain about even if the jury had spent a week reaching a decision.

  26. April 22, 2009 at 5:58 pm


    since i don’t really know what “true” justice would look like i’m going to just be happy with this victory.

  27. April 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I had been watching the Twitter feed as well, and relieved shock is a good description of how I felt when the verdict was announced. I am not happy but I am so, so relieved that the jury came through for Angie.

  28. jenny
    April 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    YES! I’m thrilled. I was dreading hearing the verdict because I assumed the jury would buy that “trans panic” crap and let him off with manslaughter. I’m really glad about this verdict. :D

  29. April 22, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    EKSwitaj, exactly. It’s latent bias channeled into dismissive behavior. Something makes someone subconsciously uncomfortable, but they don’t think about it, just find a way to say it doesn’t matter(/whatever) so they don’t have to squirm inside anymore. Fuck that.

  30. Lisa A.
    April 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Hi. I usually lurk, but I’ve been following this trial so I just had a question.

    As relieved as I am that Andrade was found guilty on all counts, especially first degree murder, I’m not sure if this will put a hole in the “trans panic” defense in the future.

    As I understand it, the trans panic defense is based on the “deception narrative” and presented by the defense attorney as a crime of passion based on “shock”. Since the prosecution showed that Andrade knew that that Angie was a trans woman 36 hours before he killed her, that pretty much shoots down the “I acted violently because I was surprised” aspect of the defense.

    BTW, let me be clear. I am not trying to say that the trans panic defense is valid. I’m just wondering if the jury would have come out with the same verdict if they hadn’t had that proof? And if a future case comes up where there is no proof of advance knowledge of a victim’s trans status, what’s to prevent this defense from working?

  31. April 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm


    I agree that it would have been an even better result if the prosecution hadn’t had to make that case. Unfortunately, we don’t know what the jury would have decided in that instance. But I think even more unfortunately than that, even if they hadn’t made such an argument and the jury had still convicted, it wouldn’t have prevented a jury from acquitting on the “trans panic” grounds in the future. All we can really hope is that the verdict plants a seed in people’s minds. One verdict doesn’t ever automatically determine future ones.

  32. April 22, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    This verdict is great news and I too disagree with Michael that a 2 hour deliberation means the jury didn’t do their job properly. What it means is that the prosecution proved their case on all charges clearly enough that the jury didn’t have to spend much time looking at the definition of 1st degree murder and/or bias-motivated crime to see if the defendant’s actions met the criteria for those criminal statutes.

    Too often juries see a defendant’s motive and see that as a mitigating factor. In this case the defendant’s opinion of Zapata was seen for what it was, a motive for 1st degree murder and proof that this was indeed a hate crime. If people view the 2 hour deliberation as tainting this verdict this reflects on their biases not the jurors’ biases.

    When jurors don’t buy the excuses for this type of murder and reject the idea that certain people ask for it or cause other people to become violent against their will, the trans-panic defense becomes further proof that the key motivator for the crime was bias and the well-thought out intent of the crime was murder.

  33. Mireille
    April 22, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    What a relief. I live in Denver which is progressive-ish but I don’t know Greeley. I’m just so glad the bogus defense was seen for what it was. It’s actually bringing tears to my eyes to know that this murderer is being punished for the crime he committed. The jury saw Angie, not the deceptive “man” the defense was trying to paint. thank youthankyouthank you…

  34. Jason
    April 22, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I’ve been sat here for two hours trying to form words, to… form thoughts. I’ve been listening to news reports, reading things on it, and unashamedly crying. I’ve considered waking my partner to tell him, although the news doesn’t affect him too much- he’s not trans.

    I am. I’m not American. But I didn’t realise, until I read the verdict, how much this affects me.
    This is- it’s just a huge step, towards ending trans hate crimes and discrimination.

    Still. I’m sort of numb. I don’t know what to do or say or think.

  35. April 22, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    This is really good. I hope the conviction is of some comfort to Angie’s family and friends.

  36. madeleine
    April 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I agree that about this not being “justice,” but I have to say I’m really happy that the trans-panic defense didn’t fly. I was horrified by the possibility. And I’m glad it didn’t work.

  37. April 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    In the AP story the defense attorney said: “This is not something that people plan for,” she told jurors. “This isn’t a situation where people know how they would act.”

