The court case in connection with the murder last year of Angie Zapata continues slowly towards the trial date of April 14. On Friday (March 5), the District Judge, Marcello Kopcow, presided over a pretrial hearing and his decision – due next week – seems likely to decide the legal path of the trial itself.
A crucial aspect of the case is now whether the suspect’s confession will be allowed in court.
The accused, a cis man named Allen Andrade, is charged with first-degree murder, a bias-motivated (hate) crime, aggravated motor vehicle theft and identity theft, following the discovery of Angie Zapata in her apartment in July 2008. Mr Andrade was subsequently arrested almost two weeks later while driving Ms Zapata’s car. During questioning by Greeley Police, Mr Andrade said he hit Ms Zapata with a fire extinguisher, and later, when she started to wake up, he hit her several more times until she died.
Via the Greeley Tribune:
But the interrogation session may have been tainted, according to the attorneys representing Andrade. The report by [Detective Greg] Tharp shows that at one point in the session, Andrade lowered his head to the table and said “No, no, no.”
Later, when the detective told Andrade there was two sides to every story, Andrade replied, “Yeah, I’m done, though. He later said “I’m done. Yeah. I’m not talking right now.”
Although Detective Tharp continued to question Andrade, not believing he wanted an attorney, the later confession could be thrown out because of Andrade saying he was through talking.
Said defense attorney Annette Kundelius: “When Mr. Andrade made those statements, he was very sleepy, had been in the room for hours and had asked for coffee. Those statements were not voluntary.”
In addition to the debate about the confession, the attorneys argued several other points Friday:
- Whether or not Andrade is a gang member. The defense said he once was, but no longer; the prosecutors said he’s still a gang member and cites his recent fights in the jail, backing gang members. It opens one question: gangs have been known to kill members for committing homosexual acts. Deputy District Attorney Robert Miller said Andrade killed Zapata because she tricked him into a sex act and therefore was afraid he’d also be killed. They believe it shows he premeditated the murder.
- When Andrade was arrested in Zapata’s car, he told police he’d just stolen the car from a short distance away because the keys were in the ignition. Prosecutors had sexual photos of Andrade in Zapata’s car, taken the previous week. The photos were on a cell phone found that night in the car. Defense attorneys said there is no proof that the phone belonged to Andrade, or that police had the legal right to look at the photos.
- Defense attorneys will be arguing that the case is a “heat of passion murder,” and not first-degree because Andrade was angry with Zapata when he discovered she was a man. Prosecutors claim Andrade learned of the deception earlier in the day, then waited for Zapata to return home and killed her because of his fear of his gang members coming after him.
- Some quart bottles of beer were found in the room, and defense attorneys said they may be using “intoxication” as a defense in the case.
The murder trial of Mr Andrade is set to begin April 14.
(Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia)
Previous related posts on this blog:
- Remembering Angie Zapata (February 17, 2009)
- Angie Zapata murder trial: accused faces habitual offender tag (January 1, 2009)
- Angie Zapata murder trial update (October 29, 2008)
- Angie Zapata trial – preliminary hearing (September 19, 2008)
- Angie Zapata murder – court date set (August 28, 2008)
- Nearly human? (August 15, 2008)
- Angie Zapata update (August 7, 2008)
- Linkage roundup (August 7, 2008)
- Don’t panic (July 31, 2008)