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Mia Zapata's Killer Convicted

Florida man guilty of Gits singer's murder

March 26, 2004 12:00 AM ET

A forty-nine-year-old Cuban immigrant has been convicted of the murder of Gits frontwoman Mia Zapata more than a decade ago.

Zapata was raped and strangled with the drawstring from the hood of her Gits sweatshirt on July 7, 1993, after leaving a neighborhood bar in Seattle. The investigation into her murder was never closed, but was idle for a full decade before investigators caught a break. A new DNA database matched evidence found at the crime scene to Jesus C. Mezquia, a fisherman living in Florida with a record of sexual assaults. Mezquia, who had been placed in Seattle at the time of Zapata's death, was arrested on January 10, 2003, and was charged with first-degree murder. Following a two-week trial, a jury took more than two days this week to reach its verdict.

Zapata's death ended the rise of her band, which was enjoying its first taste of success, having earned a reputation as an excellent live act and acclaim for its debut album, Frenching the Bully. A second album, Enter: The Conquering Chicken, featured the last of Zapata's recordings and was released after her death. The group's two albums fell out of print in the Nineties, but were reissued with some unearthed songs last year. A documentary about the group is also in the works.

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