Jury selection is underway in the trial of the man accused of killing Angie Zapata, a transgender teenager. Allen Andrade, 32, is accused of beating Zapata to death in her Greeley apartment after finding out that she was biologically male.
According to Weld County court spokeswoman Karen Salaz, about 150 potential jurors reported to the courthouse yesterday morning. They filled out case-specific questionnaires, which were reviewed by the attorneys and judge in the case, and small groups of jurors were questioned behind closed doors, which judges can do in high-profile cases.
This afternoon, Salaz says as many as 100 potential jurors will hear "mini-opening statements" -- three-minute, fact-based summaries of the case given by the lawyers. Then the lawyers will question groups of about a dozen potential jurors at a time in order to narrow down the jury pool. Lawyers on both sides will be allowed to dismiss potential jurors they don't think would be well-suited to serve in the case.
The trial is expected to begin tomorrow, Salaz says. It will mark the first time Colorado's hate-crime statute, which includes protections for transgender people, is used to prosecute a transgender murder case.
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Westword will be blogging throughout the trial. Check back for updates.