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Sun Oct 6, 2013, 07:00 AM

 

15 years ago today. Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard



Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 October 12, 1998) was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998. He was attacked on the night of October 67, and died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12 from severe head injuries.

During the trial, it was widely reported that Shepard was targeted because he was gay; a Laramie police officer testified at a pretrial hearing that the violence against Shepard was due to how the attacker "[felt] about gays", per an interview of the attacker's girlfriend who said she received that explanation. Shepard's murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels.

In 2009, his mother Judy Shepard authored a book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed. In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly the "Matthew Shepard Act" or "Shepard/Byrd Act" for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law.

Shepard was born in Casper, Wyoming, the first of two sons born to Judy Peck and Dennis Shepard. His younger brother Logan was born in 1981. He attended Crest Hill Elementary School, Dean Morgan Junior High School, and Natrona County High School for his freshman through junior years. Saudi Aramco hired his father in the summer of 1994, and his parents subsequently resided at the Saudi Aramco Residential Camp in Dhahran. During that time, Shepard attended The American School In Switzerland (TASIS), from which he graduated in May 1995. Shepard then attended Catawba College in North Carolina and Casper College in Wyoming, before settling in Denver, Colorado. Shepard became a first-year political science major at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and was chosen as the student representative for the Wyoming Environmental Council.

He was described by his father as "an optimistic and accepting young man who had a special gift of relating to almost everyone. He was the type of person who was very approachable and always looked to new challenges. Matthew had a great passion for equality and always stood up for the acceptance of people's differences."

In February 1995, during a high school trip to Morocco, Shepard was beaten and raped, causing him to experience depression and panic attacks, according to his mother. One of Shepard's friends feared that his depression had driven him to become involved with drugs during his time in college.

On the night of October 67, 1998, Shepard met Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson at the Fireside Lounge in Laramie, Wyoming. It was decided that McKinney and Henderson would give Shepard a ride home. McKinney and Henderson subsequently drove the car to a remote, rural area and proceeded to rob, pistol-whip, and torture Shepard, tying him to a fence and leaving him to die. According to their court testimony, McKinney and Henderson also discovered his address and intended to steal from his home. Still tied to the fence, Shepard, who was still alive but in a coma, was discovered 18 hours later by Aaron Kreifels, a cyclist who initially mistook Shepard for a scarecrow.

Reggie Fluty, the first police officer on the scene, found Shepard alive but covered in blood. The medical gloves issued by the Albany County Sheriff's Department were faulty and Fluty's supply ran out. She decided to use her bare hands to clear an airway in Shepard's bloody mouth. A day later, she was informed that Shepard was HIV positive and that she had been exposed because of cuts on her hands. After taking an AZT regime for several months, she proved not to have been infected. Judy Shepard later wrote she learned of Matthew's HIV status during his stay at the hospital following the attack.

Shepard had suffered fractures to the back of his head and in front of his right ear. He experienced severe brainstem damage, which affected his body's ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature, and other vital functions. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face, and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate. Shepard never regained consciousness and remained on full life support. While he lay in intensive care, and in the days following the attack, candlelight vigils were held around the world.

Shepard was pronounced dead at 12:53 a.m. on October 12, 1998, at Poudre Valley Hospital, in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was 21 years old.


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Reply 15 years ago today. Matthew Shepard was brutally attacked... (Original post)
Cooley Hurd Oct 2013 OP
xchrom Oct 2013 #1
newfie11 Oct 2013 #2
Cooley Hurd Oct 2013 #3
newfie11 Oct 2013 #6
Cooley Hurd Oct 2013 #7
BrotherIvan Oct 2013 #4
LineNew Reply .
Marrah_G Oct 2013 #5
LineNew Reply .
Tree-Hugger Oct 2013 #8
uppityperson Oct 2013 #9
arely staircase Oct 2013 #10

Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 07:06 AM

1. du rec.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 07:20 AM

2. What a cruel senseless crime

I remember this. I wonder if this horrific crime has helped other gays to be accepted in WY.
I know of a foreign college student in Casper that is gay. My first though was omg not WY but I have been told there have been no threats to him.
I hope it continues that way.

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Response to newfie11 (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 08:29 AM

3. I don't think the crime is an indictment of WY, just of a few asshole-murderers that...

 

...incidentally live in the state.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 05:38 PM

6. Where do you live? Our daughter lives in Casper.

Wy is a beautiful state.

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Response to newfie11 (Reply #6)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 05:44 PM

7. Far away from WY or Casper

 

...but I have lived (peripherally) in red states and I know more good people from these states than bad ones.

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 10:23 AM

4. Sad K&R

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 10:25 AM

5. .

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 06:22 PM

8. .

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 06:43 PM

9. 15 years? How could it be so long? How could it be so short?

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 06:48 PM

10. wow he would be thirty five

he might have been a great man. or a bad man. or an ordinary man. but he never got to be any of those things. I think that if we can find a silver lining in this horrible thing it is that his death really focused attention on hate crimes against the LGBT community.

Rest in peace.

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