Crime | Judy Shepard | Matthew Shepard | News | Wyoming

10 Years Ago Today, Matthew Shepard was Beaten and Left to Die


It was ten years ago tonight, on the night of October 6, 1998, that Matthew Shepard was beaten by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson and left to die tied to a fence near Laramie, Wyoming. He died five days later, on October 12.

This morning, Judy Shepard appeared on The Early Show to discuss the progress that has (and hasn't) been made since Matthew's murder. Wyoming still does not have a hate crime law that covers sexual orientation.

Said Shepard: "I'd like to say yes it surprises me, but no it doesn't."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Bless Judy Shepard, she's someone who is really continuing to fight the good fight. She brings me to tears. Go Judy!

    Meanwhile, although it is touching, it is also a bit disturbing that all Matthew Shepard gets is a bench.

    I mean, it says "continues to make a difference"... HOW? In 10 years students won't have a clue - and it says nothing to make people maybe stop and think. Would it kill someone to add the word "homophobia", "ignorance", or "gay"?

    The bench:

    Posted by: Strepsi | Oct 6, 2008 1:42:56 PM

  2. His was such a brutal and sad story. Whenever I hear about it, to this day, I have to pause a moment.

    In death, he has become a standardbearer for all those who have been victimized because of who they are.

    Never forget!

    Posted by: Ed | Oct 6, 2008 1:43:52 PM

  3. Farewell again, Matthew. If there is a heaven you're in it. Your mother is certainly in my prayers.

    Note to other commenters: can we all ignore the previous commenter's ignorance and not make this day any sadder?

    Posted by: Chrsitopher | Oct 6, 2008 1:44:48 PM

  4. It's moments like these that I feel blessed to live in Canada. Even if homophobic hate crimes still happen here, my country and province still view me as an equal citizen.

    America disgusts me sometimes.

    Posted by: Taylor | Oct 6, 2008 1:55:50 PM

  5. Andy,

    I realize this is an open blog for commentators, but please think about banning the IP address for "The Queen". This person has not only turned people away from Towleroad, but they have used offensive language, referring to readers as "fa%^*&s", etc. It's unnecessary.

    Posted by: CJ | Oct 6, 2008 1:58:17 PM

  6. The "real story behind all this" was they killed himbecause he was gay.


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 6, 2008 2:00:55 PM

  7. Jason Steele of the Chicago Red Eye recently wrote a column about this topic. It is such a tragic even that must not be forgotten.,0,4239543.column

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Oct 6, 2008 2:16:25 PM

  8. How this woman has stayed so strong is beyond me. In the face of incredible hatred and ignorance (even from those leaving comments here), she just keeps on going.

    Posted by: Gregus | Oct 6, 2008 2:18:33 PM

  9. Andy,

    "The Queen" has overstepped the boundries of decency. I am really turned off by that inflamatory statement. If she wasn't old enough to remember that date ten years ago, maybe she should do her own homework online instead of asking us to clear that bullshit up for her. She is asking the question to make people mad, and she has done that.

    Posted by: ken | Oct 6, 2008 2:27:57 PM

  10. Rock on moma Judy.
    feel the pain, learn to fight.

    Posted by: banshiii | Oct 6, 2008 3:08:27 PM

  11. I remember when this tragedy happened I was in my early twenties and not even out yet. The story only got me more frightened than ever and couldn't tell a soul.

    This woman's strength is beyond words and to think that Wyoming still has no hate crime legislation is an insult to her and all she stands for.

    Go Judy!

    Posted by: Shabaka | Oct 6, 2008 3:49:46 PM

  12. Judy Shepard's response to the murder of her son and even her response toward her son's killers is breathtaking in its sorrow and compassion (Did you know Matthew's parents were instrumental in making certain Aaron McKinney was spared the death penalty? They said two consecutive life terms in prison for their son's murderer showed "mercy to someone who refused to show any mercy.").

    We all grieve the loss of Matthew. And we all feel enormous sympathy for both his parents. But we are also fortunate that out of this terrible tragedy our community has been blessed with an articulate, intelligent, unyielding, loving advocate for GLBT people.

    May Matthew rest in peace and may his mother have a long, long life!

    Posted by: peterparker | Oct 6, 2008 5:09:59 PM

  13. I remember this day so clearly. I'd started a new job a few months' prior, and I was working around reading all the news and reaction online. It really seemed like a turning point for the country somehow, because Matthew was such a little guy yet had so much promise and so much life, the brutality of the crime really hit home for straight America for the first time. I wrote a poem for Matt and put in on a T-shirt with his picture that I wear every year on his birthday and the day he died. He was a remarkable & loving young man because he was raised by remarkable & loving people. I hope no one ever forgets his legacy.

    Posted by: Dback | Oct 6, 2008 5:41:18 PM

  14. It took Matthew Shepards death to bring hate against the LGBT community to the forefront. The Matthew Shepard Foundation ( and Matthews Place ( continue to fight against hate. I will feel sadness in my heart all this week for all those who have died unnecessarily just for being gay. God bless Dennis and Judy Shepard for all the work they have done and I hope Matthew is looking down proudly at his parent. You can see the sadness, yet love, in Judy's eyes.

    I invite you to view my YouTube video, "One Voice", against hate @ or click on my nomen.

    Posted by: CB | Oct 6, 2008 6:38:15 PM

  15. Thank you Andy for De-throning "The Queen". Chalk one up for the good guy's.

    Posted by: ken | Oct 6, 2008 9:50:11 PM

  16. In looking for explanations for such actions and conduct of fellow humans. Both two murderers and a mother who is truly beyond words in both her bravery and love for all of people. It just plain hurts

    We have come this far yet some parents teach their children to be animals.

    Worse perhaps is how society was so resistant to saying what the motive these two children that did kill him had There shock at society retaliation said it all. If it weren't for the Media attention to this crime would have had a different outcome.

    Religion can do so much good in our communities. Teaching children and helping adults manage their lives if they need it.

    After i work this problem in my head 10 years later still come down to. Some Parents teach there Children that "Its Ok To hurt others because God doesn't like it" Were doing Gods work. Its a sin and abomination of God will. If your raised in that environment you look at Gays and lesbians as sub human. Its the same thing Religion did to Blacks, and to some degree Women.

    How can you read the Book and miss the message. Because you never taught that science, humanity, art and the things Judy Shepard tough her child were important to appreciation of the diversity in life.

    Two other children we tough it was ok to hate and even that its the Macho thing to do.

    How long will it take to drag the Church kicking and screaming to the foot of the cross and watch some die because of Missed placed hate in their literature.

    I place the death Of Matthew Shepard tied to a tree and killed to someone else Religious people killed tied to a tree. killed by the ignorance of there own self reichious followers. Jesus.

    Posted by: marty | Oct 7, 2008 7:41:22 AM

  17. What happened to Matthew Shepard 10 years ago was the one of the greatest thing to ever happen in America. I would like to see more gays end up like Matthew Shepard. A good gay is a dead gay.

    Posted by: Chuck | Oct 7, 2008 10:13:00 PM

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