Voila! Finally, the The Laramie Project
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Matthew Shepard
movie based on the play and true-life events. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of The Laramie Project. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally
tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to
drop me a line. You won't
hurt my feelings. Honest.
Now, I first thought the two Kids
who did this came from someplace else.
When I Iearned that they had grown up
in laramie, I was just fIoored.
In Laramie, Wyoming...
...a young man is in a deep coma,
near death from a savage beating.
When I first found out,
I just thought it was horribIe.
Nobody deserves that.
I don't care who you are.
A college freshman was beaten...
...tied to a fence, and left for dead
in Wyoming this weeK.
You'd liKe to thinK
this was somebody from out of town.
Somebody who comes through
and beats somebody up.
But if we're talKing about somebody
who's been beaten repeatedly...
...by somebody from our town,
that certainIy offends us.
If you asked me before, I wouId have
toId you laramie is a beautifuI town.
It's secIuded, you know, secIuded enough...
...so you can have your own identity.
Now, after Matthew...
...we're a town defined
by an accident or a crime.
We've become Waco or Jasper.
We're a noun, or a definition, or a sign.
-Do you mind if I tape this?
-No, I don't mind.
Great. Thank you again for taking time
out of your rehearsaI to taIk to me.
I must teII you, when I first heard
you were thinking of coming here...
...when you first caIIed me...
...I wanted to say:
''You just kicked me in the stomach.
Why are you doing this to me?''
And then I thought, ''WeII, that's stupid.
You're not doing this to me.''
And more importantIy...
...my students need to taIk.
When this first happened,
they started to taIk about it.
Then the media descended
and aII diaIogue stopped.
We're not reporters.
I know. I read your Iast pIay.
Gave me an idea of what you do.
Moises caIIed, saying he had an idea
for his next theatre project...
...but there was a somberness to his voice,
so I asked him what it was aII about.
He said he wanted to do a piece
about what's happening in Wyoming.
leigh toId me that the company was
thinking of going down to laramie...
...and conducting interviews,
and did I want to come?
I did, I said, yeah, but...
...I was hesitant, because as a gay man....
...a kid had just been kiIIed there
because he was gay.
What exactIy do you want?
I'd Iike you to give me names of peopIe
who might want to taIk to us.
I'd Iike to taIk to your students
and your friends.
I want to hear from the peopIe of the town.
I have never done anything Iike this before.
How do you get peopIe to taIk to you?
What do you ask?
It's stiII very raw for us here.
I understand, but this is no Ionger
about laramie or Wyoming.
This is about the whoIe country.
To me, it's stiII about laramie.
The company has agreed to go to laramie
and interview the peopIe of the town.
I'm scared, because I don't know
what I'm gonna do to ensure their safety.
I made a preIiminary contact...
...with the head of the theatre department
at the University of Wyoming...
...and hopefuIIy that wiII Iead
to more interviews.
We taIked for a Iot Ionger than I pIanned.
What did Rebecca say?
She gave me names of peopIe
who might taIk to us.
TownspeopIe, ranchers, some students.
We shouId contact these peopIe first.
let's see if anybody's gonna taIk.
-You okay? What?
PIease, don't do that here.
-Where are you foIks from?
And what brings you to town?
We're just passing through.
-Is linda home?
-Nope, she's working.
Okay. Can you teII her that Amanda
stopped by and I'II be at the Ranger MoteI?
And who are you?
I'm with a theatre company.
Rebecca HiIIiker toId her about me.
I never heard of her. What do you want?
We're writing a pIay about laramie
and the Matthew Shepard incident.
Why are you doing that?
We think it's a story that--
Sticking your nose into something
we don't need to taIk about.
-That's over and done.
-I understand your feeIing--
We don't want any more of this.
You're not wanted here.
Where are you going with this story?
When the pIay is finished,
we'II bring it around to laramie.
-And you're gonna use our words?
-That's the idea.
I've been cIose enough to the case
to know many of the peopIe.
I have a daughter,
works in the Sheriff's department.
As for the ''gay issue''...
...I don't give a damn one way or another
as Iong as they don't bother me.
And even if they did,
I'd just say, ''No, thank you.''
That's the attitude
of most of the laramie popuIation.
They might poke one in a bar situation,
If they had been drinking,
they might smack one in the mouth...
...but then they'd just waIk away.
laramie is Iive-and-Iet-Iive.
My dear brothers and sisters, I am here
today to bring you the Word of the Lord.
In my ministry, I've found a simpIe truth
that I'd Iike to share with you today.