    If people don’t know how they would act — or whether or not they would beat another human being to death — upon learning that someone was trans that reflects negatively on them. I know for a certainty that I would not commit this crime.

  38. Lizzie (greeneyed fem)
    April 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm


    This gives me a little peace of mind. Just a little. My sadness and anger are no longer compounded with rage at the thought that this fucker could go free.

  39. April 22, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I’m very troubled at how many people are telling me to fuck off because I think 2 hrs isn’t enough on a case like this because it passes some mark of being clearcut.

    The fact that the average jury takes 2 hrs is absolutely appalling in itself.

  40. April 22, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Then go write about it on a blog post about a case that doesn’t involve the very rare conviction of a man for murdering a trans woman.

  41. April 22, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Sorry, bad wording — I meant that because people think the case is clearcut they would take such offense with me suggesting the deliberations should have taken longer.

    Did those who tell me to fuck off see this as apologising for Andrade or asking society “takes it easy” on him?

  42. April 22, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Cara, it is precisely because it’s such an important crucial case that I think they should have deliberated more.

    Of course those who think he did nothing wrong will spin things any which way they can but it is better if we remove as much ammunition as possible from them (ie. appearances of impropriety and injustice even if trivial get amplified in the media and used for nefarious purposes).

  43. Lisa A.
    April 22, 2009 at 10:18 pm


    I’m not sure I understand why you find the 2 hour deliberation problematic. If there had been any question as to whether or not he committed the murder, I might agree. But, as far as I know, the only real question was whether or not it was premeditated. And given such strong evidence that it was, I don’t think 2 hours was an unreasonably short time to reach a decision.

  44. UnHinged Hips
    April 22, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    -The defense admitted he killed her.
    -The defense admitted he killed her because she was transgendered.
    -Their defense was that it was excusable that he killed her because she was transgendered.
    -Thus, their defense was that it was excusable *because* it was a hate crime.
    -That’s a stupid defense, and it doesn’t take more than two hours to come to that conclusion. What do you imagine they could possibly discuss for an extended period of time? I’m honestly wondering….what issues/questions do you think needed to be examined at length?

  45. April 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    michael @14:

    Did those who tell me to fuck off see this as apologising for Andrade or asking society “takes it easy” on him?

    yes, i for one do.

    obviously you think that andrade should not have been convicted of 1st degree murder. obviously you think that angie deserved to die. obviously you are more concerned with the murderer, who is still alive, than with the victim. why the fuck else would you make a comment like that? the jury only needed two hours to convict because it was OBVIOUS that this was a PREMEDITATED HATE CRIME. andrade knew that angie was trans for at least 36 hours before he killed her.

    moderators: ban please.

  46. Kristen J.
    April 22, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    But I think even more unfortunately than that, even if they hadn’t made such an argument and the jury had still convicted, it wouldn’t have prevented a jury from acquitting on the “trans panic” grounds in the future.

    You know I didn’t think that this was going to be a referendum on the “trans panic” defense, particularly after I heard that Angie had been outed on the record 36 hours prior to the murder. The “panic” defense was clearly bullshit.

    My fear was jury forgiveness/nullification. I’ve seen it in rape cases, domestic violence cases, child abuse cases…I was afraid that the jury wouldn’t that a person was brutally murdered, that they would use the trans panic defense as a crutch to render their judgment that trans women don’t matter.

    I’m just thrilled there were 12 reasonable human beings sitting on that jury.

  47. April 22, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    GallingGalla — at first I thought your whole long paragraph was sarcastic but then I realised you were serious. See, my original impression of your words wasn’t correct but then I read it a second time. I think if you look over my comments again you’ll find that I’m on the same side as all the other commenters here. I realise this blog must get lots of trolls and I may not have expressed myself as clearly as I could. But if people who haven’t commented much before get banned because of misunderstandings this would only be a bad thing I think.

    Now on the issue. I agree that it’s an important case and a satisfying verdict. The disagreement is what kind of verdict is most satisfying and most advantageous for future prosecutors to deal with these crimes? Cara and others seem to be ok with a 2 hr deliberation — and maybe it does say something, namely that the crime was so heinous and the evidence so obvious that this is all the deliberations that were needed. But note: I think more of you would be uncomfortable if they deliberated for 5 mins only, right? So it’s a matter of what you think a bare minimum would be even for a case like this.

