Angel Mercado, 22, was stabbed during an altercation outside Old Madrid Bar, 5261 N. Fifth St., Nov. 3. He died one week later.
Julio Castillo-Hernandez, of the 4900 block of Pennway Street in Juniata Park, is charged with murder, aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime. Witnesses identified Castillo-Hernandez to police and he was arrested the morning of the incident. The charges were upgraded to include murder Nov. 13.
LGBT Liaison Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel said the incident began at about 2 a.m. when a group of friends Mercado was with got into an altercation with another group inside the bar. Both groups were asked to leave and a fight ensued outside.
On a website launched to raise money to help pay for the funeral, the victim’s mother contends that her son was attacked because he is gay.
“As he walked out of the bar to avoid a major commotion, he was followed and stabbed just because he is gay,” the mother wrote.
The police report indicates police were called to a “large fight on the highway” outside the bar, where they found Mercado lying in a large pool of blood.
Attempts to reach Mercado’s mother were unsuccessful.
Bethel said investigators do not believe Mercado was targeted for being gay.
“It doesn’t appear he was directly involved,” Bethel said. “The altercation began inside, a punch was thrown and they were told to move out. That’s when the stabbing occurred. There was no indication the fight was over him being gay or anybody being gay.”
Mercado was the only person injured in the fight.
The fundraising website described that Mercado was stabbed on his main artery in his right leg and suffered from an infection. His leg was partially amputated before his death, his site said.
According to Mercado’s Facebook page, he was originally from Brooklyn and graduated from New Britain High School in New Britain, Conn.
A funeral was held Nov. 18 in Hartford, Conn.
Castillo-Hernandez faces a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Nov. 27 in Room 306 of the Criminal Justice Center.