The Word is either sufficient...
...or it is not.
Scientists teII me that human history...
...that the worId is five biIIion
or six biIIion years oId.
After aII, what's a biIIion years,
give or take?
But the BibIe teIIs me
that human history is years oId.
The Word is either sufficient or it is not.
In laramie, popuIation ...
...the first thing to greet us was WaI Mart.
This couId be any main drag in America.
Fast food chains, gas stations.
But as we drove into the downtown area,
by the raiIroad tracks...
...the buiIdings stiII retained the shape
of a turn-of-the-century western town.
As we passed the University Inn...
...on the sign where amenities such as
heated pool, cable TV are usually touted...
...it said, ''Hate is not a Laramie value.''
So how did you wind up here?
WeII, when it came time to go to coIIege...
...my parents couIdn't reaIIy afford
to send me to coIIege.
I knew that I wanted to study theatre...
...and I knew that if I wanted to go
to coIIege, I had to get on a schoIarship.
There's this competition
that they have every year.
It's Iike a Wyoming state
high schooI competition thing.
I came to the University, to the theatre
department, to Iook for some good scenes.
I asked the professor, I said,
''You know, I need a kiIIer scene.''
And he's Iike,
''Here. Here you go. This is it.''
-What was it?
-That was Angels in America.
I read that and I'm Iike, this is okay.
I can win Best Scene
if I just do a good enough job.
So I teII my parents, so they can come
see me in the competition.
They brought me in the room
and they sat me down...
...and they said that they wouIdn't come
to see me if I did that scene.
-Why is that?
You know, because they beIieve it's wrong,
because homosexuaIity's wrong.
AII I remember from the competition
is just standing ovation.
We won. We got first pIace.
One of the best moments of my Iife.
-Did your parents come?
-Parents weren't there.
So why'd you do it?
ActuaIIy, if I'm reaIIy honest, I think...
...I just wanted to win, reaIIy.
It was just the greatest scene.
I just wanted to win.
Today, for the first time, I met someone
who actuaIIy knew Matthew Shepard.
Trish Steger, owner of a shop in town,
referred to him as Matt.
Matt used to come into my shop.
That's how I knew him.
It was the first time I ever heard him
referred to as Matt instead of Matthew.
WeII, what was he Iike?
I don't know.
How does any one person
ever teII about another?
Matt was a bIunt IittIe shit.
Know what I'm saying?
He was a IittIe guy, ' ''.
Soaking wet, I bet you ( pounds, tops.
They were saying he weighed pounds.
I don't beIieve it.
I say, ''Are you Matthew Shepard?''
He says, ''Yeah, I'm Matthew Shepard,
but don't caII me Matthew, or Mr. Shepard.
''Don't caII me none of that.
My name is Matt.
''And I want you to know that I am gay,
and we're gonna be going to a gay bar.
''Do you have a probIem with that?''
I said, ''No. How are you paying?''
The fact of the matter is,
laramie doesn't have any gay bars.
For that matter, neither does Wyoming.
He was hiring me to take him down
to Fort CoIIins, CoIorado...
...which is about an hour away.
He was struggIing when he first came here.
Reaching out, trying to fit in.
-I'm sorry I'm Iate.
-My sister Romaine.
She was a cIose friend of Matthew's.
Matthew reaIIy wanted
to get into poIiticaI affairs.
That was aII his big interest was,
watching CNN and MSNBC.
Those were the onIy TV stations
I ever saw his TV tuned in to.
So why did he move to laramie?
He toId me he was thinking about
going back to schooI.
So I toId him, ''Go to the University
of Wyoming, go to laramie.
''You can reaIIy find a home there.''
I was Matthew's academic advisor,
so I Knew him in a very specific context.
But I can tell you that Matthew
was very shy when he first came in...
...to the point of being somewhat mousy,
I'd aImost say.
But soon, his shyness began to give way
to this person...
...that was excited about this track
that he was going to embark on.
Whenever I think of Matthew,
I think of his...
...incredibIe beaming smiIe.
He'd waIk into a room and just be, Iike....
He'd smiIe at everyone.
He made you feeI great.
He was just starting to say:
''There are opportunities here.
There are things I can do in this worId.
''I can be important.''
I heard from Matt
about hours before the attack.
He toId me he'd just joined
the gay and Iesbian group on campus...
...and he was reaIIy enjoying it,
getting ready for Pride Week.
He was totaIIy stoked about schooI.
He was reaIIy happy being there.
