Mia Zapata Murderer Found Guilty

Jesus C. Mezquia faces over 20 years for decade-old killing.

A 49-year-old man has been convicted for the 1993 murder of Mia Zapata, frontwoman of Seattle punk band the Gits.

Jesus C. Mezquia was found guilty of first degree murder in Seattle's King County Superior Court on Thursday, according to a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office. Although life behind bars is the maximum penalty, Mezquia, a Cuban national who was living in Marathon, Florida, when he was arrested last year, is likely to serve between 22 and 30 years.

"I'm just glad that he'll be rotting in prison and we'll be able to live a little bit freer lives," Gits drummer Steve Moriarty told the Associated Press.

Zapata's case went unsolved for nearly a decade before Mezquia, a convicted felon, was arrested in January 2003 and his DNA, which had been entered into the National DNA Index System a month earlier, matched evidence found on Zapata's body (see "Man Arrested In '93 Murder of Punk Singer Mia Zapata").

The jury deliberated for three days before rendering their guilty verdict. The trial began March 8.

Zapata's raped and beaten body was found on July 7, 1993, near the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. The 27-year-old had been strangled to death with the drawstrings of her Gits sweatshirt.

A sentencing date has yet to be set but will likely take place in about a month.