It’s been a while since I’ve made any updates to the LGBT Hate Crimes Project. Honestly? The project requires more research and writing than I have time to do right now. So, though there are more stories I want to add, it just hasn’t happened. And even some of the cases I’ve written up so far need updating that I haven’t gotten a chance to do. (In fact, I almost didn’t get the chance this time. Right after I wrote the previous sentences —the first tiny bit of writing I’d been able to do all day — at about 11:40 p.m., our entire neighborhood lost power.)
I wanted to update at least one case, briefly; the murder of Thalia Mosqueda, which I compiled back in November 2007, but never posted here. So, I’m posting it now, along with an update on the conviction and life sentence in this case.
Thalia Mosqueda, a transgender woman, was shot in the head in the parking lot of a Daytona, FL, nightclub on July 29, 2007, and died soon after. Her killer, Cesar Villazano, said he became enraged when Mosqeuda made sexual advances toward him.
Born Oscar Mosqueda, in Mexico, Mosqueda, 34, was a member of the Farm Workers Association of Florida. She lived in the United States legally, worked at a fern farm, and regularly sent money to her mother in Mexico.1) On July 29, Mosqueda went to Garibaldi, a restaurant which operated as a club in the evenings, and catered to a clientele of Latino crossdressers, transgender Latinos, and gay men.
Mosqueda encountered Cesar Villazano at Garibadli when, according to Wesley Rosser, a friend Mosqueda’s, Viillazano was trying to persuade a drag queen at the club to go with him in his car. When she refused, he pulled her hair and tried to force her into the car.2)
The shooting occurred when Mosqueda intervened, saying to Villazano, “Leave her alone. Can’t you see she doesn’t want to be with you? Villazano argued with Mosqueda before pulling a gun, firing two shots in the air, and then fired a shot at Mosqueda, striking her in the head.3)
Villazano shot Mosqueda in the head at about 2:30 a.m. Police were called to the scene around 3:30 a.m. and arrrived to find Mosqueda lying on the ground.4) Mosqueda was transported to Halifax Medical Center, where she died at about noon on July 29. 5)
Villazano & Acosta
Following his arrest, Villazano told police that he was in the United States illegally, and police reports showed two warrants against Villazano for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving without a license. Villazano said that Mosqueda approached him in the restaurant, and that he became angry because he is not gay.6) Villazano said Mosqueda grabbed him by the penis, and that angered him because he was not gay.7)
Rosser said that Villazano was a regular at Garbaldi’s, and though he did not identify as gay, engaged in sexual activity with other gay men. “In Spanish culture,” Rosser said, “you’re not considered gay if you have sex with another guy as a top.”8)
Villzano later fled the scene after the shooting.9) Around noon, Villazano was stopped by a Volusia County police officer, arrested, and charged with second degree murder. The driver of the car, Louis Acosta, 21, was arrested on a cocaine possession charge.10)
On July 7, 2008, Cesar Villazano was convicted of Mosqueda’s murder and sentenced to life in prison. Villazano rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors, which would have sentenced him to 25 years in prison. 11)