December 2, 2004
Re "Justice Shouldn't Be Tilted by 'Hate Crimes,' " Commentary, Nov. 26: The opinion JoAnn Wypijewski holds is not quite the one she seems to be arguing for. If she wants to show people what effect hate crime laws have on criminal prosecutions, she should probably find a case from a state that has one. What her article reveals is that it's not hate crime laws she opposes, it's sympathy for victims and their families. That may be a defensible opinion, but she shouldn't use hate crime laws as a cover for it. Wyoming does not have such a law, and what this case reveals is that neither Matthew Shepard's family nor the citizens of Wyoming really needed one. The family's grief and the community's compassion arose on their own. Wypijewski may think that's a shame.
November 26, 2004 |
ABC's newsmagazine "20/20" pitches its hour on Matthew Shepard, airing tonight at 10, as an unflinching, demystifying look at the grisly killing of the gay University of Wyoming student whose death became a symbol of hate and homophobia in contemporary America. The details are stark enough: On Oct. 6, 1998, the 21-year-old Shepard was beaten and left tied to a split-rail fence for 18 hours in the frigid plains outside Laramie. He died five days later.
July 29, 2001 |
Moises Kaufman could not turn off the television. He could not put down the newspaper. Like much of America, he was mesmerized by the news of the horrific beating, robbery and eventual death in 1998 of Matthew Shepard, a gay university student attacked and left for dead by two young men near Laramie, Wyo. "For the five days until he died, you couldn't turn on a television or a radio and not hear about it," says the 37-year-old playwright and director. "Matthew Shepard put a face on hate crimes.
October 29, 1999 |
Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson plotted to pose as gays and rob Matthew Shepard, and McKinney later acknowledged they had killed him, McKinney's then-girlfriend testified Thursday. McKinney claimed "a gay guy had been hitting on him" in the bar, Kristen Price, 19, told jurors. "They decided in the bathroom to pretend they were gay, get him in the truck and rob him." Later that night, McKinney, covered in blood, returned to their home and told her "he had killed someone," she said.
February 1, 2002 |
After taking aim at "The Sopranos" last year, NBC has again irked Home Box Office officials--this time by scheduling a fact-based movie about the 1998 slaying of gay youth Matthew Shepard to run the same night HBO was going to run its own movie related to that topic. HBO announced a few weeks ago that "The Laramie Project," adapted from Moises Kaufman's stage play based on interviews with townspeople about the much-publicized murder, would premiere March 16.
November 5, 1999 |
The parents of slain college student Matthew Shepard interceded to save the life of his killer, brokering an eleventh-hour deal that will send Aaron McKinney to prison for life while sparing him the death penalty. As the sentencing phase of the murder trial in Laramie, Wyo., was about to begin Thursday morning, Judge Barton Voigt announced the deal: McKinney, 22, is to serve two consecutive life sentences, has no chance for parole and no opportunity to appeal. Dennis Shepard read a lengthy, emotional statement in court Thursday, calling his 21-year-old gay son his hero and citing his special gift for helping people.