19-year-old Puerto Rican teenager Jorge Mercado was stabbed, dismembered and beheaded last week by 25-year-old Juan Martinez Matos, and Matos has since confessed to the crime using the gay panic defense. Matos was allegedly out looking for women in an area known for prostitution, and he met Mercado, who was there dressed in drag. Upon discovering that Mercado was a man, Matos stabbed him, and proceeded to dismember the body in a rage.
Gay activists have been furious that the Puerto Rican government did not immediately charge Matos with a hate crime. Puerto Rico has had a hate crime law on the books since 2002, however the law has not once been applied to a case involving sexual orientation. Last night there were vigils across the country to pay respect to the memory of Mercado, and to protest hate crimes against LGBT people in general. Supervisor David Campos led the Castro gathering. (Watch above.) After the jump, a recent photo of Jorge Mercado.