Matthew Shepard

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Matthew Wayne Shepard (1976-1998) was an American college student who was brutally tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming, in October 1998. The reason for something so horrific? He was homosexual and someone thought he had some money or drugs.

This was an extremely brutal murder, which utterly shook places even outside the USA. Shepard was pistol-whipped, robbed, tortured, and tied to a fence, left to die.[1] Shepard's body was discovered the next day by a cyclist, student Aaron Kreifels, who mistook him for a scarecrow. He was taken to Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins, Colorado soon after, but was pronounced dead at 12:53 AM on October 12, 1998, at only 21 years of age.[2][3][4][5]

Much literature and discussion arose from the entire case, mostly upon the realisation that there was a lot of homophobia in America and the wider world (Shocking, I know, but who can blame them). The Laramie Project,Wikipedia written by Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Project, is a piece of documentary theatre that is perhaps the most notable of these works.

Murder and reactions[edit]

On the 6th October 1998, Shepard walked into a bar, where he met the two would-be killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Deciphering that he was gay, and seeing him as an easy target, they conversed with Shepard, then volunteered to drive him home. They subsequently drove him to a remote area near Laramie, tortured and robbed him, tied him to a fence, and set fire to him.[6] Despite being rushed to hospital, his wounds were virulent and he died only a few days later.

His funeral on October 17th drew the attention of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (old Fred was still publicly protesting with his cult at this point), who crashed it, with signs reading "Fag Matt In Hell", "Matthew Shepard rots in Hell", and "God Hates Fags". A 'perpetual gospel memorial' page to Shepard on Phelps' website was created sometime later, depicting a photo of Shepard's head being engulfed by flames and a "message" from Matthew that consisted of a .wav scream, with the number of days he had been in Hell since his 1998 murder and which remained on the website for over 20 years.[7] The WBC argued that Shepard was not killed for his homosexuality, and his death was, in fact, a result of a drug deal gone wrong; evidence for this primarily comes from subsequent statements from his killers and the girlfriend of one of them, which has received very mixed reactions from followers of the case. But then again, the fag media would just be covering it up, wouldn't they?


After failed attempts by President Clinton to amend hate crime legislation (and George H. W. Bush predictably not even trying), President Barack Obama was eventually successful in passing the Matthew Shepard Act in 2009.[8] The law was an expansion of the 1969 federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by an individual's ethnicity, sexual preference, gender identity, or disability. It was passed in the Senate with a vote of 68-29. The Act was initially introduced in early 2007; however, the lovely Dubya said he would have vetoed it if it reached his desk and the influence of conservative groups helped prevent it from getting passed.

See also[edit]


  1. "Matthew Shepard: The murder that changed America". BBC News. 26 October 2018. 
  2. "Murder charges planned in beating death of gay student". CNN. October 12, 1998. Archived from the original on August 22, 2006. Retrieved November 1, 2006. 
  3. Lacayo, Richard (October 26, 1998). "The New Struggle". Time. Retrieved November 1, 2006. 
  4. "Beaten gay student dies; murder charges planned". CNN. October 12, 1998. Archived from the original on June 20, 2006. Retrieved January 14, 2007. 
  5. "Matthew Shepard Medical Update". Poudre Valley Health System (Colorado). October 12, 1998. Archived from the original on June 30, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2007. 
  6. "The truth behind America’s most famous gay-hate murder" (in en). the Guardian. 26 October 2014.