A man accused in the beating death of a transgender teenager he met online snapped when he learned in person that the 18-year-old living as a woman had male sex organs, authorities in Colorado said Wednesday.
Allen Ray Andrade, 32, is currently charged with second-degree murder in the death of Angie Zapata, who was born Justin Zapata but lived as a young woman. Andrade is being held without bond. It was unclear whether he has hired an attorney.
Prosecutors have 72 hours to file charges, including a possible first-degree murder commission of a hate crime. Andrade admitted to investigators that he beat Zapata first with his fists and then with a fire extinguisher after he grabbed her genitalia and discovered Zapata had a penis, according to a Weld County arrest affidavit obtained by ABCNews.com.
Zapata's body was discovered by her sister on July 17 inside her Greeley, Colo., apartment. She had been fatally beaten, with blunt force trauma around her head, according to the Weld County Coroner's Office.
Andrade told investigators that he and Zapata met on the social networking Web site MocoSpace, according to the affidavit. They arranged to meet and on July 15, Andrade, who has a criminal record in neighboring Adams County, said that Zapata attended a court hearing with him. Later that day, Zapata allegedly performed oral sex on Andrade but refused to let him touch her sexually.
The following day, according to the affidavit, Zapata left Andrade alone at her apartment. The suspect told investigators that he noticed photographs that, coupled with her reluctance the previous day, raised questions about "Zapata's sex."
Later on July 16, Andrade said he asked Zapata outright whether she was a man or woman. "I am all woman," Zapata allegedly told him, according to the affidavit. He asked for proof and when she refused, Andrade told investigators, he "grabbed Zapata's genital area and felt a penis."
"Andrade indicated he became angered by his discovery and struck victim Zapata with his fists," according to the affidavit. He then grabbed a fire extinguisher, he said, and struck her twice.
He told investigators he thought he "killed it," referring to Zapata. As he prepared to flee, Andrade said, he heard Zapata "gurgling" and saw her start to sit up, then he hit her in the head again with the fire extinguisher, according to the affidavit.
The suspect admitted to taking Zapata's PT Cruiser, which was missing from the murder scene. On July 28, a credit card in Zapata's name was used at multiple gas stations in the greater Denver area, according to police. Andrade also admitted to taking Zapata's purse and cell phone, which have not been recovered.
Authorities arrested Andrade in Thornton, Colo., early Thursday morning after responding to a noise call at an apartment complex. They found Andrade, who was wanted on traffic-related warrants, inside Zapata's car. They arrested him immediately on the outstanding warrants and for stealing Zapata's car, Jerry Garner, police chief in Greeley, said at Wednesday's news conference.
Weld County District Attorney Kenneth Buck said his office must now decide whether to bring additional charges against the suspect, including the possibility of a hate crime charge or a first-degree murder charge if prosecutors determine "premeditation."