Monday, April 12, 2010

Gay Puerto Rican teenager's alleged killer returns to court on Wednesday

As the man who allegedly murdered Jorge Steven López Mercado prepares to return to court on Wednesday, April 14, one question I hope to investigate is whether the public outcry over the gay teenager's brutal death has translated into any tangible changes on the ground in Puerto Rico.

Thousands of people paid tribute to López in vigils held across the United States in the days after authorities found his decapitated, dismembered and partially burned body along a remote roadside near Cayey on Nov. 13, 2009. More than 1,000 Puerto Ricans marched through San Juan to demand an end to hate crimes. And New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other elected officials have repeatedly blasted Gov. Luis Fortuño's failure to publicly respond to López's murder.

López's alleged killer's trial is scheduled to start next month. And while the gay teenager's brutal murder sparked widespread outrage among LGBT activists, it remains to be seen whether anything tangible has changed since Nov. 13, 2009.

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