Matthew Shepard
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On October 26, a little more than 20 years after his murder, Matthew Shepard will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral. This event is bringing out the usual right wing cranks who insist that Shepard was complicit in his own murder. According to Charlie Nash, a tech writer at Breitbart:

20 Years Later, Media Still Claims Matthew Shepard Murder Was Homophobic Hate Crime

20 years after the brutal murder of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, media outlets are still claiming the attack was motivated by homophobia, despite evidence which suggests Shepard was in a sexual relationship with one of the attackers.

Mr. Nash should be more careful. There is no evidence that Shepard was in a sexual relationship with Aaron McKinney, something that McKinney denies. There is also no evidence that the murder of Matthew Shepard was anything other than a hate crime including kidnapping, torture, robbery and murder of the young college student. There are the inevitable claims that Shepard’s murder had something to do with methamphetamine. Again, no evidence.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has an excellent piece about Shepard conspiracy theories. There is no need for me to re-litigate the matter.

There exists a large body of evidence that the murder of Matthew Shepard was a hate crime. We are informed through testimony, Henderson’s confession, police reports, police interviews, court records, forensics and ultimately a guilty verdict at McKinney’s trial.

Until someone can produce evidence of anything to the contrary my beliefs will coincide with the evidence that does exist. Frankly, efforts to disparage Shepard are infuriating. I start to think about two big guys beating the hell out of a kid who weighed about 100 pounds. Apparently these two brave men beat Matthew to death while he was already tied up. Reports described how Shepard was beaten so brutally that his face was completely covered in blood, except where it had been partially cleansed by his tears.

I was in Laramie on a consulting assignment for  Bankers Trust Company when Shepard was murdered. I recall how upset I was at the time. I am still upset. I will always be upset over this senseless killing. Imbeciles like Charlie Nash add fuel to the flames. Not content with the truthful narrative, they continue to murder Matthew Shepard and his parents, Judy and Dennis, continue to suffer.

I do not believe in the death penalty under any circumstances. Allowing McKinney and Henderson to rot in prison for the rest of their miserable lives is the far greater punishment. Other people have complete authoritative control over when these two can eat, sleep and shit. Henderson, now 41, has taken some responsibility for what he did. He is quoted by the AP:

I think about Matthew every single day of my life. I think about him and every single one of those days that I’ve had that he hasn’t had, his family hasn’t had, his friends haven’t had. I’m so, so ashamed I was ever part of this.

I have no way to judge Henderson’s sincerity. In the future I expect an effort to appeal to the governor of Wyoming to commute his sentence. That is the only way that he is ever getting out.

Henderson is in a medium-security prison in Torrington, WY. Due to overcrowding in Wyoming’s prisons, McKinney is currently at a maximum security prison in Mississippi.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.