Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Puerto Rican Gay Teen’s Confessed Murderer Sent for Psychological Testing

Juan A. Martínez Matos in Custody

The confessed killer of  gay teen Jorge Steven López Mercado has been ordered by a judge to undergo psychological evaluation, according to EDGE Boston.  Juan A. Martínez Matos, who confessed that he slaughtered his victim in a moment of “gay panic,” will be tested as to his fitness to stand trial before being returned to the court in Caguas on or before January 13, 2010.  LGBT advocates in Puerto Rico and on the United States mainland have expressed anger at the judicial move.  Pedro Julio Serrano, leading LGBT activist, told EDGE on December 9, “This is outrageous. The reality is we’re seeking justice and we will not rest until this process is done without prejudice.”  Serrano said that the concerns expressed by the gay youth’s grieving family were simply for justice to be done.  Both Serrano and López Mercado’s family have been assured by local prosecutor Yaritza Carrasquillo that the investigation into his gruesome murder will be conducted as a hate crime under the territory’s sexual orientation hate crimes statute.  The LGBT activist community in Puerto Rico remains skeptical.  Though a law protecting LGBT people has been on the books for years, local prosecutors have been unwilling to use the hate crimes provision in any LGBT-related cases up to this point.  If any murder qualifies as a bias-motivated anti-LGBT crime, the November 13, 2009 killing of López Mercado surely does.  Matos confessed shortly after his arrest that he carried out the crime in a homophobic rage because of an encounter with a gay man in his youth, setting the stage for doubts to be sewn about his mental state at the time of the murder.  Matos allegedly beheaded his 19-year-old victim, severed his arms and legs from his torso, and attempted to burn the body, which was found dumped by the side of a road in rural Cayey.  He is charged with first-degree murder for the slaying, and is being held on $4 million bail.

December 10, 2009 - Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Decapitation and dismemberment, gay men, gay panic defense, gay teens, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, immolation, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Puerto Rico, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings, Torture and Mutilation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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