30 July 2008

Arrest Made In Angie Zapata Murder Case

"Greeley Police have arrested Allen Ray Andrade, 22, of Thornton. He faces charges of second-degree murder and aggravated murder vehicle theft" in connection with the murder of Angie Zapata (previously blogged).

UPDATE: Police claim to have a confession from Andrade to a beating death that actually took place two days before the body was found, on July 15, 2008, immediately following a sexual encounter gone wrong in connection with Zapata's transgender status.

If this confession was secured in compliance with Miranda, probably all that remains is for defense counsel and prosecutors to negotiate over where the case lies on the spectrum from heat of passion murder (a class 3 felony) to felony murder (a class 1 felony), all of which are crimes of violence and sentenced more seriously as a result, and in turn, what sentence is appropriate for the crime of conviction. Alternately, defense counsel might take the case to trial and hope for jury nullification or a lenient verdict based upon prejudice against Zapata.

The normal sentencing range for heat of passion murder is sentence set by the judge somewhere between eight and twenty-four years in prison, followed by five years of mandatory parole, restitution, court costs, and possibly also a fine of $3000 to $750,000. Typically, no more than 25% of the sentence could be reduced for good time. The sentence for felony murder is life imprisonment without possibility of parole, or if sought by the prosecution and additional proceedings are conducted, the death penalty (unlikely in this case). There would also be a sentence on the lesser felony charge of aggravated vehicle theft, possibly served consecutively rather than concurrently with the murder charge.

Realistically, the lowest plausible sentence would be about seven years of time actually served in prison, and much longer sentences are possible.

While the murder immediately followed sexual activity according to police, it isn't clear from the description given by police that any sex offense (and the associated punishment for those types of offenses) would be involved in this case.

1 comment:

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

The Denver Post reports today that the next hearing in the case is set for September 18, 2008.