I sat down with Beth Karas of TruTV In Session this past Sunday, about the Angie Zapata Hate Crime Murder case, other cases that she’s covered for TruTV In Session (formerly CourtTV), and the great coffee we had at Café Woody’s in downtown Greeley.

Here’s an excerpt of the video (Thanks to Louise for the transcription!):


Autumn Sandeen: Why is “In Session” here and this isn’t the first trans case that “Court TV/ True TV In Session” has covered…

Beth Karas: Let me tell you, first of all, when we pick trials we look for issues, and this of course has a very important issue. The first time, perhaps, that a transgender victim, where the case is going to trial, where the victim is transgender, and hate crime is also part of the charges, in the accusatory instruments. Not an indictment, here it’s the information.

So it’s very important, in only 11 states and the District of Columbia as you know, include transgender status within their definition of orientation in their hate crime (legislation).  

So it’s important that people see this case, it’s an educational trial for people who are not familiar with the transgender community, and I value that educational aspect of it.  

Jumping ahead to more on hate as relates to this case, but the information regarding the case Beth discusses at this point of a custody battle in Clearwater FL is remarkably eye-opening…   (Louise)

Autumn Sandeen: …And this trial is going publically to be at least as educational. And again, we’re talking hate crimes. This is… you know, just from the outside looking in, this is an interesting case.

Beth Karas: You know, people need to understand all of the issues. We need to understand the translifesty- way of life. I can be criticized for saying lifestyle…. way of life, okay. I appreciate it, I need to be criticized, I’m learning too. And that’s the only way to really deal with the hate.

Autumn Sandeen: I just have one last question.

Friday I think we all noticed that the defense was using nothing but male terminology, you know, Angie’s male name, and calling her “he” and “him” the entire way through the trial, whereas we had family members, in fact Stephanie Zapata was strongly correcting the defense attorney at every turn. “My sister Angie, you mean my sister, Angie, my sister” and just over and over, and both sides were…

What’s your take on that little aspect of the (trial)?

Beth Karas: There’s no question that that was the headline of the day on Friday. We knew it was coming and those family members and friends were well prepared to respond the opposite of the quesions being asked and I wrote about that on the CNN.com (site)-

Autumn Sandeen: And we’re going to link to that, too.

Beth Karas: And, I mean, it’s such an awful tragedy, this case, but it was almost comical and I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, the way that the attornies were just “Justin” and “he” and that “Angie” and “she”, and “my sister”, and it’s like, come on people, let’s get it together.

This was the defense’s way, though, of illustrating the issue of the case. Because they of course are saying “provocation- rage-learning that the beautiful woman he was with, biologically a male”, somehow justifies or mitigates something less of, uh- it doesn’t justify the murder but it mitigates it from first degree down to second degree. So that’s their way of reminding the jury of the issue in the case.  

And here’s the links that Beth mentioned: