Murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in 1998 caused national outrage and led to creation of federal hate crime laws New book now claims that the two attackers were not motivated by his sexuality but were high on meth and wanted to rob him Both of the attackers are still in jail on double murder charges
Victim: Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old college student when he was beaten and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998
New claims have been made about the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in 1998 saying that his death was not actually a hate crime like it has so often described.
Journalist Stephen Jimenez claims that Shepard was pistol whipped, beaten and tortured before being tied to a fence and left to die not because he was gay but because his attackers were high on meth and wanted to take his money.
Attackers Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were both given life sentences and spoke out in 2004 saying that they had been on methamphetamine fore days before the October 6, 1998 beating in Laramie, Wyoming but gay rights activists have blasted the book for being an attempt at re-writing history.
Jimenez maintains that over the course of more than 100 interviews with people with connections to the case he discovered that Shepard was made into a gay rights martyr after the fact.
He claims to have found a previously-sealed letter in the court filings on the case where a local male hustler wrote that Aaron McKinney ‘really did like having sex with gay guys, that he wasn’t unfamiliar with homosexuality and the gay world’.
If that claim is true, it would dent the argument that the beating death was based around the attacker’s fear of homosexuality.