GREELEY — A man convicted Wednesday of using a fire extinguisher to
crush the skull of a transgender Greeley woman was sentenced to life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole just over an hour after
a jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts charged, including
first-degree murder and hate-crime charges. Weld District Judge Marcelo
Kopcow imposed the mandatory life sentence on Allen Andrade, 32, for murdering Angie Zapata, 18, last summer in Greeley.
“Mr. Andrade, I hope as you’re spending the remaining part of your
natural life in the Department of Corrections that everyday you think
of the violence and brutality that you caused on this fellow human
being and the pain you have caused not only on your family but the
family of Angie Zapata,” Kopcow told Andrade, who re-entered the
courtroom an hour after the jury verdict shackled and wearing a bright
orange prison jumpsuit.
Andrade faces additional sentencing next month on the
bias-motivated, or hate-crime charge and on felony automobile and
identity theft charges. The Prosecutors plan to pursue habitual offender charges against Andrade, court officials said.
“I’m my baby’s mom,” said Maria Zapata, Angie Zapata’s mother, as
she took the stand to testify in the sentencing hearing just an hour
after learning her daughter’s killer would face the rest of his life
behind bars. She thanked Kopcow for his courtesy while the large Zapata
family attended hearings and sat through the five-day trial,
apologizing for “things we couldn’t help because it’s been so hard, so
hard, for my family and myself. I lost something, somebody so
precious,” she said.
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“It hurts so bad. I feel so alone. If it wasn’t for the rest of my
children, I don’t know. I just feel so alone all the time,” Zapata
said, sobbing. “Mr. Andrade has the opportunity to see his family. He
took my baby away from me in such a selfish act. The one thing he can
never take away is the love and the memories me and my children will
have for my baby, my beautiful, beautiful baby.”
Christina Cruz, Andrade’s sister, addressed the judge from the
witness stand: “Nobody wanted to be in this position. We sat on the
side of the courtroom too,” she said, acknowledging that the Zapata and
Andrade families had sat across the aisle from each other through the
trial. “My brother has a family as well. I’m very sorry. This is a very
tragic thing that happened. But it’s not something we signed up for. I
love my brother. We’re not supporting the outcome, but we are
supporting my brother. I love him very much.”
Prosecutor Robb Miller addressed the court before the judge imposed
the sentence: “It was clear Mr. Andrade valued Angie Zapata’s life less
than he did other lives. A life sentence is justice in this case. A
life sentence is what justice demands in this case and that’s what I’ll
ask the court to impose.”
Public defender Annette Kundelius spoke briefly before the sentence
was handed down: “I think it’s important for everyone to know Mr.
Andrade is not some kind of monster, as some have portrayed.” Saying
she’d had a chance to get to know Andrade since she began defending him
last fall, Kundelius said, “He is a good person and has feelings and he
does care. He does have a lot of people who care about him, and he does
care about them as well.”
When asked whether he wanted to say anything, Andrade replied, “No.”