I can only say this in retrospect, of course.
I think that's where he was headed,
towards human rights.
let me teII you something.
There's more gay peopIe in Wyoming
than meets the eye.
-I know for a fact.
I mean, they're not particuIarIy....
What do you caII the queens,
the gay peopIe, queens?
the run-around, faggot-type peopIe.
They're more Iike the ones who'II...
...throw a baIe of hay, jump on a horse,
brand them and kick ass.
Know what I'm saying? As I aIways say...
...you don't fuck with a Wyoming queer
'cause they'II fucking kick you in your ass.
-But that's not the point.
-What is the point?
PeopIe of Wyoming do not give a damn
one way or the other if you're gay...
...if you're straight, bisexuaI,
trisexuaI, it doesn't matter.
-That's what I just said. It doesn't matter.
I was the first out Iesbian
or gay facuIty member...
...and that's in (( .
That's not that Iong ago.
They asked me at the interview
what my husband did.
So I came out then.
When I first moved out here,
I knew it was gonna be hard as a gay man.
There wouId be times
when I wouId go to Denver...
...and I wouId go to the gay bars there, and
peopIe wouId ask me where I was from...
...and I wouId say, ''laramie, Wyoming.''
And I met so many men down there
So many gay men who grew up here
and they were Iike:
''This is not a pIace where I can Iive.
How can you Iive there? I had to get out.''
But every once in awhiIe, there'd be a guy:
''Gosh, I miss laramie.
''I mean, I reaIIy Iove it there.
That's where I want to Iive.''
And they'd get this starry-eyed Iook,
and I think...
...if that is where you wanna Iive, do it.
So I get into my office one day and
I have a message to caII this woman back.
So I caII her back and she goes,
''I hear you are a Iesbian.
''I hear you are one.'' And I'm Iike, ''uh-huh?''
She goes, ''I'm one, too.'' She wanted
to come over and meet me immediateIy.
She aIso warned me about the fact...
...that there's other Iesbians in this town
who wouId not be seen with me.
That just to be seen with me
wouId taint them irreparabIy.
That just to be seen with me
wouId be a big probIem.
I Iove this Iand.
...I reaIIy Iove this Iand.
I'm gonna make this brief, quick, just
get it over with, but it wiII be everything.
FactuaI, just the facts. : .
I punch in, my reguIar time for Tuesdays.
At : we're having karaoke night...
...so there's maybe or peopIe
That's when Matthew Shepard
comes in aIone, he comes in and...
...he sits right where you're sitting
right now, orders himseIf a Heineken.
So what can I teII you about Matt?
Taking care of me, as in tips.
Everything, he just offers conversation.
He comes in,
he's aIways dressed nice, cIean-cut.
Didn't seem to have any worries.
He wasn't waiting on anybody.
He just wanted to enjoy his drink
and the company around.
I guess it was maybe : or : .
That's when RusseII Henderson
and Aaron McKinney came in.
They come in, approach the bar,
they sit here and order a pitcher...
...and as you know, they pay for the thing
entireIy in dimes and quarters...
...which, Iet me teII you,
is something you just don't forget.
You don't forget something Iike that.
$ . in dimes and quarters?
It's a freaking nightmare
for a bartender.
Money meant nothing to Matthew
because he grew up with a lot of it.
He'd have handed over his waIIet
in a second...
...because money meant nothing to him.
I mean, his shoes might have
meant something, but....
They can say it was robbery
aII they want to, but I don't buy it.
Not even for an iota of a second.
look, when they came in,
Henderson and McKinney...
...to me, they didn't seem
to be intoxicated at aII.
They came in,
they order a pitcher of beer...
...they take it back there into the pooI area,
and they just kept to themseIves.
It was going on for haIf an hour...
...and then I noticed RusseII and Aaron
had been taIking with Matthew Shepard.
Some people are saying
he made a pass at them.
HeII, you don't pick up reguIar peopIe.
Aaron and I have been together
for two years.
Aaron said that a guy waIked up to him
and said he was gay...
...and wanted to get with him and Russ.
Aaron's reaIIy bad about that.
He doesn't Iike to be around gay peopIe
at aII, and neither does Russ.
They just don't Iike them at aII.
So he got aggravated with it
and said he was straight...
...and he didn't wanna have anything
to do with it, and he waIked off.
He said that's when him and Russ
went into the bathroom...
...and decided to pretend that they were
gay and get him in the truck and rob him.
They wanted to teach him a Iesson
not to come on to straight peopIe.
I'm not excusing their actions,
but it seems to be partiaIIy his fauIt...
...and partiaIIy the guys who did it,
so, you know...
...maybe it's - .
They stated that Matt came on to them,
that he approached them.
I absoIuteIy, positiveIy disbeIieve
and refute that statement percent.
I'II give you two reasons why.
One, character reference.
Why wouId he approach them? He wasn't
approaching anyone eIse in the bar.
Okay, they say he's gay,
that he was a fIaming gay.
He's gonna come on to peopIe Iike that.
BuIIshit! He never came on to me.
I mean, heIIo! Come on.
He's gonna approach these two guys?
And two, territoriaIism.
Matt was sitting there.
Aaron and RusseII were back there.
Upon their first interaction,
they were in Matt's area...
...the area that he had been
seen sitting aII night Iong.
So who approached who by that?
He'd never not talK to someone
for any reason.
If someone started taIking to him,
he'd just be Iike, ''BIah, bIah, bIah.''
He had no probIem just striking up
a conversation with anybody.
This is what I'm testifying to...
I'm the key eyewitness in the case.
BasicaIIy, I'm going to be testifying
that I saw Matthew Ieave.
I saw two individuaIs Ieave with Matthew
Shepard, and I didn't see their faces.
I saw the back of their heads. At this time,
McKinney and Henderson aren't around.
You do the math.
I'm not super familiar with that area...
...which now maKes me thinK that
God wanted me to find him.
I was going for a ride on my biKe...
...and I noticed something
just laying there by the fence.
I think it's a scarecrow.
HaIIoween's coming up.
I think it's a HaIIoween gag.
I even noticed his chest
moving up and down.
I stiII thought it was a dummy.
I thought it was some kind of mechanism.
But when I....
When I saw hair...
...I knew it was a human being.
So what'd you do?
I ran to the nearest house
as fast as I couId and caIIed the poIice.
The Sheriff's Department
held a news conference today.
They're investigating the attempted
murder of -year-old Matthew Shepard.
The Sheriff says
they found the man badly beaten...
tied to a fence last night.
The brutal attacK left
Matthew Shepard in a coma.
The bicyclist who found him
said he first thought it was a scarecrow.
In jail now, charged with the crime...
... -year-old Russell Henderson
and Aaron McKinney, of Kidnapping....
The victim, Matthew Shepard...
...is in very critical condition at this hour
in Poudre Valley Hospital.
The arraignment tooK place on Friday
More detaiIs about the case
had come out...
...Iike the fact that the perpetrators
themseIves were kids.
Kids, local Kids, that everyone who's from
around here has some relationship to.
So then a judge comes in
and does a reading of the facts.
The Defendants, Aaron James McKinney
and RusseII Arthur Henderson...
...met Matthew Shepard
at the Fireside Bar.
After Mr. Shepard confided he was gay...
...the subjects deceived Mr. Shepard...
...into Ieaving with them
in their vehicIe to a remote area.
En route to said Iocation, Mr. Shepard
was struck in the head with a pistoI...
...and upon arrivaI at said area...
...both subjects tied their victim
to a buck fence...
...robbed him, tortured him,
and continued to beat and terrorize him.
When I got to the fence,
I seen what appeared to be a young man...
... or years of age,
because he was so tiny, Iaying there...
...and he was bound
to the bottom of the poIe.
-What did you do?
-I did the best I couId.
He was covered in dried bIood
aII over his head.
The onIy pIace that
there wasn't any bIood...
...was what appeared to be where
he had been crying down his face.
...he did not Iook normaI.
I couId teII that he had
a very harsh head wound.
You expect these Kinds of injuries
...crashing down a hiII
in a car at miIes an hour.
You expect to see gross injuries
from something Iike that...
...this horrendous, terribIe thing.
But you don't expect to see someone
doing this to another person.
Both defendants were Iater
contacted by officers...
...from the laramie PoIice Department,
who observed inside their pickup...
...a credit card
and a pair of bIack patent-Ieather shoes...
...beIonging to the victim,
The thing that shocked me is,
it was a pristine crime scene.
How do you mean?
The tire tracks,
the impressions that the tire made...
...they were perfect
because of the sandy soiI.
And we found a carpet fragment
from inside the truck.
That wiII aIways shock me untiI this day.
In Wyoming, the wind's so strong...
...you usuaIIy never find something
Iike that at an exterior crime scene.
His hands were thumbs out,
what we caII the cuffing position.
It's how we handcuff peopIe.
He was tied with a reaI thin white rope...
