Crime | News | Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican Teen's Killer Says Murder was 'Gay Panic', Self Defense

More insight into the murder of gay 19-year-old Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, whose killer was arrested yesterday.

Matos Christopher Pagan, whose original iReport was the first I learned of the crime, has been following it. It appears that the killer, 26-year-old Juan Antonio Martínez Matos, originally believed his victim was a female prostitute.

Writes Pagan:

"He said that he did not know that it was really a man and they went to his apartment in Cidra, where Steven allegedly told him to have anal sex with him, which provoked anger in him and caused him to murder him. He also said that Steven tried to stab him, and that he armed himself with a kitchen knife and under a fit of rage he injured him, dismembered him, decapitated him and then later took his remains to Guavate where he was left. Other allegations of the killer is that in 2003 he was arrested for domestic abuse and that in his youth he was molested and that is why he hates homosexuals. The authorities said that this case has been advanced and successful due to the cooperation of the local GLBT community. The agent Angel Rodriguez said that he is being interrogated and will be charged with first degree murder. He also indicated that he will submit another request to the federal judge to have this treated as a hate crime. At the suspect's home the police found 2 knives to commit the murder, and that they were then thrown in a septic tank."

Video of the suspect in custody, AFTER THE JUMP...

There will be a vigil held in New York City in downtown Manhattan - location TBA on Sunday at 8 pm. Here's a page of information on it, and here's a Facebook page.

Suspect Arrested in Horrific Murder of Puerto Rican Gay Teen [tr]
Gay Puerto Rican Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned [tr]

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  1. I'll be accepting that apology from you, derrick. Right away. It's hard being right all of the time. I'll just have to live with it. Oh, and I hope this guy spends the rest of his miserable fucking life locked away in a cell somewhere, getting raped every goddamn day. The cliche gay panic defense...let's see if it works--and then, schmucks--assess the worthlessness of your claim puerto rico is a paradise for the gays...and that hispanic/latino cultures (as they're different) aren't mostly homophobic.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 17, 2009 8:55:40 PM

  2. FYI The prosecution wants to try this case as a first degree murder charge! Puerto Rico does not allow for the Death penalty in its constitution HOWEVER the Federal Law supersedes the commonwealths constitution, subsequently if he can be tried under the new Federal Hate Crimes Law this man should then be executed in the Federal Prison outside San Juan!

    Posted by: AlexInBoston | Nov 17, 2009 9:11:16 PM

  3. "It appears that the killer, 26-year-old Juan Antonio Martínez Matos, originally believed his victim was a female prostitute."

    He hasn't been convicted of anything yet. Call him a killer once he's been found guilty. Until then, he's the accused.

    Posted by: Zach | Nov 17, 2009 9:21:41 PM

  4. C'mon people. Didn't know she was a chick with a dick? He knew what was up. Something bad went down. He of course is publicly embarrassed and is copping the usual tall tale.

    In a lot of traditional macho cultures a dude who is the masculine top isn't really considered gay as long as he's the one being serviced or fucking. Especially true if the 'gay' bottom dude is fem.

    Posted by: John in Boston | Nov 17, 2009 9:22:11 PM

  5. So was Mercado really working as a prostitute? Or even a drag queen prostitute? And, either way, did the accused know Mercado's real sex when he picked him up? Lots of unanswered questions at this point.

    Posted by: JT | Nov 17, 2009 9:43:07 PM

  6. I'll call him a degenerate murdering shitbag, zach. I'd dangle this crying, screaming pleading, begging POS on a meat hook and take him apart sinew from limb, feed him to my dog; and all without the benefit of a trial--but it'd soil the hook. He deserves no respect, and has copped to the act with the defense. You self loathing scumbags defending him are despicable.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 17, 2009 10:37:50 PM

  7. Sure, Tank. As if we all want to live in a country where the legal system is run like that.

    Posted by: JT | Nov 17, 2009 10:51:46 PM

  8. what's with his eyebrows?

    Posted by: soso | Nov 17, 2009 10:52:17 PM


    It is nauseating to even hear anyone here remotely defend this person! He has admitted DECAPITATING and DISMEMBERING a 19 year old boy.

    You are all sick, sick people.