    To me 2 hrs is not much for most cases. Now this case is more clearcut than most but I still think it could be misused by others. I can already imagine a WorldNetDaily article lamenting how poor Andrade was convicted by a biased jury and comparing the case to an innocent black defendant convicted by an all-white jury in a very short time. This will be total BS but if the jury deliberated for longer then this argument will be taken away even from the most extreme apologists of the murder.

    Of course I can’t really blame the jury for not sitting around for another few hours just so their verdict has more legs PR-wise, but to me it’s not quite as satisfying.

    Hope this clears things up and that those who disagree won’t think I was trying to say something more sinister. I’m sorry I didn’t express this more clearly — I tend to forget how many trolls feminist sites must have so didn’t think I could be seen as apologist because I’ve only commented once or twice before.

  48. peterpi
    April 22, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    I also live in Denver, and I thought “Thank God!” when I heard the verdict.
    I was terribly afraid some jerk on the jury would go for murder in the 2nd degree or some such.
    I was on a jury not too long ago on a “blocking the streets” case in connection with DNC (Democratic National Convention) protests last summer. We deliberated for 8 hours on that one.
    The fact the jury took two hours to me means “nobody” bought the defense argument. Greeley is rural, more conservative than Denver. And for those jurors to see right through the defense argument makes me glad.
    For those praying or hoping that someday the “gay/trans panic defense” will cease, it will … when attorneys and defendants see that it gets them a swift ticket to a guilty plea and a long prison sentence.
    So I toast every single one of those jurors for bringing that day one step closer!

  49. April 22, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Allen Ray Andrade, the man who murdered Angie Zapata (left), was just minutes ago convicted on the two main charges of first degree murder and bias-motivated crime (hate crime).

    Good! I realise it’s a low baseline to have, but I am happy that the jury came to the right (and obvious) conclusion. It doesn’t change the fact that Angie died violently for no good reason at all, and it doesn’t change how disgusting the defence’s tactics were, but it gives me some hope that it sends a message that you cannot treat a person this way and get away with it.

    There is so very far to go in ensuring that trans people get the rights and respect they deserve in society, but this was definitely a step in the right direction.

    (Hi, by the way, I realize this was my first post. Nothing like a bit of justice recognition that a serious wrong has actually been committed to make one delurk).

  50. Jennifer
    April 22, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Would that this had never happened in the first place and Angie was still alive and well. But I am so glad to hear that the gay panic defense didn’t work.

  51. Kristen J.
    April 23, 2009 at 12:06 am

    The “panic” defense was clearly bullshit.

    To be clear (since I just re-read what I wrote and it didn’t make sense)…the trans panic defense is completely bullshit overall and shouldn’t have been argued to the jury since it isn’t reasonable to become so angry you kill someone just because they happen to be trans. What I was trying (poorly) to point out what that even if you accepted the judge’s (incorrect) decision to allow this defense, the defense was refuted by time lapse since it’s pretty damn hard to be in a complete state of unreasoning panic for 36 hours.

  52. April 23, 2009 at 12:10 am

    [Mod note: graphic descriptions of Angie’s murder. Trigger Warning.]

    Michael, here are a few more reasons why 2 hours was plenty of time for the jury to convict Andrade on all counts and why the lenght of their deliberations simply isn’t an issue.

    The judge instructed the jurors that they could not consider any of the lesser included offenses — second degree murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide — until and unless they first completely acquitted him on the primary charge of first degree murder. Therefore, there was no reason for them to spend any time on those offenses until they decided the primary charge.

    As others have said, Andrade and his attorneys admitted that he killed Angie. That left only two questions the jury had to answer on the first degree murder charge: (1) was the murder was intentional, i.e., was killing Angie his conscious goal; and (2) was the murder committed “after deliberation,” i.e., was it premeditated. Given the evidence here, those two questions are pretty easy to answer.

