Nearly 16 years after punk rocker Mia Zapata’s death shook the Seattle rock scene, her killer’s legal fate was settled Thursday in a nearly empty courtroom.

Zapata, a rising star and vocalist for the Gits, was found dead July 7, 1993, near 24th Avenue South. Police later determined she’d been raped and beaten and strangled to death with her sweatshirt cord.

Zapata left Ohio for Seattle in 1989, as the city’s sound, which would become a worldwide sensation, remained in its infancy. Her death, which came days after her band finished a West Coast tour, stunned the community and went on to spark the formation of Home Alive, a violence-prevention and self-defense organization still in operation.

The murder, while solved, remains largely unexplained, an apparent random attack by a deranged man. While jurors convicted Mezquia of first-degree murder, they did so without finding that the attack was premeditated.

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