Brutally murdered 21-year old Wyoming student. He was beaten, burned and tied to a fence for 18 hours on Wednesday, 7th October 1998. He was found by a passing bicyclist, who mistook him for a scarecrow at first, in near-freezing conditions and later died in a hospital from the injuries he received. Two young men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, were charged with attempted first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Two women were charged with being accessories after the fact.
Matthew Shepard was gay and he was murdered simply because of his sexuality.
Police said the two men lured Mr Shepard from a University of Wyoming campus bar by telling him they were gay. The three allegedly drove off in a truck, where Matthew was beaten. Later, the assailants tied him to the fence and beat him some more. Matthew suffered severe head injuries in the attack, including damage to his brain stem.
Russell Henderson pleaded guilty to avoid a possible death penalty and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison.
The prosecution had originally asked for the death penalty for Aaron McKinney, 22, but reached an agreement approved by the victim's family. His defence had attempted to use a gay panic defence. The judge refused to accept such arguments.
Anti-gay lobby groups turned up to picket his funeral.
This is old news and I am sure that most of you reading this writeup are more than familiar with the details of this hate crime. What is, perhaps, most shocking is that when I looked up Matthew Shepard in everything the only post related to this matter was the now deleted article above. That writeup trivialised what is, for a lot of people, quite a serious matter. I hope that he was being ironic but I have my doubts.