Phil Spector, Lana Clarkson, Angie Zapata, and Allen Andrade

“Dr. BLT”’s comment on the Phil Spector verdict reminded me of something that crossed my mind during the first trial. To put it simply, I wondered why Spector wasn’t charged with a hate crime. Now, in Colorado a man named Allen Andrade is on trial for the hate-crime murder of a transgender person named Angie Zapata (currently being covered on TruTV).


First, let me remind you that I know nothing about either of these cases that I didn’t see or hear in the media. I’m not a lawyer. I’m just a very opinionated former juror.


During the first Spector trial, I couldn’t help but wonder if Ms. Clarkson might be lesbian. The idea put a slightly different spin on the events of the night that ended in Ms. Clarkson’s murder. Remember, she mistook Mr. Spector for a woman and had to be told who he was and what gender he was. Second, she was quite tall, taller than Spector—statuesque enough to have played the “Barbarian Queen” and (suggestively) a small part in “Little Man on Campus” (2000). To me it was clear that Spector was humiliated by the incident and probably invited Ms. Clarkson home with him to make sure she understood how greatly she had mistaken his manliness. So, if she was not the sort of woman who was inclined to try to “sleep her way to the top,” what if Spector was doubly infuriated that night when she refused his advances? What if she told him she preferred women?


If so, it seems to me the prosecution could have charged Spector with a hate crime, as well as second-degree murder. Furthermore, it seems to me Ms. Clarkson’s sexual orientation might have been used effectively by the prosecution as a strong indicator that a homicide occurred, not a suicide. Under those circumstances it would have been clear that Spector was the person who felt wounded and angry at life that night, not Ms. Clarkson.


The question of Ms. Clarkson’s sexual orientation aside, I am torn about the whole hate-crime issue. My biggest concern is that women are never  included in the groups that deserve the special protection of hate-crime legislation. But frankly most rape-murders are nothing if they aren’t hate crimes against females. And in the Spector case, it was always clear to me that Phil Spector hates women.


For that reason, the Andrade trial seems a bit odd as a hate-crime trial to me. If Angie Zapata weren’t biologically a male, she wouldn’t have been protected by the Colorado hate-crime law.