    First, bashing someone in the head with a fire extinguisher multiple times until her skull is crushed is a pretty good indicator that Andrade’s purpose was to kill Angie. You don’t do that thinking, “hmmm, she might or might not die if I bash her head in. Let’s see what happens.” In addition, the autopsy showed that Andrade didn’t hit Angie any place other than her head. Again, you don’t hit someone only in the head with a lethal weapon unless you intend to kill them. Because of the way he did it, it’s clear that Andrade intended to kill, not merely injure, Angie. Thus, the murder was intentional.

    Second, because the most damaging portions of his confession were suppressed, the jury didn’t hear Andrade tell Det. Tharp that he hit Angie with the fire extinguisher the first time and thought she was dead; then, while he was going through her apartment figuring out what to steal, he heard Angie “gurgle” and saw her sit up, so he went back with the fire extinguisher and, this time, made sure she was dead. That’s absolutely conclusive evidence of premeditation, but, as I said, the jury didn’t get to hear that.

    What they did get to hear is that Andrade first beat Angie with his fists; then, he paused to take the fire extinguisher down from the wall and use it to kill Angie. That pause, even if all he had to do was reach over and grab the extinguisher without having to take a single step, is ample time for the premeditation or deliberation that the law requires for first degree murder to occur.

    But, how do we know what he was thinking during that time? We know he was thinking about how he was going to kill Angie, because you don’t grab a lethal weapon like a fire extinguisher, after beating someone with your fists, and then use it to bash in her skull unless your plan is to kill her.

    At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself, but what about the evidence (primarily the things Andrade said to his girlfriends from jail) that indicated that Andrade acted impulsively and without thinking or even knowing what he was doing? It’s true that there was plenty of evidence that the jury could have relied on to acquit Andrade of first degree murder. The beauty, and sometimes the bane, of the jury system in this country, however, is that it simply doesn’t matter how much contrary evidence there may be. It only matters whether the prosecution has presented enough evidence for a reasonable jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There was more than enough evidence for the jury to convict Andrade, so no matter how long or how vehemently he and his family may argue that the jury shouldn’t have believed the prosecution’s evidence, it simply doesn’t matter.

    How do I know all this and why am I so confident in my conclusions? I’m an attorney. In fact, I’m a criminal defense attorney. In addition, I’m a very special kind of criminal defense attorney because I don’t represent people like Andrade in trials like the one that just ended today. Instead, for the last 12 years, I have done nothing but pour through the record of trials like this one on behalf of defendants like Andrade looking for claims that their convictions were improper, e.g., because there wasn’t sufficient evidence to convict them. Every single time during those 12 years that I have argued that the jury made a mistake because there wasn’t enough evidence, the appeals court “schools” me by showing me how, regardless of how I think the evidence should have been interpreted, it was reasonable for the jury to see it differently and convict my clients. In other words, where the evidence is disputed and the jury chooses to believe the prosecution, the defendant always loses. Given all this, there’s no chance Andrade’s convictions will be overturned on appeal for lack of evidence and any concern about the fact that the jury only took 2 hours to convict won’t even be a footnote when the Colorado courts reject his appeal.

  53. April 23, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Kristen J., the “trans panic” defense is inherent in the statutes defining the crimes of first and second degree murder, and, in some states, manslaughter. Therefore, the judge had no choice to exclude Andrade’s defense, as long as there was even minimal evidence to support it, which Andrade’s statements during the jailhouse phone calls to his girlfriends provided. If we want to preclude this and similar defenses in future cases, we have to convince the legislatures of every state and the U.S. Congress to amend those statutes.

  54. Alison2
    April 23, 2009 at 3:36 am

    Abby, but the judge still has the discretion to determine, as a question of law, if the evidence the defense gave, if believed, could have reasonably supported the defense, if a properly instructed jury acting reasonably could have accepted it. The judge still weighs and considers the range of reasonable inferences from the evidence and determine if the proposed inference of the accused has any logic or reasonableness. Sorry if this is a derail, but I just did not think it was fair to say Kristen J is necessarily incorrect..

  55. Alison2
    April 23, 2009 at 4:09 am

    (but I should say, I am Canadian, so maybe this does not apply to the states. And, I felt the need to comment because I found the I’m a lawyer so let me school you on the law a bit unnecessary, since we are not in law school here, we are morning a loss, discussing what justice means if anything, etc. Though responding to that with more law talk I now realize is probably a poor choice on my part)

  56. Emmett
    April 23, 2009 at 4:26 am

    Michael, you are making excuses and derailing. No one gives a fuck what the wingnuts say, and frankly the deliberation time will be a footnote in whatever hateful screed they might publish about this. A longer deliberation time means an indecisive jury. A short deliberation actually sends a stronger message. Your reasons for wanting a longer deliberation are backwards and wrong. Stop concern trolling about the misguided jury and how they didn’t deliberate to your satisfaction and try talking about the trans woman this post is about. Cara @42 already told you as much.

  57. Fitcher's Bird
    April 23, 2009 at 5:43 am

    I hate how relieved I am about this. While I’m glad of the conviction, even the concept of the “trans panic” defence being able to work is a sad indictment of society.

  58. Rebecca
    April 23, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Cara: Do you think you could stop the concern troll crapping all over the thread, considering the subject matter?

    It hasn’t sunken in. I seriously didn’t believe justice would be done here, and the final result – the guilty on all charges, the short delibration time, and the first successful trans hate crime prosecution in US history… it’s unbelievable. And while it’s a small step, it’s still a bloody important precedent, and it’s set a fairly good example of how to blow a trans panic defence out of the water.

  59. April 23, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Michael, stop. Seriously, just stop. Obviously you haven’t been around for the recent threads dealing with trans issues where cisfolk stepped in and turned the thread into their concerns. (If you were around for that, and you’re still acting like this, you deserve a ban.) I think it’s more a shame that you couldn’t take two minutes to step back and reflect on the community that you were entering than that someone new to the community could be a total asshole and wind up being banned for it.

    And leaving a long comment in reply explaining your oh-so-important best-of-intentions is just committing exactly the same offense you’re getting lectured for.

    Got it? Good.

  60. Wednesday
    April 23, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Thank goodness the jury didn’t buy the trans panic defense. As others have said, the defense basically admitted that he killed her, and he did it because she was trans – I’m so glad the “trans panic” didn’t, in the jury’s eyes, excuse this.

    The verdict won’t bring Angie back, and it probably won’t stop the next hate crime, but hopefully the precedent will mean “foo panic” will be this much less likely to be considered as valid.

  61. April 23, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Michael will not be allowed to leave any more comments on this thread. Depending on what they are (say, if they’re like they are here), he won’t be able to comment on any thread ever again, but he definitely won’t be able to comment on this one. My apologies to everyone who had to read that bullshit.

  62. April 23, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I’m usually pretty cynical, but I really believed that the jury would reject the defense and go top-count. It helped that Andrade was highly unsympathetic, and that Zapata was sympathetic.

    I do think, though, that this could be a turning point in the trans panic defense. I think the publicity alone will make trans women seem less unusual to the next jury; the concept will be more familiar and the deliberate effort to dehumanize her more cruel and off-putting. Prosecutors who are any good already know to humanize a murder victim and to put on evidence that destroys the credibility of a surprise timeline; this will tell them that it works even with a jury that isn’t particularly sympathetic.

    I have some thoughts on what motivated Andrade at Yes Means Yes, that are not quite the topic of this post.

  63. Persia
    April 23, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Abby, you kick ass.

    Also, this verdict was such a relief. I didn’t expect it to come until late today, and it was so awesome to check Pam’s blog and see the big blinking banner! (Also, I’d love to hear some shout-outs to Pam’s House Blend and Autumn for hosting/blogging. She did amazing work. This entry was particularly moving.)

    Two hours was more than enough. I’m just glad the mostly-white, mostly-male jury agreed.

  64. stlthy
    April 23, 2009 at 10:47 am

    That is a huge relief. I hope it provides a little bit of consolation for the people who cared about her.

  65. Milla
    April 23, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Such a relief that the jury didn’t cop out, although she isn’t here, and that can’t be changed. Maybe somebody else will pause and realize they can’t get away with murder because a bullshit “trans panic” defense.

  66. kb
    April 23, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I have to say I’m glad for this, and I do have one thing to add about the whole “is this justice?” question. No, probably not-justice is about equality, and we as a society don’t go in for doing the same thing to every criminal that they do to people, for good reasons. but justice shouldn’t always be the goal. How about protecting future trans women that this man would run across? That’s the thing that makes me most hopeful-that he won’t have the chance to kill future trans people.

