A man accused of bludgeoning to death an 18-year-old transgendered Fort Lupton woman will face additional criminal charges that could increase his sentence even if he’s not convicted of the most serious murder charges, The Greeley Tribune reported Wednesday. The Weld County district attorney filed habitual criminal charges this week against Allen Andrade, 32, who stands accused of killing Angie Zapata in July. Police say Andrade beat Zapata to death with his fists and a fire extinguisher after he learned the transgendered teenager was biologically a man.
Andrade is scheduled to stand trial in April on a raft of felony charges — first-degree murder, commission of a hate crime, automobile theft and identity theft. But if the jury convicts on a “lesser-included” charge, such as second-degree murder, the Thornton man could find himself facing a relatively brief prison sentence, the Tribune reports. The habitual criminal charges would quadruple any sentence handed to Andrade. A first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty in Colorado but a second-degree murder sentence can range from 8 to 24 years.
“If he’s convicted of lesser-included, if we don’t file these (habitual charges) 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.
Buck would only present evidence on Andrade’s three prior felony convictions — for contraband possession, theft and lying to a pawnbroker — if a jury convicts on the lesser charges, the Tribune reported.
When he was arrested in August, police said Andrade referred to Zapata as an “it,” telling them that he believed he “killed it.”
ABC News also corrected its coverage after first suggesting Zapata’s beating death was “provoked by her lifestyle.” The news organization subsequently wrote she “may have been targeted because she was transgender,” after the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation protested.
Andrade’s trial is set for April 14 in Greeley.