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Suspect in killing of Puerto Rico teen may claim ‘gay panic’ defense

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Juan Antonio MartinezSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The man charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a gay teenager in Puerto Rico will likely use “gay panic” as a defense, reports UPI.

Juan A. Martinez Matos, 26, a married father of four (pictured), confessed he was cruising the “red light” district of Caguas, a city south of San Juan, looking for women and picked up 19-year-old Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado thinking he was a woman, a police report said.

When the two went into a house “the suspect (allegedly) found out that Lopez was a man, after Lopez made sexual advances, and as a result of the rage, Matos did what he did,” the report quoted in the newspaper El Nuevo Dia said.

Lopez Mercado’s dismembered, beheaded and burned body was found Friday on a road in Cayey, Puerto Rico, near Caguas.

A gay panic defense argues a person acted in a state of violent temporary insanity.

The U.S. attorney’s office weighed the possibility of charging Martinez Matos under a new federal hate crimes law, spokeswoman Lymarie Llovet told CNN.

A vigil is to be held Sunday in Oakland, Calif., where Lopez Mercado lived and was active in the gay community.

More from United Press International.

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3 more reader comments:

  1. It’s good to know that if I as a homosexual man am hit on by a woman, that it will be OK if I decapitate and burn her as that offense is punishable by death. This would be the worst possible message to put out there…the worst.

    Posted on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 7:35am
  2. I could understand the ‘gay panic’ defense for assault charges. But murder is a whole different ballgame; and the dismemberment and mutilation makes it simply ridiculous. Even if he truly acted in a misguided self defense driven rage, someone capable of murdering and mutilating another human being, regardless of the situation, should not be allowed to move freely within our society; he should be permanently isolated from it. If he get’s less than life, I’m going to have some serious doubts about our justice system.

    Posted on Monday, November 23, 2009 at 8:38pm
  3. Is it just me or does Juan A. Rodrigues Matos Jr. look rather gay himself? I have a decent gaydar and it’s saying ABSOLUTELY!

    Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 10:37am