Angie Zapata murder trial: accused faces habitual offender tag

January 1, 2009

Via the Greeley Tribune:

Andrade faces habitual offender tag

The man accused of killing a transgender woman in Greeley this summer could likely face extra time if he’s not convicted as charged.

The Weld District Attorney on Tuesday moved to increase a potential sentence in the murder case against Allen Andrade, 32, by filing habitual criminal charges against the Thornton man. In this case, the habitual criminal status guarantees a sentence of four times the amount of the sentence of the convicted crime.

[…]

[Mr Andrade has] been charged with first-degree murder, a bias-motivated crime, felony motor vehicle theft and felony identity theft.

The murder charge guarantees life in prison without the possibility of parole or a maximum sentence of death, according to state law.

But there is always the possibility of Andrade being convicted of what is called a “lesser-included,” which in this case could be, for example, second-degree murder, which carries a sentences of eight to 24 years in prison. Juries often are given the option to convict of lesser crimes if they don’t find there’s enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt on the crime charged.

“If he’s convicted of lesser-included, if we don’t file these now, then we don’t have the option later,” Weld District Attorney Ken Buck said. “We filed these so that if a lesser-included is the verdict, then we have the opportunity to pursue the habitual criminal” status.

The habitual criminal charges stem from Andrade’s past court record. Court records show Andrade pleaded guilty in three different felony cases: one in 2000 for possession of contraband, another in 2003 for theft and another case in early 2004 for providing false information to a pawn broker. Court records indicate Andrade was sentenced to one year in prison for the contraband charge, three years in prison for the theft charge, and another 15 months in prison for the final case.

If Andrade isn’t convicted of murder at trial, which is scheduled to begin April 14, Buck will present the habitual criminal evidence. If Judge Marcelo Kopcow finds Andrade guilty of the criminal counts, he would be required by Colorado law to sentence him to four times the maximum.

“If he is convicted as charged, he’d be sentenced to life without parole, plus he’d be sentenced for stealing the car, and (the identity theft). We wouldn’t pursue the habitual criminal counts.”

For me, I don’t think I will ever be able to read Mr Andrade’s quote (in relation to the murder of Angie Zapata) without a chill running down my spine: “Gay things need to die”.

Mr Andrade’s jury trial is scheduled to begin on April 14. Should Mr Andrade be found guilty of murdering Angie Zapata – of bludgeoning her to death with a fire extinguisher and leaving her for dead on the floor of her own apartment – then I hope the court will reach a verdict which adequately reflects that fact.

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(Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia)

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