Yesterday, the man accused of murdering Jorge Steven López Mercado in a hate crime plead guilty to the brutal act, which included the decapitation, dismemberment and burning of Jorge Steven’s body, all because he was gay. A judge sentenced the man to 99 years in prison.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Melissa and Council Members Mendez, Dromm and Van Bramer, all of whom went to Puerto Rico in January in response to this hate crime, issued a joint statement yesterday on the guilty plea and sentencing:
“Today, the killer of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado chose to plead guilty instead of facing trial. The crime – in which Jorge Steven was killed and mutilated simply because he was gay and transgender – shocked us all.
“Today the judge immediately sentenced Juan José Martínez Matos to 99 years in prison, the maximum penalty allowed under Puerto Rican law. Justice has been served. While there is nothing that can bring Jorge Steven back, friends and family can now begin the process of moving forward as they see justice served in the crime committed against Jorge Steven.
“We thank the Puerto Rican Attorney General Guillermo Somoza and District Attorney Yaritza Carrasquillo for their thorough prosecution of this case. Our hearts and thoughts are with Jorge Steven’s family and the LGBT community in Puerto Rico as they continue to work towards a society free of hate and discrimination.”