Trial Of Man Charged In Murder Of THE GITS Singer Begins In Washington

March 3, 2004

The trial of the Miami man charged with the 1993 murder of Seattle punk-rock singer Mia Zapata of THE GITS began this past Monday (March 1),according to a post on the band's web site.

Jesus C. Mezquia, a 49-year-old fisherman and laborer with a history of assaults on women and only a passing connection to Seattle, was arrested in January 2003 at his home in Marathon, Fla., in the heart of the Florida Keys, more than 3,000 miles from the spot — on a dead-end street in Seattle's Central Area — where Zapata's body was found nearly 11 years ago, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Police said they used DNA evidence to tie Mezquiato the slaying.

Investigators stated last year that they had 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 trial could take a month or more," former THE GITS drummer Steve Moriarty wrote on the band's web site. There is solid evidence to support the prosecution. We are confident that the King County Prosecutors are extremely competent and dedicated to winning this case. The man faces 25 years to life in prison for First Degree murder. We welcome anyone to attend the trial in support of Mia and long overdue Justice."

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, who were making a name for themselves with songs filled with raw emotion.

The remaining members of THE GITS formed a new band, THE DANCING FRENCH LIBERALS OF '48, and released two posthumous GITS albums, 1995's "Enter: The Conquering Chicken" and 1996's "Kings and Queens". They also recorded a live album of GITS covers in 1995 under the name EVIL STIG ("GITS LIVE" backwards),with Joan Jett filling in for Zapata on lead vocals.

Zapata's tragic death prompted Valerie Agnew, the drummer of 7 YEAR BITCH, to form Home Alive, a charity dedicated to teaching women self defense techniques. A 1996 benefit album, appropriately titled "Home Alive", featured contributions from NIRVANA, SOUNDGARDEN, FOO FIGHTERS, PEARL JAM, JELLO BIAFRA, PRESIDENTS OF THE USA, 7 YEAR BITCH, and many others, and raised money for the charity, as well as awareness of Zapata's life and music.

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