The judge has thrown out the confession of Allen Ray Andrade, who's accused of beating Angie Zapata to death when he found out she was a transwoman.
In the taped confession, he allegedly told investigators that he grabbed Zapata's crotch area, felt male genitalia and became angry. He told investigators that he took a fire extinguisher off a shelf, struck Zapata twice in the head and thought he "killed it."
But in a 24 page ruling, Judge Marcelo Kopcow said that Andrade's rights had been violated because he had told police he was finished answering questions, but investigators persisted with questions leading up to the confession.
"This court finds the defendant's statement, 'I'm done. Yeah, I'm not talking right now' ... is a clear statement of the defendant's request to remain silent and cut off further questioning," Kopcow said in a written ruling.
Bad news, indeed, but if we're going to be mad at anyone in this situation it's the police. They know the rules when it comes to conducting interrogations and this is the result when they break the rules.
Meanwhile, some homophobic statements Andrade made are going to be allowed:
Kopcow also ruled that Andrade's recorded statements in telephone calls from the Weld County Jail would remain as part of the evidence. In those calls, Andrade told his girlfriend that he "snapped" and that "gay things need to die."
The phone calls, played at his preliminary hearing in September, detailed that something bad had happened and that Andrade had made a mistake.
Andrade expressed in the calls that he was out of control, outside himself and not a coherent person the day of the murder, the calls revealed. The phone calls also were laden with derogatory remarks toward homosexuals. In the calls, Andrade stated that people in jail were afraid of him because of his reputation for wielding a fire extinguisher, the suspected murder weapon.
Kopcow ruled that prisoners "have little, if any, reasonable expectation of privacy while incarcerated."
Just in case anyone was still operating under the illusion that Americans make a distinction between "gay" and "transgender"....
Also thrown out was Andrade's status in a gang:
Prosecutors also wanted to include evidence that Andrade was a high-ranking member in a Colorado gang that apparently has a zero-tolerance policy on homosexuality. Prosecutors said Andrade would have faced serious punishment -- even death -- by his gang if it got out that he had any sexual relations with a man, therefore giving him a motive to kill Zapata.
Kopcow ruled that the gang evidence is more speculative than substantive.
"While this proposed evidence may be material and relevant to the defendant's motive, this court finds that the probative value of this evidence is strongly outweighed by the unfair (prejudicial) effect it will have on the jury," Kopcow wrote.
Even with these two pieces of evidence thrown out, it looks like the prosecution still has a strong case against Andrade. We'll see how this turns out.