Interest in Angie Zapata murder revived by TV crime show

Angie Zapata, 18, was brutally murdered in July of 2008 at her rural home in Greely, Colorado. According to a new crime show, “The excessive injuries to Angie’s body reeked of overkill, and suggested a deeply personal motive.” The Investigation Disovery channel (ID) program aired earlier this week, and is set to air again Saturday, June 15, at 10 am.

Titled “Dressed to Kill” or “A Secret Double Life,” it presents Zapata’s case in the familiar murder mystery format. Much of the crime scene and the investigation has been dramatically reenacted for the show. It also includes interviews with Angie’s sister, law enforcement officials and journalists.

[SPOILERS] The details of Angie’s murder are public knowledge now, but it is not until halfway through the program that Zapata is revealed to have been a transgender woman. Calling her autopsy report a “staggering revelation” and “a shock” to the community, the program then details how the investigation eventually led to Alan Ray Andrade.

Zapata reportedly met Andrade through a social website called MocoSpace. They spoke by phone and later spent a day together. Afterward, they went back to Angie’s home where she performed oral sex on Andrade. He soon noticed photos around Zapata’s apartment where she appeared in younger years as a boy. Andrade allegedly grew incensed and confronted her by grabbing her crotch. He then beat Angie viciously in the head with a fire extinquisher, then covered her bloodied body with a carpet. As he prepared his exit, she began moving again, so Andrade hit Zapata again in the head with the fire extinguisher.

At trial, Andrade’s legal team attempted to use the so-called “panic defense” and blamed Zapata, in part, for tricking Andrade by hiding her sexual identity. Prosecutors, however, were able to convince the jury that Andrade had killed Zapata because of deep-seated, anti-gay hatred. In phone conversations recorded at the jailhouse, Andrade told a girlfriend that he had “killed it.” In addition, Denver’s ABC-7 reported that prosecutors had suggested the killer may have been confused about his own sexuality: He had visted a bisexual chat room on MocoSpace.

Andrade was convicted of first-degree murder in 2009. He was sentenced to life in prison, plus 60 years because his actions qualified as a hate crime. According to the Denver Post, this was the first time a hate crime statute had been used in the murder of a transgender person.

Angie’s family held a tearful press conference after the trial. Her brother said the defense had lied about her and had been “tearing down” her image “to make a monster look better.” He emphasized that Angie had been an honest young woman who was “born as a girl, with a body that was wrong for her.”

If you miss Sins and Secrets on TV, you can purchase the episode online (Season 4, Episode 9) at Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. Angie Zapata’s story was previously documented in the film “Photos of Angie,” too. 

JD Uy has been a Metro Weekly webmaster, distribution manager, blogger and videographer since 2002.