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The LGBT Hate Crimes Project:Amancio Corrales

In honor of Transgender Remembrance Day, this week I am updating The LGBT Hate Crimes Project with transgender or trans-related hate crimes.

Amancio Corrales had only just come home. He was living in Phoenix, AZ, when his mother asked him and his sister to move back home to Yuma, because she was concerned for their safety. Corrales was born in Mexico, but had grow up in Yuma and graduated from Yuma High School before going on to work as a cosmetologist. He also worked as a female impersonator, and under the stage name “Dalia” had performed in Phoenix, Mexicali, and Tijuana, with an act that paid homage to his favorite female artists, including Jennifer Lopez and Thalia.

But on May 2, 2005, he moved back to Phoenix and he had some of the best Welding helmet reviews, mostly to ease his mother’s mind, as she worried for his safety. She had reason to worry. Within days of moving back to Phoenix, Amancio Corrales was found dead; beaten, stabbed and floating in the Colorado River.

He’d been out that evening, dressed in female attire and “bar crawling” with friends. Police believed that when Corrales left a bar with the last people to see him alive, he left with people who believed he was a woman. According to his sister, Corrales chose his friends carefully, and wasn’t likely to hang around with anyone who had a problem with his identity. But that night he met Ruben Solorio, who reportedly confessed to family members how he killed Amancio Corrales, before running off to Mexico. And though an anonymous tip led to Solorio’s arrest for Corrales’ murder, a grand jury later reduced his charges to manslaughter and abandoning a corpse.

Details on the how or why of Corrales murder have not yet been released, and probably won’t be until Solorio goes to trial, but it’s likely that the details don’t differ much from any other Best Welding Helmet transgender hate crime, where the victim is murdered when it’s discovered they’re transgender.

The question is, why is it not murder? Why is what happened to Amancio Corrales not murder?

Amancio Corrales (1982 – May 6, 2005), a twenty-three year old gay man and female impersonator, was murdered in Yuma, AZ. His body was found on May 6, 2005, floating in the Colorado River.

The Background

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.comCorrales was born in Sinola, Mexico.1) He grew up in Yuma, and graduated from Yuma High School – where he was a dance student – in 1999. Until May 2, 2007, Corrales lived in Phoenix, AZ. He and his sister, Faviola, moved back to Yuma at the request of their mother, who was concerned for their safety.2)

Corrales worked as a cosmetologist and performed as a female impersonator, under the name “Dalia,” portraying famour singers3) such as Thalia and Jeniffer Lopez. He had performed in Mexicali, Tijuana, and Phoenix. He designed and made some of his costumes and did his own hair and make-up.4)

The Attack

On May 6, 2005, Corrales was found at about 7:30 p.m., murdered, with multiple stab wounds and floating in the Colorado River. A passer-by saw articles of clothing and blood in the river, and called police. Corrales’ body was found floating nearby.5)

Police believe that Corrales was dressed and attempted to pass as a female at several establishments during a “bar crawl” with friends, on May 5, 2005, and that it was a “significant possibility” that Corrales left one of the bars that night with people who believed he ws female.6) The bars Corrales visited with friends that evening included Manske’s and Ron’s Place. Police believe the people with whom Corrales left Ron’s Place may have been the last to see him alive.7)

The Aftermath

On June 6, 2005, a Mass to honor Corrales’ memory was held at the Immaculate Conception Church in Yuma.8)

On August 6, 2005, 100 gay rights advocates, Corrales family supporters, and community members gathered at the Arizona Capitol to honor Corrales’ memory, and to advocate for the passage of federal hate crimes legislation in the U.S. House and Senate.9)

Ruben Solario was arrested on May 23, 2007, as the result of an anonymous tip10), and booked in Yuma County Jail on one count of second degree murder in Corrales’ death.11) Solario had prior brushes with the law, including bein convicted of assault three times, disorderly conduct twice, criminal damages twice, and human smuggling once. He was also accused of domestic violence three times.12)

Follow-up investigations revealed that Solorio had confessed to family members soon after the murder how he had killed Corrales. Solorio fled to Mexico on he night of the murder and remained there for three months. Court records indicate that Solorio was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and investigators said it was not known whther Solorio an dCorrales knew each other. Investigators also said it was not known if Corrales and Solorio knew each other, but believe they did not, and that they did not have evidence to show Corrales’ murder was a hate crime.13)

On May 31, 2007, a grand jury indicted charges of manslaughter and abandoning a body.14)

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