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Police make arrest in 1993 Mia Zapata slaying
Seattle Post-Intelligencer ^ | 1/11/03 | Tracy Johnson

Posted on 01/14/2003 10:39:22 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Police make arrest in 1993 Mia Zapata slaying

By TRACY JOHNSON SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

The 1993 killing of Seattle punk-rock singer Mia Zapata, which baffled police and her fans for nearly a decade, appears to have been solved with the arrest of a man in Miami.

Police say they used DNA evidence to tie Jesus Mezquia, 48, to the slaying.

The Gits, from left, were: Steve Moriarty, Matt Dresdner, Joe Spleen and Mia Zapata.

Mezquia was arrested late Friday. He is a Cuban native who lives in the Florida Keys, where police searched his home Saturday, a law-enforcement source told the P-I.

Investigators have no reason to believe Zapata, 27, knew the man -- only that she somehow encountered him on Capitol Hill early July 7, 1993. That's when she was strangled with the cord of her sweatshirt, which bore the name of her band, The Gits.

Seattle homicide Lt. Steve Brown said the arrest "resonates how powerful the latest DNA testing truly is at bringing a measure of justice to families who have been so negatively impacted by violent crime."

King County prosecutors filed murder charges against Mezquia on Thursday, securing a warrant for his arrest, the law-enforcement source said. Documents with details about the case are sealed in King County Superior Court, although they may be made public Monday.

Mezquia is jailed in Miami and likely will face extradition to Seattle.

The recent break in the case -- one of the area's most notorious unsolved homicides - came after Seattle police decided to again run DNA evidence from the scene through a national databank of convicted criminals' genetic profiles, something they'd tried earlier without finding a match.

But Mezquia was convicted of a crime and was forced to submit a DNA sample for the database more recently, so when Seattle police had the State Patrol Crime Lab run the Zapata evidence this time, they came up with the match, police said.

"We never give up on these cases, regardless of how much time as passed," Brown said.

Zapata was last seen alive after midnight. She left the Comet Tavern on Capitol Hill, wearing shorts and heavy black boots, to look for a friend who lived in a nearby apartment.

The friend told police that when she left the apartment, she was probably looking to catch a cab. At 3:20 a.m., her body was found in the 100 block of 24th Avenue South.

She was lying with her arms outstretched and her ankles crossed, her body positioned in a cross-shaped pose that left some speculating about some sort of religious meaning.

Investigators believe it's possible Zapata's killer had simply spotted her walking on the street, or that she took him up on an offer for a ride.

Staking out Mezquia all week in Florida was a team of investigators who routinely delve into unsolved Seattle homicides -- deputy prosecutors Tim Bradshaw and Steve Fogg, and Seattle homicide detectives Gregg Mixsell and Richard Gagnon.

They had a description and license-plate number of a van that Mezquia and a friend were using in a visit to the Miami area.

The four investigators weren't available for comment.

Mezquia was somewhat of a drifter in the early 1990s, spending time in Seattle, Palm Springs and Florida, and racking up a lengthy criminal record, according to the source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

He apparently came to Seattle with a woman and stayed in the Leschi area.

Washington state court records show only one apparent traffic citation that Seattle police handed him in 1994, about six months after Zapata's death.

Bradshaw has been assigned to Mia Zapata's death since her body was found. Mixsell and Gagnon, known as the Seattle Police Department's "Cold Case" squad, have helped solve a number of old homicides in the past few years, including cases that languished for decades without answers.

Fogg and Bradshaw have handled the prosecution for many of those suspects. Some have pleaded guilty after being confronted with scientific evidence.

Assisting in the arrest were members of the U.S. Marshal's Northwest Fugitive Apprehension Task Force and police in Florida.

Zapata was killed a few days after The Gits returned to Seattle after a tour of the West Coast. She was lead singer and wrote lyrics for the band, which was making a name for itself with songs filled with raw emotion.

Other bands performed benefit concerts in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco to raise money for a reward fund. Even MTV did a segment on Zapata's death.

The youngest of three children, Zapata was also a painter and a poet.

Her voice and passion for music took her from the Ohio college town of Antioch University to the heating punk-rock scene of Seattle, where she rented an old house on Capitol Hill.

"Seattle sounded pretty good; we heard there was a music scene, so we came out to set up camp and see how things would go," Gits bass guitarist Matt Dresdner recalled a few years ago.

Her death left a cavernous hole in the music scene. Dresdner and other friends struggled to accept the loss.

"Mia was so powerful," band manager Staci Slater said at the time. "Everything was, like, just in your face but also soft and emotional."

