Gay man beaten and left for dead in US

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AN OPENLY gay college student was beaten to within an inch of his life while tied to a fence, left for dead and burned, in a remote American town in what appeared to be a crime motivated solely by the victim's sexuality.

Police in Laramie, Wyoming, said they had arrested two young men who lured Matthew Shepherd, 22, to their pick-up truck, tied him to the fence, pistol-whipped him and burned his body.

Shepherd was found 18 hours later and is now in a coma. The incident has sparked a nationwide debate about preventing such crimes, especially in remote areas with little tolerance of homosexuality.