Jan 6, 2006, 12:29 AM
Six years ago, on a cold October night on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo., 21-year-old gay college student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead. He was found 18 hours later and rushed to the hospital, where he lingered on the edge of death for nearly five days before succumbing to his injuries.
The story garnered national attention when the attack was characterized as a hate crime. But Shepard's killers, in their first interview since their convictions, tell "20/20's" Elizabeth Vargas that money and drugs motivated their actions that night, not hatred of gays.
While Shepard lay unconscious in a hospital, the national press quickly arrived in Laramie. Cal Rerucha, who prosecuted the case, told Vargas the media descended on Laramie "like locusts."
"We knew in the newsroom the day it happened, this is going to be a huge story, this is going to attract international interest," said Jason Marsden of "The Casper Star-Tribune."
"I remember one of my fellow reporters saying,'this kid is going to be the new poster child for gay rights," he added. News of Shepard's death sparked reaction overseas and demonstrations across America.
"I think a lot of gay people, when they first heard of that horrifying event, felt sort of punched in the stomach. I mean it kind of encapsulated all our fears of being victimized," said writer Andrew Sullivan, a prominent gay rights advocate.
<quoted text>You're kidding, right? The LGBT community can not be brought to court and neither can ActUp and BashBack, but both have FBI hate crime records.
No, if all we need was an agenda, then we could claim that Matthew Shepard's lover, McKinney,was religious and it was a hate crime, when in fact McKinney was bisexual and killed Matt over drugs and money. Meth was on McKinney's mind.
But, don't let the truth change your mind.