Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Alleged Murderer of Transgender Woman to Stand Trial in Puerto Rico

Emmanuel Ayala (PrimeraHora.com photo)

Bayamón, Puerto Rico – A psychologist has informed the court in Bayamón that the alleged murderer of a popular transgender hair stylist is sane, and fit to stand trial for her murder.  EDGE reports that Emmanuel Adorno Ayala, 22, allegedly stabbed Ashley Santiago 14 times inside her Corozal, Puerto Rico home on April 19.  Santiago, 31, something of a local celebrity, was found dead, stripped naked in a large pool of blood in the kitchen of her home by police officers.  At the time of her murder, Pedro Julio Serrano, leading LGBTQ rights activist in Puerto Rico, urged authorities to investigate the homicide as a hate crime.  Transphobia has not been publicly established as a motive for the crime, but Serrano and other activists are monitoring developments closely.  Gender presentation and gender identity have become major media issues in Puerto Rico since the brutal murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado in November 2009 outside Cayey.  Mercado, a gay teen who presented femininely, was tortured, decapitated, and partially immolated by Juan A. Martínez Matos.  Matos was convicted of López Mercado’s grisly murder in May after confessing the murder, and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.  Much of the controversy swirling around anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in the United States territory is due to the official refusal to investigate and prosecute crimes under existing hate crimes laws.  Puerto Rico has hate crime law includes both sexual orientation and gender identity. Though the statutes took effect in 2002, prosecutors are reluctant to invoke it in obvious cases such as López Mercado’s and Santiago’s.

November 22, 2010 - Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Decapitation and dismemberment, gay teens, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, immolation, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, Legislation, Media Issues, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Puerto Rico, Slashing attacks, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings, Torture and Mutilation, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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