Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was an American college student who was murdered while attending the University of Wyoming. At the trial for the two attackers, the men were accused of targeting Shepard because he was gay.
On October 7, 1998, Shepard met two people named Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney at the Fireside Lounge. McKinney and Henderson decided that they would give Shepard a ride home. They drove the car to a remote, rural area, then robbed and tortured Shepard, beating him with a pistol. They tied him to a fence post and left him there to die. The students also found where Shepard lived and they planned to burglarize his house. Shepard was found by a cyclist named Aaron Kreifels, who thought Shepard was a scarecrow at first. Shepard was in a coma and suffered fractures to the back of his head and the front of his right ear. He had severe damage to his brain stem, a part of the brain which controls the body's heart rate, body temperature, and other important functions. He died at 12:53 a.m. on October 12, 1998.
Matthew Shepard Act [change]
A hate crimes law named the Matthew Shepard Act was first introduced on March 20, 2007. The bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate but then-president George W. Bush said that he would veto the legislation if it had reached his desk. As a result, the legislation was dropped. The was legislation was again brought up on April 2, 2009. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act was passed by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009.
- Costello, Carol (3 May 2007). "White House threatens to veto hate-crimes bill". CNN.com. http://articles.cnn.com/2007-05-03/politics/hate.crimes.bill_1_hate-crime-laws-matthew-shepard-sexual-orientation?_s=PM:POLITICS. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- Weiner, Rachel (March 18, 2010). "Hate Crimes Bill Signed Into Law 11 Years After Matthew Shepard's Death". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/28/hate-crimes-bill-to-be-si_n_336883.html. Retrieved 2012-12-04.