A man who claimed he snapped before killing a transgender woman was swiftly convicted of first-degree murder and a hate crime Tuesday for savagely beating the woman with a fire extinguisher.

The jury deliberated for just two hours before convicting Allen Andrade, 32, of Thornton. The first-degree murder conviction carries mandatory life without parole, and the conviction on bias-motivated crime carries an extra three years.

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The judge set formal sentencing for later Wednesday. It's believed to be the first prosecution under Colorado's bias-crime statute for a crime involving a transgender person.

Prosecutors argued Andrade had known for hours that 18-year-old Angie Zapata was biologically male and beat her to death because he disliked gays.

Andrade's attorney didn't deny that Andrade had killed Zapata but said had just learned Zapata's identity after spending hours with her and lashed out without thinking.

When the verdict was read, Andrade put his hand to his chin and wiped his goatee. Zapata's family let out an audible gasp.

The jury got the case about midday after four days of testimony.

Prosecutors played recorded jail conversations where Andrade referred to Zapata as "it" and said it wasn't as if he "killed a straight, law-abiding citizen."

"His own statements in the jail call betray the way he values Angie's life, the way he thought of her as less than, less than us because of who she was," Chief Deputy District Attorney Robb Miller told jurors.

lost taxes, but that was before paper companies started applying for them. A preliminary estimate being circulated among lawmakers by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation now puts the price tag at $3.3 billion.

Congress expanded the tax credit for developing alternative fuels in 2007, offering firms 50 cents a gallon to blend renewable fuels like ethanol with traditional fossil fuels like diesel.

Paper mills produce a liquid substance called "black liquor" as a byproduct of the process that turns wood into pulp. The pulp is dried to make paper and black liquor is then often used as fuel to power the mill.

The tax credit, however, is only available to firms that produce a blend of renewable fuels and traditional fossil fuels. Late last year some paper companies realized they could qualify for the credit by adding small amounts of diesel to the black liquor used for powering their mills.

At least two companies have already received the credits, which are available in payments from the Internal Revenue Service. Industry analysts predict many others will apply.

In addition to International Paper, Verso Paper Corp. received a $29.7 million credit for a single mill in Maine for the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A Goldman Sachs report estimates that International Paper could qualify for more than $1 billion in credits this year. Montreal-based Domtar Inc., which has mills in Arkansas, Wisconsin and Maine, could qualify for $515 million in credits, and MeadWestvaco, based in the Richmond suburb of Glen Allen, Va., could qualify for $254 million, the report said.

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on energy tax credits Thursday, and the issue is sure to come up. A bill from Baucus could come as early as this week.

Some environmental groups complain that the credit actually provides an incentive for paper companies to burn more fossil fuels because they must add diesel to their fuel mix to qualify for the credit.

Industry representatives, however, note that the blend has to contain only 0.1 percent fossil fuel to qualify.

International Paper said in a statement that the process has not increased its use of fossil fuels.

"The diesel simply replaces other fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas, that would have been used in other boilers," company spokeswoman Kathleen Bark said. "This is a sustainable environmental practice that deserves tax treatment similar to that of other renewable energy sources and fuel types."

The credits could mean up to $10 million a year for Lincoln Paper and Tissue, a small paper company in Lincoln, Maine, said president and CEO Keith Van Scotter.

"In the last six months it has been a huge lifeline," Van Scotter said in an interview.

Montreal-based AbitibiBowater, which filed for bankruptcy protection last week, is in the process of filing for credits for its mills in Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina, said Seth Kursman, the company's vice president of communications and government affairs.

Kursman said the credits should not be cut off simply because paper companies were already using renewable energy. "That should be rewarded, not penalized," he said.

The United Steel Workers union is backing the paper companies. In a letter to lawmakers, union president Leo W. Gerard said a decline in demand for paper goods has led to 25 mills closing in the past two years.

"It is not an overstatement to say that this credit, in a number of cases, is the most compelling factor in decisions related to the continuing operation of a number of pulp and paper mills," Gerard wrote.

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