Task Force responds to guilty plea in case involving the killing of Puerto Rican gay man

May 12, 2010

Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Manager
(Cell) 787.602.5954

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1463

WASHINGTON, May 12 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to today's guilty plea in the case involving the killing last fall of Jorge Steven López Mercado, a 19-year-old gay man in Puerto Rico. Juan Martínez Matos, who had been scheduled to go on trial Monday, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder at a hearing in Caguas and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Statement by Pedro Julio Serrano,
Task Force Communications Manager;
Founder, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s

"This was a brutal crime, and today's developments have been very emotional for Jorge Steven's family and friends, as well as to the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Puerto Rico. While the guilty plea and sentencing bring some closure, these wounds will never heal for those who knew and loved Jorge Steven.

"Yet, despite how heart-wrenching this has all been, Jorge Steven's family has been so loving and strong; they have been and continue to be a symbol of love conquering hate. This has inspired me and so many others in our work to keep this from happening again."

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.