    Posted by: Caleb | Nov 17, 2009 10:59:56 PM

  10. Zach: the guy confessed to the murder already, so yes, he is a killer. whether or not he's a convicted killer is still to be determined. he's not an alleged murderer, or an accused murderer, he's a murderer. whether he can convince a jury he should be exonerated, is still up in the air. i just hope that they don't blame the victim anymore than the original police chief/detective did when the crime was first discovered. let's all hope it doesn't matter to the jury what the victim's life was all about. and technically, since the killer admitted he murdered the man once he 'found out' he was indeed a man, isn't that the very definition of a hate crime? there was no other reason to kill him except he hated gay men. seems a slam dunk to me, but NOTHING that goes on today is ever a slam dunk anymore, imo.

    Posted by: casey | Nov 17, 2009 11:00:32 PM

  11. Useless piece of shit, and he's got a rosary around his neck. I'd prefer to see him wearing a noose.

    Posted by: Vince B. | Nov 17, 2009 11:09:43 PM

  12. Casey:

    There's a thousand reasons why he could have murdered him, none anti-gay or homophobic hate. They could have fought, it could be a crime of passion, drugs, some kind of transaction that went bad, ET AL.,

    I'm not saying he didn't kill him because he was gay, just saying there could be many other reasons.

    Posted by: John in Boston | Nov 17, 2009 11:11:06 PM

  13. His eyebrows? Yeah, he is *cough* well-groomed ;-)

    Posted by: John in Boston | Nov 17, 2009 11:13:10 PM

  14. In NYC, anyway, the general belief is that the men who pick up transvestite prostitutes know they're really men, but there have been cases, albeit rare, where the john was generally unaware and went into a rage where he found out. Not saying that's definitely the case here, just pondering..

    Posted by: JT | Nov 17, 2009 11:22:30 PM

  15. I can never understand why some tranny prostitutes pretend to be women when they know full well, the guy wants an actual woman. I'm not talking about men who are looking for trans-prostitutes, but the ones who want actual women. It seems the risk is just too great. I'm NOT SAYING anyone deserves to die, but geesh, is it really worth it just to say you got with a "straight" guy?

    Posted by: Davey | Nov 17, 2009 11:36:51 PM

  16. The eyebrows: I was in PR recently and was amazed at the eyebrow grooming of the men there. Seriously. It seems to be the trend for men to over-groom their eyebrows (imho a bit over the top). Seriously ruined my gaydar.

    The killing: It matters not whether you are straight, gay, black, hispanic, white, male, female – you simply don't kill other people. They did something bad to you? Use the law to make it right. You have zero right to take matters in your own hands (save when your own life is threatened which his was obviously not).

    Furthermore, when you get pissed at a guy for coming onto you when you thought he was a girl – after you chop off his head, you might come to your senses and go, "Oh crap." But to carry on so far as to remove all limbs and head and then burn him? That takes a while and if your temper is so bad you can't come to your senses earlier than that – well, you need to be locked up for life anyway (and I'd say get the death penalty as well except that I get a certain warm glow thinking about the men in prison that will use this man as a bottom).

    Either way, those of you defending him in various ways – seriously? What planet do you live on? If this was a black woman that was killed because she pretended to be white – or someone killed because they pretended to be single but were really married – I mean would you defend any other killing? I think not. Perhaps dig into your own homophobic minds?

    No one deserves to be killed because they've offended someone (sensibilities/sexuality/whatever). 'Nuff said.

    Posted by: Kat | Nov 17, 2009 11:40:59 PM

  17. Yeah, JT, you're not necessarily saying that's the case, but you've gone out of your way to focus on the victim (exclusively) and understand the victim in terms of his responsibility for his own murder. You're a real prize. I don't give a fuck if he didn't know (and there's simply no reason to suppose--other than the MURDERER's statement--that he was even in drag, or a transvestite prostitute...the murderer using the gay panic defense...THE MURDERER! LOL!), NO excuse. It's surreal that an adult that isn't cognitively impaired needs to be informed that there is no excuse for murdering someone in this context--even IF (and that's highly unlikely) he didn't now that jorge was a man. By all means, let's accept the murderer's account over the likelier one, and entertain this pathetic explanation as reasonable grounds for excusing this heinous crime. It's simple minds like yours that make defense attorneys click their heels in joy, JT and John in Boston. The same defense attorneys who used the short cut dress defense for rapists. You guys make 'em money.

