Judge plans to rule on confession in killing of transgender woman
Attorneys for Andrade, 32, argued in Weld County District Court Friday, that detectives should have stopped questioning the suspect after he said, “I’m done. Yeah. I’m not talking right now.”
The detective testified he believed Andrade was “battling his conscience and didn’t want to admit to murder.”
Andrade was arrested in Thornton in July while driving Zapata’s car, which had been missing since her body was discovered two weeks earlier in her Greeley apartment. Police said Andrade confessed that night that he hit Zapata with a fire extinguisher and then, after she appeared to regain consciousness, hit her again until she died.
“When Mr. Andrade made those statements, he was very sleepy, had been in the room for hours and had asked for coffee,” Andrade’s defense attorney said Friday. “Those statements were not voluntary.”
District Court Judge Marcelo Kopcow said he would release a written ruling this week, according to the court clerk’s office. Andrade is scheduled to go on trial April 14 on charges of first-degree murder, commission of a hate crime, automobile theft and identity theft.
Late last year, District Attorney Ken Buck filed habitual criminal charges against Andrade, which could quadruple his sentence if he isn’t found guilty of the most serious murder charge.
Defense attorneys said Friday they planned to argue Andrade committed a “heat of passion murder,” and not first-degree murder, because Andrade became enraged when he discovered Zapata had male genitalia. Prosecutors contend Andrade grew suspicious Zapata was transgendered earlier in the day and lay in wait for Zapata to return home. He then killed her because he believed fellow gang members were after him, prosecutors said.
Both sides also argued Friday whether Andrade was still a gang member, which could establish premeditation if he feared his gang would kill him for homosexual behavior, according to prosecution arguments.
Zapata’s family attended the day-long hearing “because they are looking for justice,” Kelly Costello of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program told the Tribune. “The family wants everyone to remember Angie, and they were here to make sure she was central to the trial.”
Andrade is being held without bond at the Weld County Jail.
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