Kidnapped, tied to a fence, pistol-whipped and tortured, Shepard died from his injuries. Though the crime sparked nationwide debate, his home state has remained resistant to change
A basket of flowers hangs from the fence where Matthew Shepard was left to die. Photo: Steve Liss/Time & Life Pictures/Getty
When Matthew Shepard died in a Colorado hospital 15 years ago this week, the shockwaves could be felt across America. Kidnapped by two men who had befriended him, tied up to a fence in a remote rural spot, pistol-whipped and tortured, Shepard died of his head injuries on 12 October, 1998.
The outrage that erupted from Shepard’s murder not only put his abductors – Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson – behind bars for life, but it also provoked a nationwide debate about hate crimes against gay people. Evidence presented at trial suggested that the attack had been motivated by violent antagonism towards…
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