The latest episode of the Investigation Discovery series Cold Blood delves into the horrific 1995 attack that left Brooklyn lesbian Sylvia Lugo dead and her girlfriend of three years, Amanda Leach, raped and bleeding from a gunshot wound to the leg.
Airing Thursday, May 10, “Park Slope Justice” revisits the gay enclave before it gentrified and raises questions about who the culprit was in the violent assault: With conflicting stories, missing evidence, and the possible involvement of ex-girlfriend Trelane McKinney, authorities started to doubt Leach’s story.
While the lurid aspects of the crime will attract some prurient viewers—and the reenactors are dressed like the butchest bull dykes you’ve ever seen (seriously, look at this woman!)—Cold Blood actually does a good job of deconstructing the case and addressing the homophobia that was part of the city’s fabric in the 1990s. Among those interviewed are Leach, her and Lugo’s friends, reporters police detectives and Brooklyn ADA Heide Mason.
In 1996, 19-year-old Alex Villanueva was ultimately charged with Lugo’s death and Leach’s rape, among numerous other offenses in a two-year crime spree. At the time, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, then executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, accused the NYPD of leaking information to the press that implicated Leach: “Had they not decided that the survivor was the murderer and convicted her in the court of public opinion, they would have caught this man before he continued his crime spree,” Quinn said.
The “Park Slope Justice” of Cold Blood airs May 10 at 9pm EST on Investigation Discovery