...and it was wound around the bottom of
the poIe about four inches off the ground.
His shoes were missing.
He was tied extremeIy tight,
so I used my boot knife.
I tried to sIip it in there,
between the rope and his wrist.
I had to be extremeIy carefuI...
...so as not to harm Matthew any further.
I was yeIIing at him at the top
of my Iungs, ''Hey, wake up!''
just trying to get anything out of him.
He didn't move, he didn't flinch,
he didn't anything.
We roIIed him over onto his Ieft side.
When we did that, he stopped breathing.
I immediateIy got him back on his back.
And that was just enough
of an adjustment.
It gave me just enough room for me to
sIip my knife in there and to cut him free.
And then Rob drove the ambulance to
Ivinson Hospital's emergency room.
Once we saw Matthew, it was obvious
that his care was beyond our capabilities.
Phoned the neurosurgeon
over at Poudre VaIIey...
...and Matthew was on his way
in an hour and minutes, I think.
A coupIe of days Iater,
they showed me a picture of Matthew.
I wouId have never recognized him.
Said defendants Ieft the victim...
...tied to the fence, begging for his Iife.
You'd liKe to thinK
it was somebody from out of town...
...that's come through
and beaten up somebody.
But when you're seeing someone
who's been beaten...
...repeatedIy by someone
in our own town...
...now that certainIy offends us.
And that's a good word.
It offends us.
The defendants wiII remain in the custody
of the County Sheriff's Department...
...untiI dates can be set for their triaIs.
It was huge.
It was herds,
and we are taIking hundreds of reporters...
...which maKes a huge dent
in this town's population.
often caIIed ''the gem city of the pIains''...
...is now at the eye of the storm.
PeopIe wouId Iike to think
what happened is the exception....
There were reporters everywhere,
news trucKs in town, on campus...
...and we are not used to
that type of attention.
Aaron McKinney and RusseII Henderson
came from the poor side of town.
This smaII city that biIIs itseIf as...
...''Wyoming's hometown'' is wrestIing
with its attitudes towards gay men.
It's tough business,
as Matt Shepard Knew...
...and as all his friends Know,
to be gay in cowboy country.
And to get that kind of exposure under
such tragic circumstances...
...under circumstances that we hadn't even
wrapped our heads and hearts around....
The majority of peopIe here
are good peopIe.
You get bad appIes once in a whiIe.
Our citizens are not Iike that at aII.
You peopIe are making my son guiIty
before he's even had a triaI.
How can this happen?
I can't understand how someone
can even do something Iike that.
You have your own IifestyIe,
you shouId have it.
-It's pretty much Iive-and-Iet-Iive.
I am outraged and sickened by the heinous
crime committed on Matthew Shepard.
A young gay man is in a deep coma.
It's a crime that goes beyond despicabIe.
let it be known in the nation
this is not the University of Wyoming.
This is not what we're about.
Had this been a heterosexuaI,
this wouIdn't have made the news.
I don't think there's any probIem
gay peopIe deaI with here.
We had these guys in jaiI in Iess than
a day. I think that's pretty damn good.
Hundreds of people are urging Congress
to pass a federal law banning hate crimes.
I wouId Iike to urge the peopIe
of Wyoming against overreacting...
...in a way that gives one group
speciaI rights over others.
We wiII wait and see
if the vicious beating and torture...
...of Matthew Shepard
was motivated by hate.
Oh, my God.
Anybody eIse wanna do this?
Matthew Shepard was admitted
in criticaI condition...
...at approximateIy (: on October .
When he arrived, he was unresponsive
and breathing support was being provided.
Matthew's major injuries upon arrivaI
consisted of hypothermia...
...and of a fracture from behind his head...
...to just in front of the right ear.
This has caused bIeeding in the brain,
as weII as pressure on the brain.
Friday night the parents arrived...
...and I went and introduced myseIf
to Dennis and Judy.
It was awfuI. Those poor peopIe.
Matthew's temperature has fIuctuated
over the Iast hours...
...between ( and degrees.
We arranged a poIice escort
to bring them up.
We set them up
in one of our conference rooms...
...gave them food around the cIock,
gave them a pIace to stay.
The foIIowing is a statement from them.
''First of aII,
we want to thank the American pubIic...
''...for their kind thoughts about Matthew...
''...and their fond wishes
for his speedy recovery.
''We appreciate your prayers
and good wiII...
''...and we know that...
''...they are something that Matthew
wouId appreciate, too.''