Zapata's friends have said she was shy and not truly sold on becoming famous - all she wanted was a cabin in the woods, an old Jeep and a sheepdog.

Some of them later formed Home Alive, an organization that educates women on how to defend themselves against attackers.


TOPICS: Announcements; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: California; US: Washington
KEYWORDS: 1993; miazapata; murder; mystery; punkrock; riotgrrrl; seattle; singer; unsolved
I think she was raped as well, which wasn't mentioned in the article. Raped and murdered by this scum!
1 posted on 01/14/2003 10:39:22 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: KneelBeforeZod; Bella_Bru
ping
2 posted on 01/14/2003 10:40:07 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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3 posted on 01/14/2003 10:42:43 PM PST by Mo1 (Join the DC Chapter at the Patriots Rally III on 1/18/03)
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
"But Mezquia was convicted of a crime and was forced to submit a DNA sample for the database more recently..."

Gee, I wonder what sort of crime required his DNA sample? No matter, it's all over for him now. The state of Washington will no doubt subject him to mandatory counseling and self-esteem workshops. Personally, I think it's cruel and unusual punishment. If I were in his place, I'd prefer to just be hanged and have done with it.

4 posted on 01/14/2003 10:48:41 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
BTW, you're right. She was raped and murdered, but there's no way the SPI is going to "inflame" the public by mentioning it. That might be harmful to his self-esteem.
5 posted on 01/14/2003 10:53:40 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
Here's a much better likeness of her "feminist indie-punk" band. That's Mia on the right.


6 posted on 01/14/2003 10:57:26 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: Bonaparte
I was looking around on some of the Mia places on the net and believe it or not they're calling for this guy to electrocuted.

Which of course they would.

BTW, did you ever hear anything by her? She had a pretty powerful voice, I liked it then. It's been a long time since I heard anything by them. I'm listening to Brit stuff almost exclu now.

Very small note, she recorded on Broken Rekkids. I knew the owner (still a far leftie I believe). I sort of had a date with him or so (before I ever knew beloved angel hubby - and nothing happened between us). When I read that she recorded on BR I was kind of shocked...but then remembered a friend said that the Gits had been on his label.
7 posted on 01/14/2003 11:04:49 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
"He is a Cuban native who lives in the Florida Keys"

Is this Lib speak for....He swam from Cuba and landed in Florida Keys?

'Home Alive' is a great album....some very powerful songs and poetry.

8 posted on 01/14/2003 11:14:43 PM PST by BossLady
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
I went to a couple message boards just now and some of her fans/friends are calling for worse than that. LOL, it almost reads like a FR thread!

No, I've never heard any of her stuff. Feminist grunge rock (or whatever) is not my cup of sassafras, but I will take your word for it that her voice was good. Amazing about the BR connection. You must almost feel like death brushed past you (or something).

9 posted on 01/14/2003 11:18:05 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: BossLady
That's what I thought too...but you know the pc, even here, is that all Cubans are God.

I happen to disagree.......
10 posted on 01/14/2003 11:18:48 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
LOL. Would that make Castro the God of the Gods???? :o
11 posted on 01/14/2003 11:21:34 PM PST by BossLady
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To: Bonaparte; BossLady
Bonaparte, I noticed that too. Her fans are calling for blood! And yes, it DID remind me of Freepland.

About her voice, I wasn't all that familiar, she's one of those people who became ultra famous because of her death. One person said it was Janis Joplin-y blues mixed with punk rage, and I guess that was sort of what I remember.

She seemed pretty angry (but then again I love Courtney Love's off key voice and dramatic antics too). And I like that kind of thing. I'm thinking that her voice was kind of like ummm, the lead singer from Catatonia. I love her stuff too.
12 posted on 01/14/2003 11:22:54 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: BossLady
"Is this Lib speak for....He swam from Cuba and landed in Florida Keys?"Could be Lib speak for: "We don't really want to admit that this 48-year-old was one of the felons Carter brought here from Cuba when that felon was 24 years old."
13 posted on 01/14/2003 11:25:19 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
I thought Mia was a definate up and comer. And I think her death was such a shock to people...so brutal... it helped catapult a whole genre of music and poetry music at that time.

I hope this creep gets everything he deserves!!!!

14 posted on 01/14/2003 11:26:47 PM PST by BossLady
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To: Bonaparte
Bingo!!!!! This story is so Lib-washed....it sickens me.
15 posted on 01/14/2003 11:28:31 PM PST by BossLady
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To: BossLady; Bonaparte
BL: I agree, I hope he gets everything. I think Seattlelites will be harsh with this guy (for a change).

