Mia Zapata and her band The Gits, were a fixture in the exploding music scene of early 1990s Seattle. Alongside bands like 7 Year Bitch, Mudhoney, The Fast Backs, Nirvana and Green River, The Gits mixed elements of punk and hard rock to create a whole new Alternative sound… then, Zapata was found dead. A victim of a brutal rape, beating and strangulation. That was July 7, 1993.
Fast forward through ten years of investigation by The Seattle Police, an Unsolved Mysteries episode, a benefit album named Home Alive, featuring several luminaries of the grunge scene, a foundation to teach women self-defense and Joan Jett fronting Evil Stig, a group comprised of the GITS surviving members, to raise money to pay private detectives on the case.
All this but no killer. That is until DNA evidence implicated an Ohio man, Jesus Mezquia. He was tried and convicted of the brutal crimes against Zapata and received a sentence of 37 years in prison (a seemingly light sentence but within the range of statutory murder in the State of Washington). Then, in an odd turn of events that goes along with the screwy nature of this story, the sentence was overturned by The U.S. Supreme Court.
Strangely, Jesus Mezquia told his attorneys that he wanted his original sentence reinstated. He reportedly gave no reason to his defense team or the press. But Steve Moriarity, The Gits drummer, told me that he has a theory.
“He [Mezquia] was sitting in jail [awaiting the retrial] in Seattle where there are GITS fans among the guards and inmates and they made his life hell in there. I think he just wanted to go back to prison where his “life” would be more comfortable.”
Last week, Mezquia now 54 years old, appeared in court and got his wish. His original sentence of 37 years was reinstated by Judge Sharon Armstrong. She ordered Mezquia remanded to the Clallam Bay Correction Center to serve out the remainder of his sentence.
When I asked Moriarty his thoughts on the reinstatement, he was clear. “I’m glad it’s over and that I didn’t have to testify again. Relief.”
Hopefully now Mia and her family can have some long needed relief.