  67. April 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I think I’m right in saying that this is the first time a pre-meditated murder of a trans woman has been deemed murder in the first degree in 32 years.

    That’s right, although nearly 1000 trans people have been slain in that period, there has not been a single first degree murder conviction for any of them since 1977.

    This changes the rules.

  68. Featherstone, QC
    April 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    “Michael will not be allowed to leave any more comments on this thread.”

    Really? For deigning to discuss the duration of deliberation?

    Cara – do you even think that Andrade should have gotten a trial at all?

    Quite frankly you’re not very impressive and your ad hoc comments policy does nothing but feed stereotypes about feminists as fragile, censorious, stunted crackpots.

  69. rioTgirl
    April 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I’m not sure how to respond to this. I didn’t realize how triggering this whole murder/trial/story was until the verdict was read and I sobbed. Angie will not come back to us, people still think feel free to liken a Trans* body to “mental rape”, even dead we get no respect from reporters or “authorities. BUT it was a victory – a hollow one for me personally, but a victory. It is a weakened link in the oppression that chains us all. That mitigates the pain and the sadness – the anger and rage.

  70. April 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    FYI, Featherstone’s tired comments above might have been enough to get him banned under normal circumstances. But they didn’t.

    No, this comment just served as a reminder that after fuming on gchat with Jill for 10 minutes, I somehow forgot to ban him for unpublishable and deleted comments on this thread which far too closely resembled in spirit the CNN comments that Zoe later posted there.

    That, for the record, is why he’s banned.

    As you were.

  71. April 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    @Alison2, #56 & 57: Yes, the judge does have to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to allow the jury to consider a defense like the one Andrade asserted. However, because of how this type of “heat of passion” defense is treated under Colorado law, the standard for meeting that test is extremely low. Under that standard, any evidence that raises even an inference that the defense might be valid requires that the jury be given the chance to consider. (In Arizona, the courts say that only a “mere scintilla” of evidence is required.) Given the statements that Andrade made in the jailhouse phone calls to his girlfriends, the judge had no choice but to allow the jury to consider his “trans panic” defense. If the judge had refused, he would have been handing Andrade a ticket to a reversal on appeal on a silver platter, something that none of us want.

    Also, thank you for gentle criticism of my “I’m a lawyer so let me school you on the law” attitude in my previous posts. You are exactly right. Such pretentiousness is unnecessary. Next time, I will simply allow my words to stand on their own, for better or for worse.

  72. Bagelsan
    April 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    (Could someone put a warning on Abby’s long post? That was pretty graphic. Thanks.)

    The 2 hours thing doesn’t bother me at all. 5 minutes of deliberation wouldn’t really bother me either. If someone was like “hey, is it cool if I kill your little sister?” any hesitation at all on my part before a resounding “HELL NO” would be *evil.* It doesn’t take reasonable people more than 2 hours to decide that “murder is bad.” And anyone who thinks that it *should* take a while to decide whether or not murdering a girl in cold blood is bad is fucked up. There’s no reason for a jury to cater to the sociopath crowd, no matter how concerned the trolls are about their theoretical future whining. (I’m sure this has been addressed already and better, but I wanted to pile on too.)

  73. Kristen J.
    April 23, 2009 at 11:41 pm


    Provocation/heat of passion are a defenses because we assume a person might reasonably lose their self-control under certain circumstances. I doubt you’d get passed a judge where the provocation was “my roommate ate my last twinkie” or “she forgot to set the alarm clock.” The judge in this case may have made the right decision to avoid appeal, but he didn’t make the right decision IMO from a ethical perspective.

    I think Jill was talking about this a few days ago…if I remember correctly.

  74. CartoonCoyote
    April 24, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Further up the thread, it was stated that Andrade’s going back to ensure Angie’s death after she came to wasn’t even heard by the jury. Wow. If they had, their deliberation probably would have lasted two minutes. I wonder what the members’ reactions will be when they eventually find that out.

    Good news, nevertheless.

  75. SoE
    April 25, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I think it sends quite a message. Not that any convictions or even the death penalty have ever kept people from killing other persons. More likely the larger public finally acknowledges that admitting a hate crime is no longer a “get out of prison card” but actually gets you convicted on a second charge. It’s about time.

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