BP: I forgot that a Dim let them in. I thought it was a pubbie....
16 posted on 01/14/2003 11:31:57 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
Janis Joplin had a terrifically expressive voice and style, and her early death also seems to have given her an aura she might not otherwise have had. That's true of a lot of them. Eddie Cochran comes to mind. Who knows what this promising musician would have done had he lived past 22? Probably as much as his close friend Gene Vincent did (which was quite a lot) before drinking himself to death at 36. Listen sometime to his "Double Talkin Baby" or "Cat Man" for example. Both foreshadowed 90s pop genre styles, but in the mid-50s you either loved him or hated him.
17 posted on 01/14/2003 11:33:04 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: Bonaparte; BossLady; All
Here's one of the message boards and we can post anonymously.

http://www.szilagyi.us/archives/2003/01/001033-mia_zapatas_killer_found.phtml
18 posted on 01/14/2003 11:35:55 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
Ok, I'm game (hahahaha) but first I should download some of Mia's tunes from Kazaa, so I have an appropriate backdrop for the chore. Can you suggest some choice cuts?
19 posted on 01/14/2003 11:39:19 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: Bonaparte; BossLady
Hmmm, not sure, but I think a brit rag said frenching the bully(?) might be good, but I don't know :(!!!! It's been years and I don't remember her stuff well enough. I only saw one video of hers and it was impressive, but I'll be darned if I knew what that was!! Maybe bosslady can make a suggestion?

Also, cdnow has *samples*, so you don't have to download the whole thing, and mp3.com you can just listen to something by The Gits and again, it's not forever dl'd into your harddrive I believe, you just need realplayer for that.
20 posted on 01/14/2003 11:43:28 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
I have plenty of bandwidth and I've, uh, tweaked Kazaa's software, so not to worry...

Do any of these ring a bell for you?

    Another shot of whiskey
    Insecurities
    It all dies anyway
    Here's to your [ahem] f*ck
    Second skin
    Making of a cyborg
    Cut my skin, it makes me human

21 posted on 01/14/2003 11:48:27 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
Time's up! They're all downloaded, so I'll just play 'em and scoot over to punk land.
22 posted on 01/14/2003 11:52:07 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: Bonaparte
Janis Joplin had a terrifically expressive voice and style

A jukie screaming at the top of her lungs is expressive? Jesus Mezquia was being terrifically expressive also when he killed Mia Zapata. Maybe he wrote poetry and painted just like Mia. That would make him an artiste too! The most important thing for artistes is to be terrifically expressive.

Janis Joplin was being terrifically expressive when she overdosed on heroin. That's just terrifically artistic!</sarcasm>

23 posted on 01/14/2003 11:53:51 PM PST by stripes1776
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To: stripes1776
Easy there, killer. No need to scream at the top of your lungs. Somebody might accuse you of art or something. ;-)
24 posted on 01/15/2003 12:12:40 AM PST by Bonaparte
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
Well...

I gave her a fair audition. Listened to all 7 of those cuts. I'm sure I'm missing something, but they sound monotonous to me. Brought the lyrics up too. Couldn't find much to like. I guess it's just a matter of individual taste. Anyway, I'll listen to some Sara Vaughan for awhile. I'll be better in no time. =:O

25 posted on 01/15/2003 12:34:46 AM PST by Bonaparte
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
thanks for the ping. I saw a documentary on this a while ago. I can't even remember what channel....
26 posted on 01/15/2003 1:00:24 AM PST by KneelBeforeZod
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To: Bonaparte
Sorry, I went to sleep. I think I have strep throat! It's been going around where I work. I'm eating tangeringes this morning though. Called in sick. Fed the kitties. Need to do dishes soon.

Anyways, sad she was murdered! No one deserves to be murdered, and I do find it interesting that a lot of her fans (who are probably going to participate in the anti-war crap) are calling out for him to be put to death! Did you write something at that board I found?

Maybe we can influence them to the right...hehe.
27 posted on 01/15/2003 6:16:33 AM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: I_Love_My_Husband
I'm sorry to hear about your strep throat. Hope you're well soon.

No, I didn't post. Very few new posts, so it seemed futile. I'll check it from time to time to see if things pick up. If they do, I'll play the "devil's advocate" on the death penalty issue and see what responses I get.

28 posted on 01/15/2003 11:10:16 AM PST by Bonaparte
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To: Bonaparte
Hehe. Good work and good thinking!
29 posted on 01/15/2003 12:57:44 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: Bonaparte
"That might be harmful to his self-esteem."

. . .if the killers name was maybe 'Tom, Dick or Harry' we would read of the rape. . .some people are not protected by the mantle of PC. . . '

30 posted on 01/15/2003 2:47:30 PM PST by cricket
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