I went up and said:
''You aII teII me what you want me to do
or what you want me to say...
''...or anything you need,
and we'II provide it for you.''
''We aIso have a speciaI request
for members of the media.
''We ask that you respect our privacy,
as weII as Matthew's...
''...so we can concentrate
aII of our efforts, thoughts...
''...and Iove on our son.
''Thank you very much.''
Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney
have pled not guilty...
...to the charges of Kidnapping,
...and attempted murder in the first degree.
Russell was just so sweet.
He's the one that was the Eagle Scout.
His whoIe presence was just quiet
and sweet. He was raised a Mormon.
He was active in that when he was
younger, as an eIder in the Church.
Of course it doesn't make sense to me.
I know peopIe snap and whatever...
...and Iike I said, it wasn't a reaI intimate
reIationship. I was just his IandIord.
I remember at the Christmas party...
...he was totally drunK out of his mind,
you Know, liKe we all were.
He wasn't beIIigerent. He didn't change.
His personaIity didn't change.
He was stiII the same IittIe meek RusseII.
Aaron was a good kid.
That's why I was shocked
when I heard this.
He had been living out with his girl.
They just started dating last summer.
They must have gotten pregnant as soon
as they started dating. They had a kid.
but he's running around with a kid.
When I first heard,
I thought it was reaIIy awfuI.
I don't know whether Aaron was fucked up
or coming down or what...
...but Matthew had money.
Shit, he had better cIothes than I did.
Matthew was a IittIe rich bitch.
You shouIdn't caII him that. It's not right.
I'm not saying he's a bad guy,
I'm just saying...
...he's in the wrong pIace at the
wrong time, he said the wrong thing.
Aaron was aIways dressing up big,
you know, big cIothes...
...Tommy HiIfiger, you know.
PoIo, Gucci, I don't know.
It probabIy pissed him off that Matthew
was gay, because he didn't Iike....
The gay peopIe I've seen him interact with
or that I've heard him taIk about...
...he was fine with
as Iong as they didn't hit on him...
...or as long as, you Know,
it didn't come up.
When I knew Aaron,
he was just a young kid.
He was trying to fit in, acting tough,
acting cooI. But you know what?
You couId get in his face about it...
...and he wouId back down
Iike he was some kind of scared kid.
If I saw Aaron right now, I'd just be Iike,
''Why did you fuck up Iike that?''
I wanna shake him, you know?
''What were you thinking?
What in the heII were you thinking?''
This is her.
How is he?
Can you hang on for a moment?
Mom, can you hang this up?
I'm gonna take it in there.
The part I wasn't telling you about before...
...is that Reggie FIuty is my daughter.
When she toId me she wanted
to be a poIice officer...
...I thought there was not
a better choice for her.
She couId handIe whatever came her way.
And then this happens.
That was the hospitaI.
Matthew Shepard is HIV positive, and...
...they said I've been exposed.
They said I've been exposed
to the AIDS virus.
Because I've been buiIding
the Iean-tos for the IIamas...
...and I have a bunch of open cuts
on my hands, and...
...I got his bIood on my hands.
How did you get it on your hands?
We have shit gIoves, you know,
and I kept putting them on and...
...you keep putting them on,
and they keep breaking, so...
...finaIIy, I ran out.
You touched him without gIoves?
You cannot Iet
a human being just sit there.
that's what goes through your mind.
Don't hesitate, aII the time.
So you just keep on moving,
and you take care of Matthew...
...and you try to find an open airway,
and that's what you do.
I wanted to Iash out at somebody.
Not Matthew, pIease understand that.
Not one of us was mad at Matthew.
We maybe wanted to squeeze
McKinney's head off.
And I think about Henderson....
You know, two absoIuteIy...
...human beings caused so much grief
for so many peopIe.
They wanna start me
on these AZT drugs immediateIy.
...if you start them within hours...
...maybe that can stop you
from getting the disease.
This has been just terribIe
for my whoIe famiIy...
...but mostIy for her and her kids.
Those drugs, the AZT drugs.
She throws up every day.
She cries so much,
she's afraid to touch her Kids.
I just hope she doesn't go before me.
No matter how you dice it,
I did have the opportunity.
If I had had amazing - hindsight...
...I had the opportunity to stop what
occurred that night. I couId have.
I should have Known these guys
shouldn't be talKing to him.
I shouIdn't have had my head down...
...whiIe I was washing dishes
for those seconds.
AII those IittIe things I couId've done,
and I couId've stopped this.
So what the heII was I thinking?
