21 Sep The Matthew Shepard Story

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On October 6, 1998, 21-year-old college student Matthew Shepard was lured to a remote field in the Wyoming countryside where he was lashed to a fence and beaten senseless with the butt of a pistol. He died in the hospital six days later. The two men charged with the murder acknowledged that they targeted Matthew because he was gay; Russell Henderson was handed two life sentences, and Aaron McKinney’s first degree murder charges would carry the death penalty. Not once during the painful months of the trial did Matthew’s parents, Judy and Dennis, waiver from their determination to see McKinney die. Privately, though, Judy started to feel conflicted about the death penalty and, after much soul searching, she decided it was time to end the cycle of hate. In a heart-wrenching tribute to Matthew, Dennis granted McKinney life, in memory of one whom no longer lives. Judy and Dennis Shepard used the murder trial of Matthew’s killer to create a lasting legacy in memory of their son.