Killers of gay student deny attack was homophobic
Friday 26 November 2004
The killers of the gay American student Matthew Shepard in 1998 have said in a TV interview that they were motivated not by homophobia, but the prospect of robbery to fuel a methamphetamine binge.
"He was pretty well-dressed, had a wallet full of money," Aaron McKinney said of meeting Shepard, 21, at a bar in Laramie, Wyoming. "All I wanted to do was beat him up and rob him. ... Seemed like a good idea at the time."
The robbery got out of hand, said McKinney and his accomplice, Russell Henderson, and Shepard was beaten into a coma while tied to a fence outside the small college town. He died five days later.
The crime was condemned by President Bill Clinton, Congress and the international community, and spurred debate on the effectiveness of hate crime laws. McKinney and Henderson, both 27, are serving life sentences for murder.
McKinney said he killed Shepard because of the effects of drugs, not because Shepard was gay. Henderson agreed, saying "it's not because me and Aaron had anything against gays or any of that."
McKinney said Shepard asked for a lift home as he was drunk. He said that in the truck Shepard asked for sex in return for drugs, but McKinney decided to rob Shepard instead. He struck him, and although Shepard handed over his wallet, the beating went on. "Sometimes when you have that rage going through you, there's no stopping it," McKinney said.
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