Judge sets trial date for gay Puerto Rican teenager’s alleged killer
A Puerto Rican judge has found probable cause to prosecute a man who prosecutors contend brutally murdered a gay teenager last November.
Judge Roberto Anglero announced earlier today Juan José Martínez Matos’ trial will begin in Caguas on March 30. He denied a defense motion to lessen one of the charges against Martínez to second degree murder.
Prosecutors contend Martínez, who faces a first degree murder and three weapons charges, stabbed Jorge Steven López Mercado to death on Nov. 12, 2009. They further allege the suspect decapitated, dismembered and partially burned López’s body before he dumped it along a remote roadside near Cayey.
Several of López’s friends and acquaintances have identified Martínez as the man with whom they last saw the teenager as EDGE reported on Feb. 6. Details of López’s reported drug use and prostitution emerged during the preliminary hearing, but Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force applauded prosecutor Yaritza Carrasquillo’s handling of this case.
"She sent a very powerful message not to judge Jorge Steven; the person who should be judged is Juan Martínez Matos," he said.
Serrano also spoke with López’s family immediately after Anglero set the trial date.
"They’re satisfied, but as they just told me, nothing will bring Jorge Steven back," he said. "It’s a very emotional day for them because they are starting to see the beginning of justice, but the pain of losing a son-and losing a son in these circumstances is unbearable."