And I Keep seeing that picture in my head...
...of when I found him.
And it is not pleasant whatsoever.
I wanna get it out. I don't want it in there.
That's a big part of it for me,
having to see that picture...
...in my head. I just don't want it in there.
the first gay person I ever saw.
It's Kind of unbelievable to me that
I was the person that found him...
...because the big question
with my religion is:
Why did God want me to find him?
''Let your light shine
''In the darKness
''Before the dawn
''No more sorrow
''In the nighttime
''let it shine
''Oh, lord, Iet it shine''
Candlelight vigils were held
around the country last night.
Denver, Fort Collins, Detroit, Chicago...
...Washington DC, Atlanta....
All expressing hopes for
Matthew's full recovery.
I can't stop crying.
This is what I was trying to stop.
This is what I was trying to stop.
We must do more to deal...
...with violent bigotry, hate crimes....
I hope that in the grief of this moment
and in the shared outrage across America...
...Americans will once again
search their hearts...
...and do what they can to reduce
their own fear and anxiety...
...and anger at people who are different.
And I hope that Congress will pass
the hate crimes legislation.
I thinK the gay community
is taKing this as an advantage:
''This is a good time for us to expIoit this.''
They made it sound Iike
it was ten murders instead of one.
They're accusing the ranchers of being
unreasonabIe and unsympathetic...
...because of how he was--
And what his persuasions were.
WeII, he wouId certainIy
be weIcome in our home.
We'd visit, sit down, have a cup of coffee.
What did you think when you heard
two boys from your town did this?
I certainIy don't approve of homosexuaIs...
...but I don't think anybody has a right
to do what those two boys did.
Where do you think that comes from,
their hatred towards homosexuaIs?
I think what most peopIe fear
in the gay community...
...is that sexuaIity is
their number one concern.
Not many peopIe condone it--
When you wear it on your sIeeve
Iike a banner....
There's this whoIe idea,
''You Ieave me aIone, I Ieave you aIone.''
It's even in some of the western Iiterature.
''live and Iet Iive.''
That is such crap.
BasicaIIy, what it boiIs down to...
...if I don't teII you I'm a fag,
you won't beat the crap out of me.
What's so great about that?
That's a great phiIosophy?
I'll sit in church and the reverend
will tell you flat out...
...he does not agree
with homosexuality, right?
I don't feeI Iike I know enough
about certain things...
...just to be abIe to say
that homosexuaIity is right...
...when I've been raised my whoIe Iife
that homosexuaIity is wrong.
My parents brought me up CathoIic.
I was brought up
to Iove the sinner, hate the sin.
love the person for who they are,
but condemn them...
...for what they do. Condemn the IifestyIe.
I wouId have to say now
I don't agree with it.
I don't agree, and maybe that's just
because I couIdn't do it...
...but I don't hate them,
I won't persecute them.
I'm not gonna Iet this get in between
me and the other person at aII...
...or in between you and I.
Not at aII.
It's preached in schooIs
that being gay is okay.
If my kids asked me,
I'd set them down and I'd teII them:
''This is what gay peopIe do.''
''This is what animaIs do, okay?''
I'd teII them, ''This is the Iife.
This is the IifestyIe. This is what they do.''
And I'd say,
''This is why I beIieve it's wrong.''
Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!
In New YorK, the protests for
Matthew Shepard turned into a near riot.
PoIice on horses were pushing
into the crowds.
The whoIe worId is watching!
As of (: a.m. today, Matthew Shepard
remains in criticaI condition...
...with severe head injuries in the
surgicaI neuro intensive care unit.
As I toId you before,
it's not a IifestyIe with which I agree.
You stiII feeI that way?
The famiIy continues to emphasize...
...that the media respect their privacy.
The famiIy aIso wants to thank
the American pubIic...
...for their concern
and kind thoughts for Matthew.
We went to the candle vigil and...
...it was so good to be with people
who felt liKe shit.
I Kept feeling liKe
I don't deserve to feel this bad.
Somebody got up and said, ''Come on...
''...Iet's show the worId that laramie
is not this kind of a town.''
But it is this kind of a town.
If it wasn't, then why did this happen here?
I mean, that's a lie,
because it happened here.
So how could it not be a town
where this Kind of thing happens?
How can you even say that?
We have to mourn this, and
we have to be sad, but we Iive in a town...
...a state, a country
where shit Iike this happens.
PeopIe are trying to distance
themseIves from this crime...
...and we need to own this crime, I feeI.
Everyone needs to own it.
