Today would have been the 20th birthday of Jorge Steven López Mercado.
The 19-year gay Puerto Rican was brutally killed and dismembered on Novemeber 13, 2008 in a slaying that captured international attention. Juan A. Martínez Matos confessed to killing López—stabbing, decapitating, dismembering and partially burning the teen’s body before dumping it on a roadside near Cayey. In May, the confessed killer to plead guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
After this and a series of violent murders of gay men and transgender women in Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth's attorney general announced the creation of a special commission to investigate hate crimes. To date, Puerto Rico's Republican Gov. Luis Fortuño, who resisted efforts to prosecute the López case a hate crime, has yet to publicly comment on that or any other anti-LGBT hate crime. The conservative anti-gay governor has called for a constitutional marriage ban against same-sex marriage, though.