    As to the reasons, there aren't countless reasons why as he's already using the gay panic defense. That makes it inherently homophobic as IT IS. And I'm not going to entertain for one second the HIGHLY UNLIKELY situation in which this douchebag didn't know. But even if I were to, it would change NOTHING.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 17, 2009 11:44:54 PM

  18. There used to be a gay panic defense, but with the passage of the hate crimes act, that defense is by definition a hate crime.

    If he uses this defense in local court, the case must be moved to federal court and treated as a hate crime.

    I guess we'll see whether anyone believes he was defending himself against being stabbed by a fragile-looking 19-year-old transsexual, and whether any attempted stabbing was not itself a self-defense against being dismembered and decapitated.

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 17, 2009 11:50:20 PM

  19. But, Tank, I can't help it : the killer is just so much hotter-looking than the victim!Such an uncut mestizo....mmm..

    Posted by: JT | Nov 17, 2009 11:59:58 PM

  20. What! WHAT! LOL! lmao....the irony isn't lost that you can't help it. Sick.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 18, 2009 12:12:26 AM

  21. John in Boston: I suppose if this was a work of fiction, the author WOULD have a thousand ways this murder could have gone down, but by the quotes furnished in this article, (and the exact same quotes appear in other pubs-google the story) i don't see how you could reasonably say other wise. this quote pretty much sums up the hate crime, to me: "He said that he did not know that it was really a man and they went to his apartment in Cidra, where Steven allegedly told him to have anal sex with him, which provoked anger in him and caused him to murder him..." i don't see anything there that would lead me to believe it was a 'transaction' or anything of that sort. i wouldn't be surprised if there were drugs involved. i think the percentage of men trolling for prostitutes using drugs is pretty damn high, but i don't know how much that would negate a hate crime. in my mind, if this isn't a hate crime, i can't imagine what is. but i'm an artist and not a lawyer, and i'm bitter and jaded to boot, so who knows what will happen. as i wrote in an earlier post, i just hope that police detective's attitude isn't indicative of the population in general that would make up the jury.

    Posted by: casey | Nov 18, 2009 12:15:15 AM

  22. OK, it's late, i'm tired. i MEANT to write: i think the percentage of men using drugs and trolling for prostitutes is pretty damn high... (not ... trolling for prostitutes using drugs...) sorry.

    Posted by: casey | Nov 18, 2009 12:17:58 AM

  23. Do men with plucked eyebrows use the "Gay Panic" defense often?

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 18, 2009 1:06:49 AM

  24. Drop the eyebrow issue! LOL
    It's a cultural thing in Puerto Rico, influenced, believe it or not, by the rappers. My brothers take care of their eyebrows much better than I do. Oh, and straight guys shave their legs and torsos quite often... Again, it's cultural and a very odd thing, even for some of us Puerto Ricans :-)
    So, regarding the killer... first degree murder gets you life in prison in PR. They don't sentence you to "life in prison," but you get a humongous sentence, like 99+ years in murder cases, so essentially they are letting you know you will die in prison, without actually using the phrase "life in prison." The death penalty is applicable in Puerto Rico by virtue of federal jurisdiction (in certain, VERY specific cases). For example, not every murder case falls under federal jurisdiction and certainly not every murder case is eligible for the death penalty. (NOTE: I am a lawyer but I need to look up the new hate crimes statute to see whether it falls under these exceptions.) HOWEVER, the federal prosecutors have been unable to get a jury that will hand down a death penalty verdict. Again, it is a cultural thing... Puerto Rican society still has much more in common with Spain than with the US. There have been HORRIBLE cases, comparable to Jorge's and even some with multiple victims... still, the prosecution has been unable (or in some cases, unwilling) to pursue the death penalty.

    Posted by: casiano19 | Nov 18, 2009 4:19:57 AM

  25. So funny that many here still fall for the obvious trolls. At any rate, I predict either aquittal or downgrade to manslaughter. After all, it is Puerto Rico.

    Posted by: niles | Nov 18, 2009 7:16:07 AM

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