BREAKING: Andrade sentenced to life without parole in Zapata killing
GREELEY — A man convicted Wednesday of using a fire extinguisher to crush the skull of a transgender Greeley woman was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole just over an hour after a jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts charged, including first-degree murder and hate-crime charges. Weld District Judge Marcelo Kopcow imposed the mandatory life sentence on Allen Andrade, 32, for murdering Angie Zapata, 18, last summer in Greeley.
“Mr. Andrade, I hope as you’re spending the remaining part of your natural life in the Department of Corrections that everyday you think of the violence and brutality that you caused on this fellow human being and the pain you have caused, not only on your family but the family of Angie Zapata,” Kopcow told Andrade, who re-entered the courtroom an hour after the jury verdict shackled and wearing a bright orange prison jumpsuit.
Andrade faces additional sentencing next month on the bias-motivated, or hate-crime charge and on felony automobile and identity theft charges. Prosecutors plan to pursue habitual offender charges against Andrade, court officials said.
“I’m my baby’s mom,” said Maria Zapata, Angie Zapata’s mother, as she took the stand to testify in the sentencing hearing just an hour after learning her daughter’s killer would face the rest of his life behind bars. She thanked Kopcow for his courtesy while the large Zapata family attended hearings and sat through the five-day trial, apologizing for “things we couldn’t help because it’s been so hard, so hard, for my family and myself. I lost something, somebody so precious,” she said.
“It hurts so bad. I feel so alone. If it wasn’t for the rest of my children, I don’t know. I just feel so alone all the time,” Zapata said, sobbing. “Mr. Andrade has the opportunity to see his family, to have his family to talk to, to write. He didn’t give me that opportunity with my baby. He took my baby away from me in such a selfish act. The one thing he can never take away is the love and the memories me and my children will have for my baby, my beautiful, beautiful baby.”
Christina Cruz, Andrade’s sister, addressed the judge from the witness stand: “Nobody wanted to be in this position. We sat on the side of the courtroom too,” she said, acknowledging that the Zapata and Andrade families had sat across the aisle from each other through the trial. “My brother has a family as well. I’m very sorry. This is a very tragic thing that happened. But it’s not something we signed up for. I love my brother. We’re not supporting the outcome, but we are supporting my brother. I love him very much.”
Prosecutor Robb Miller addressed the court before the judge imposed the sentence: “It was clear Mr. Andrade valued Angie Zapata’s life less than he did other lives. A life sentence is justice in this case. A life sentence is what justice demands in this case and that’s what I’ll ask the court to impose.”
Public defender Annette Kundelius spoke briefly before the sentence was handed down: “I think it’s important for everyone to know Mr. Andrade is not some kind of monster, as some have portrayed.” Saying she’d had a chance to get to know Andrade since she began defending him last fall, Kundelius said, “He is a good person and has feelings and he does care. He does have a lot of people who care about him, and he does care about them as well.”
When asked whether he wanted to say anything, Andrade replied, “No.”
Read our continuing coverage of the Zapata murder trial.
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