Initially famous for her work with the late 1980s and early 1990s punk rock group The Gits, she was tragically murdered in Seattle in 1993. Jesus Mezquia, a fisherman and stranger to Zapata, was convicted of her brutal homicide in 2004 and sentenced to over thirty years in prison.
She started playing guitar and piano during her childhood years and formed The Gits at the age of twenty one. After relocating to Seattle, the band recorded its first album, Frenching the Bully.
Her band's early hits include "Second Skin" and "Another Shot of Whiskey." At the time of her death, she was recording The Gits' second LP, Enter: The Conquering Chicken, Zapata.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, she settled in Seattle, Washington after attending Antioch College in Ohio.
Two years after Zapata's murder, her Gits bandmates, collaborating with rock musician Joan Jett, recorded an album and launched a tour to raise the money needed for a private investigation into her death.