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Americas | East Bay | LGBTI / Queer | Front Page

Thu Nov 19 2009 (Updated 11/27/09)
Oakland Vigil in Honor of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado
Thu Nov 19 2009 (Updated 11/27/09)
Gay Puerto Rican Teen Murdered, Suspect to Use “Homosexual Panic” Defense
On Sunday November 22nd, a vigil in honor of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado will be held at the intersection of MacArthur Blvd., Lakeshore, and Grand Ave. in Oakland. Mercado, a very well known person in the gay community, was found dead on November 14th, in Cayey, Puerto Rico. Mercado was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered. The police investigator handling the case said in a public televised statement that "people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen."

On November 16th, a suspect was arrested who confessed to the killing, saying that he murdered Marcedo who he thought to be a woman, after discovering that he was a man. According to the Puerto Rico police, the suspect will likely use a “homosexual panic” defense, arguing for a plea of temporary insanity.

Pedro Julio Serrano, from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a founder of Puerto Rico Para Todas said in a statement: “This is a terrible, terrible crime. While we are pleased that law enforcement has acted promptly in making an arrest, it is vital that the hate crimes angle be investigated. This horrendous killing of a young gay man shows no compassion or respect for the dignity of a human life. As someone who grew up in Puerto Rico and has been very active in its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, this is a heart-wrenching moment. Our hearts and sympathies go out to all of Jorge Steven López’s loved ones at this difficult time. Justice must prevail.”

Read More | Gay Puerto Rican Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned