Russell henderson and aaron mckinney

Matthew Shepard

russell henderson and aaron mckinney

20 years after killing Matthew Shepard, what Russell Henderson has to Still, he insisted, neither he nor Aaron McKinney was motivated by.

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T he horrific killing of Matthew Shepard in is widely seen as one of the worst anti-gay hate crimes in American history. They pistol whipped him with a gun then tied him to a fence in freezing conditions and set fire to him before leaving him to die. Politicians and celebrities pledged support and funding to combat anti-gay hate crime. The Shepard family have become campaigners for gay rights. Judy and Dennis Shepard run the Matthew Shepard Foundation , which funds educational programmes and an online community for teens to discuss sexual orientation and gender issues. There have been numerous documentaries, dramas, books and events based on the story.

Suspects Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were arrested shortly after the attack and charged with first-degree murder following Shepard's death. Significant media coverage was given to the killing and to what role Shepard's sexual orientation played as a motive in the commission of the crime. The prosecutor argued that McKinney's murder of Shepard was premeditated and driven by greed. McKinney's defense counsel countered that he had intended only to rob Shepard but had killed him in a rage when Shepard made a sexual advance toward him. McKinney's girlfriend told police that he had been motivated by anti-gay sentiment but later recanted her statement, saying that she had lied because she thought it would help him. Both McKinney and Henderson were convicted of the murder, and each received two consecutive life sentences. Shepard's murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels.

Matthew Shepard with his parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard in an undated photo. He later died. Two decades after Matthew Shepard was bludgeoned, tied to a rail fence and left to die on the cold high prairie, the emotions stirred up by his slaying linger in Wyoming, which still struggles with its tarnished identity and resists changes sought by the LGBTQ community. Wyoming remains hesitant to adopt policies to counter anti-gay bias and violence. One of the convicted killers, Russell Henderson, now 41, said the U. Still, he insisted, neither he nor Aaron McKinney was motivated by anti-gay hatred when they offered Shepard a ride home from a bar.

Editor's note: For months, a team of eight Coloradoan journalists has worked to bring you the stories, photos and videos you'll see in this project. Twenty years after the brutal killing of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, one of the lead investigators in the case shared with the Coloradoan a letter sent between the suspects who were ultimately imprisoned for Shepard's murder while they were held at the Albany County Jail. Deputies intercepted the letter. The letter contains graphic language. The punctuation and grammar in the written letter may be slightly different than what appears below. When we go to court, if they try us to together or separate, I want you to blame everything on me. I already told them that, but they should hear you say what I said so this is what I told them.



The truth behind America’s most famous gay-hate murder

Shepard's murder haunts Wyoming 20 years later

Letter from Matthew Shepard's killer: 'Blame everything on me'

Aaron McKinney then 22 years old and Russell Henderson then 21 years old are the two young men responsible for the kidnapping, torture , and brutal murder of year old college student Matthew Shepard on October 12, Shortly afterwards, they took Shepard to a field, tied him to a fence post, and proceeded to sadistically torture him by pistol-whipping him in the head multiple times and burning him with cigarettes. Once they were done, they set Shepard on fire and left him tied to the fence post to die. Sheoard would succumb to his wounds in the hospital five days later. Henderson and McKinney were arrested soon afterwards and convicted of first-degree murder. Both of them received two consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole. They both remain incarcerated and are currently imprisoned at the Wyoming State Penitentiary.

Russell Henderson left and Aaron McKinney right. Matthew Shepard is born in Casper, Wyoming. Matthew Shepard Murder: A Chronology. Shepard, age 15, is arrested for sexually assaulting two 8-year old boys in Casper. The Shepard family moves to Saudi Arabia. Matthew enrolls in a boarding school in Lugano, Switzerland for his last two years of high school.

But two decades after Matthew Shepard was bludgeoned, tied to a rail fence and left to die on the cold high prairie, the emotions stirred up by his slaying linger in Wyoming, which still struggles with its tarnished identity and resists changes sought by the LGBTQ community. Even now, people associate Laramie with the murder. Known as the Equality State, Wyoming got its nickname for being the first to let women vote. Today it has fewer women in its Legislature than any other state and remains hesitant to adopt policies to counter anti-gay bias and violence. Laramie did not pass an ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity until The University of Wyoming created its diversity office only last year.

Matthew Shepard - Angels Block Protesters

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2 COMMENTS

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