1:30pm- Many thanks to Blender SA for a secondary translation…

From Back2Stonewall comes news of an arrest made in the horrific murder of 19 year old Jroge Steven Lopez Mercado- translated from Primerahora.com.

A man was arrested in the early morning hours today in Cayey suspect in the murder of George Steven Lopez Mercado, the 19-year-old was brutally decapitated, dismembered and partially burned in an apparent hate crime for homophobia.

The Agent Headquarters Pereira confirmed that a subject was arrested and seized two vehicles for research.

He informed he would be transferred to CIC Guayama morning today for questioning.

Sources of First Time reported yesterday that a 28 year old male was suspected of murdering Steven Lopez Jorge Mercado.

The information is provided by sources close to the murdered teenager.

The spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Puerto Rico, Harry Rodriguez said yesterday that the federal agency would monitor the investigation of the crime.


“The FBI is monitoring this investigation with the Police of Puerto Rico because there are federal statutes under the laws of civil rights violations covered by hate crimes,” Rodriguez said early in reference to the newly adopted Law for Preventing Hate Crimes signed in October that President Barack Obama.

The adoption of this statute provides federal resources to state and local agencies with the necessary tools to prosecute hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, gender, national origin and disability.

Rodriguez added that at the request of the Police of Puerto Rico, the FBI may also provide assistance for any evidence of expertise to be carried out concerning the case.


“The FBI is in the greater willingness to provide any assistance or resources in this research as a technical examination by the FBI laboratory, among other things, if requested by the police,” he said.

Some of the forensic procedures carried out at the FBI laboratories include DNA tests and hair and fiber tests.

In addition, the Director of Criminal Investigation Corps of Guayama, Eliezer Colon, said the inquiry was at the investigation.


“We’re just interviewing people and gathering evidence,” the commander said yesterday about the inquiry conducted by a team of “best researchers”, including the officer Angel Rodriguez, who has fallen against many criticisms for making homophobic comments to a news television.

“These people when they get to this and are on the street know that this can happen,” were the words that the investigating officer did to Las Noticias Univision.

Among those who expressed their discomfort at the comments highlighted the lawyer Vance Thomas, Executive Director of the Civil Rights Commission, who urged the Police Superintendent Jose Figueroa Sancha, to make administrative charges against the officer.


“In addition to out of the research (Rodriguez Colon), you must file administrative charges. I know of no context in which they can justify that a person sought to be killed,” said Thomas. He said he will ask the attorney general, Antonio Sagardía, to reactivate a committee that was established in 2008 to prosecute hate crimes.

Meanwhile, the police superintendent dismissed the case saying that he heard the officer but for any reason any of his officers “can make homophobic expressions.

Meanwhile, police regional director of Guayama, Hector Agosto, said Rodriguez’s words were misrepresented and that the intent of this “was not at any time disparage the gay and lesbian class.

“In fact they are giving 100% to solving the case,” he said.

Second updated translation of original piece:


A man was arrested in the early morning hours today in Cayey, suspected in the murder of George Steven Lopez Mercado, the 19-year-old who was brutally decapitated, dismembered and partially burned in an apparent homophobic hate crime.

Agent Pereira of Police Headquarters confirmed that a subject was arrested at a residence in the Los Huertas portion of the Beatriz Barrio and that two vehicles were seized for investigation.

He indicated that the suspect would be transferred to CIC Guayama this morning for questioning.

Sources of Primerahora reported yesterday that a 28 year old male was suspected of murdering Steven Lopez Jorge Mercado.

The information came to light through extensive interviews with sources in Caguas close to the murdered teenager. Evidently the case has to do with a man who offered money to have sexual relations with López Mercado.

The spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Puerto Rico, Harry Rodríguez, said yesterday that the federal agency would monitor the investigation of the crime.


“The FBI is monitoring this investigation with the Police of Puerto Rico because there are federal civil rights statutes that cover hate crimes,” Rodríguez told Primerahora in reference to the newly adopted Law for Preventing Hate Crimes that President Obama signed in October.

The adoption of this statute provides federal resources to state and local agencies so they have the necessary tools to prosecute hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, gender, national origin and disability.

