A "20/20" INVESTIGATIVE REPORT -- WAS THE 1998 MURDER OF MATTHEW SHEPARD
IN LARAMIE, WYOMING REALLY AN ANTI-GAY HATE CRIME? -- ELIZABETH VARGAS
UNCOVERS SURPRISING NEW EVIDENCE , FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26 ON ABC
Men Convicted of Shepard's Murder Speak for the First Time Since Being Sentenced
A gay college student named Matthew Shepard became the "poster child" for gay rights when he was severely beaten and tied to a fence by two men on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming in October, 1998. He died a few days after the incident. It was not only the beating/death itself that spurred national headlines and demonstrations, but the sexual orientation of the victim. Shepard became a symbol of oppression for the gay community when the murder was deemed an anti-gay hate crime. Two local men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, both twenty-one at the time, were convicted of murder and both are now serving double life sentences.
The whole world seemed sure that what happened in Laramie was a clear cut case of tolerance vs. hate. But was the murder of Matthew Shepard a "gay bashing" or were there other factors in play that night? The exclusive ABC News investigation uncovers surprising revelations, including Laramie's underground world of methamphetamine use that may have contributed to the crime and whether or not Shepard knew his killers. For the one-hour report, "20/20" co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas conducts exclusive prison interviews with McKinney and Henderson, who speak for the first time since being sentenced. "A Murder in Laramie: the Mystery and the Myth," which might change the way Americans view the crime, airs on "20/20" FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is the executive producer.