Transgender Puerto Rican woman’s alleged murderer to stand trial

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Monday November 22, 2010

A psychologist has found the man accused of murdering a transgender Puerto Rican woman inside her home in April is competent to stand trial.

Primera Hora reported on Monday, Nov. 22, that territory psychologist Rafael Cabrera told a judge in Bayamón that Emmanuel Adorno Ayala, 22, can stand trial for Ashley Santiago's murder. Authorities found Santiago's naked body inside her Corozal home on April 19. As EDGE previously reported, Cabrera allegedly stabbed Santiago, who was a popular hair stylist, more than a dozen times.

Santiago's murder came roughly five months after Juan A. Martínez Matos stabbed Jorge Steven López Mercado to death. Martínez later decapitated, dismembered and partially burned the gay teenager's body before dumping it along a remote roadside.

Martínez received a 99 year prison sentence in May after he confessed to López's murder.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.