Rodríguez added that at the request of the Police of Puerto Rico, the FBI would also furnish any forensic expertise required in connection with the case.


“The FBI has the utmost willingness to provide any assistance or resources in this investigation, such as forensic analysis by the FBI laboratory, among other things, if requested by the police,” he said.

Some of the forensic procedures carried out at the FBI laboratories include DNA tests and hair and fiber tests.

In addition, the Director of Criminal Investigation Corps of Guayama, Eliezer Colón, said the inquiry was in the investigative phase.

“We’re just now interviewing people and gathering evidence,” the commander said yesterday about the inquiry conducted by a team of “our best detectives”, including the officer Ángel Rodríguez, against whom were lodged many criticisms for making homophobic comments to a television outlet.


“This kind of people, when they get involved in this and go out on the street, know that this can happen to them,” were the words that the investigating officer spoke to Univisión news.

Chief among those who expressed their discomfort at those comments was the lawyer Vance Thomas, Executive Director of the Civil Rights Commission, who urged the Police Superintendent José Figueroa Sancha, to bring administrative charges against the officer.


“In addition to removing him (Rodríguez Colón) from the case, you must file administrative charges. I know of no context in which one can justify saying that a person asked to be killed,” said Thomas.

He said he will ask the attorney general, Antonio Sagardía, to reactivate a committee that was established in 2008 to prosecute hate crimes.

The Police Superintendent, for his part, waved off this complaint, saying that he didn’t hear the officer’s words but that “none of his agents are allowed to make homophobic statements.”

Meanwhile, the Director of Police of the Guayama region, Héctor Agosto, said that the statement by Rodríguez had been distorted and that the officer had no intention at any time of disrespecting gay or lesbian groups.


“In fact they are 100% committed to solving the case,” he said.

Yesterday the activist Pedro Julio Serrano mentioned that a few weeks ago he also alerted the authorities to another possible hate crime in Condado, in which a young gay man died from knife wounds in circumstances that have yet to be clarified by the police.


“I hope that these two cases are isolated and not connected to each other,” he said, recalling the 27 consecutive murders of homosexuals committed during the 1980s by Ángel Colón Maldonado, the “Angel of the Bachelors”, who is presently serving a life prison term.

Below the fold, remarks from CNN iPhone reporter Christopher Pagan and The Task Force’s Pedro Serrano on the news of the arrest, both of whom sent emails to the Blend this morning.The TaskForce’s Pedro Serrano


“Even when everyone is innocent until proven guilty, it is hopeful that they have arrested a suspect. We’re grateful for the Police work that has acted promptly and we trust that the investigation digs into the hate crime angle and if it is proven that it was indeed bias-related, that the criminal is processed to the full extent of the law.”

“We urge the media and the authorities not to judge the victim, but the criminal who committed this horrendous crime. Even if there are particular circumstances in which this crime was committed, we have to keep the attention where it deserves to be: a young gay man was brutally murdered by someone who did not have any compassion or respect for the dignity of a human life.”

Pedro Julio Serrano

Communications Manager

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

CNN iPhone reporter Christopher Pagan


*************BREAKING NEWS*****************

6:17 AM NOVEMBER 17 2009 – PUERTO RICO

SUSPECT IN BRUTAL GAY HATE CRIME ARRESTED

    The main suspect of the cruel murder of a young homosexual found in the area of Guavate Cayey, was arrested this morning and shall be taken to a judge today to face charges, confirmed the press of the Puerto Rico Police, Damaris Periera.

    She also indicted that two vehicles were taken into custody, and that there is a crime scene as well under police custody in the town of Cayey.

    Jorge Steven Lopez’s murder was discovered last Friday, when a dismembered and burned body was discovered.  Since then the PR Police with the help of the FBI has been investigating the murder.

    Commander Eliezr Colon Flores indicated in a radio interview that the suspect who is 26 years old, is being accompanied by his father.

     The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community has demanded that the Police give full attention to the crime and file it as a hate crime.  Up until now the exact details of the charges involved have not been discussed.

    On the other hand, last night and this morning there were no murdered registered in Puerto Rico.

Christopher Pagan

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