Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Puerto Rican authorities to charge suspect in connection with gay teenager's murder

Puerto Rican authorities have announced they will charge a local man with first-degree murder and four other counts in connection with Jorge Steven López’s gruesome death near Cayey late last week.

Police maintain Juan A. Martínez Matos killed López after he discovered the teenager, whom he had thought was a female prostitute he had solicited on a Caguas street, was actually a man. Investigators further allege Matos decapitated and dismembered López before he burned his body and left it in a wooded area near his parents' apartment.

Matos has reportedly confessed to the murder, and he plans to use a "gay panic" defense. A judge will arraign Matos in a Caguas court in the morning, but Puerto Rican investigators have not decided whether to apply the Commonwealth's hate crime statute, which includes sexual orientation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has indicated Matos may face federal hate crimes charges if local authorities fail to indict him under the Puerto Rican law.

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