Fifteen years ago today, singer Mia Zapata of the Gits was found dead on a Seattle street. After a night of hanging out with friends, she was beaten, raped, and strangled as she walked home. Because the crime was committed by a stranger, there were few clues, and more than nine years passed before Jesus Mezquia was arrested in Miami. He was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2004.
This is personal for me because I knew Mia--not terribly well, but we were both at tiny Antioch College in Ohio at the same time, before she moved with her band to the west coast--and I remember that she was amazing, a small, wry woman with a humongous, aching voice. She was on her way to becoming a Gen X Janis Joplin, and news of her brutal death shook the Antioch alumni network to its core. Zapata was both an everywoman and someone we looked up to, and if something so horrible could happen to her, then any notions we might still harbor of the bohemian world as a safe place for women were clearly illusions. (The Home Alive movement started as a response to her death.)
Tonight at 7 PM the remarkable documentary The Gits screens free at Delilah's, in celebration of the DVD release tomorrow. Filmmaker Kerry O'Kane began the film before the case was resolved, so it includes the long search for justice and its resolution.