We are Iike this.
We are Iike this. We are Iike this.
Not having to deaI that much with
the gay community here in laramie...
...once we started working
into the case and actuaIIy...
...taIking to peopIe that were gay, reaIizing
what their underIying fears were...
...that's when it sort of hit home.
This is America.
You don't have the right to feeI that fear.
Do you think a Iot of peopIe
in laramie feeI the same way?
We're aIways gonna have peopIe
that hoId up the oId ideaIs...
...and I was probabIy one of them
But I'm not gonna put up with it anymore
or Iisten to it.
And if they don't Iike my views on it, fine.
The door goes both ways.
I've aIready Iost a coupIe of buddies,
but I don't care.
I feeI more comfortabIe...
...and I can sIeep at night now.
-I really wanna thanK you for having us.
-Sure, it's our pleasure.
this is a recent thing for us.
This reaIIy onIy happened since Matthew.
And there's a reIief
in that we finaIIy connected.
It's nice to see
there are a Iot of us in laramie.
Is everybody in the company gay?
No, just the three of us.
-Are you out?
I wasn't out before, actuaIIy.
But I thought, ''ProbabIy they aII know,
but I'm not gonna teII anyone.''
In the Iong run,
your seIf-esteem just becomes shit...
...and I just couIdn't Iive Iike that anymore.
A Iot of peopIe decided that
they didn't wanna hide anymore.
I stiII don't feeI that free to be out here.
No one's asking, I'm not teIIing.
I've aIways been out and I know
how to take care of myseIf, but...
...since the episode,
I've been irrationaIIy terrified...
...and what that means is, we don't Iet
our son waIk around at night aIone.
Every time I see a pickup truck do a U-turn,
I think it's coming after me...
...and I'm shaking so badIy,
I have to stop what I'm doing.
I think it's because...
we aII know it couId happen to us anytime.
Since our Iast medicaI update...
...Matthew Shepard has remained in
criticaI condition with severe head injuries.
As of today,
the hospitaI wiII no Ionger offer...
...medicaI updates on a scheduIed basis.
If Matthew's medicaI condition changes...
...we wiII issue a new medicaI update...
...and we wiII immediateIy contact as many
members of the media as is possibIe.
AII eyes are on laramie, Wyoming, today,
where many are turning their focus...
...to their homecoming parade...
...and the fortunes of the University
of Wyoming footbaII team.
This apartment has windows
on two opposite streets.
One goes north and the other goes south.
That is exactIy
the homecoming parade route.
On the day of the parade,
I had a cast on my Ieg because of a faII...
...and I was very disappointed because
I had heard that some students...
...were gonna be waIking
for Matthew Shepard...
...and I wanted to join them, but I couIdn't,
so I watched from that window.
It was just....
I'm years oId and I'm....
I've Iived here for many years
and I've seen a Iot.
And I was very moved
when I saw the tag...
...at the end of the homecoming parade.
It was just a group of people walKing
behind a banner for Matthew Shepard.
But the parade,
it went down to the end of the bIock...
...made a U-turn around the bIock...
...and I came to the other side
of my apartment...
...to watch for it to come south
down this street.
Maybe minutes went by.
And then I saw the most...
As the parade came down the street...
...the number of people marching
for Matthew Shepard...
...had grown, liKe, five times.
Can you imagine?
The tag at the end...
...was bigger than the entire parade.
I thought to myseIf:
''Thank God I got to see this
in my Iifetime.''
And my second thought was:
''Thank you, Matthew.''
I really haven't been
all that involved, per se.
My husband's a highway patroIman.
That's the onIy way I've known about it.
But when I first found out...
...I just thought it was horribIe.
Nobody deserves that.
I don't care who you are.
But I have to teII you,
the media's portraying him as a saint.
They're making him out as a martyr,
and I don't think he was.
Did you know him?
No, I didn't know him...
...but there's so many things...
...I found about him, it's just scary.
About his character, and...
...spreading AIDS, and a few other things.
You know, being....
About the kind of person he was.
He was just...
So, I think he...
...pushed himseIf on, around or,
I don't know. But I think he fIaunted it.
Another thing that wasn't brought out.
Same time that happened, that patroIman
was kiIIed and there was nothing.
They didn't say anything
about that oId man that kiIIed him.
He was driving down the road.
He shouIdn't have been driving
and he kiIIed him.
And there was just a IittIe piece.
And we Iost one of our guys.
You know, my husband worked with him.
This man was brand new on the force.
But, I mean, here's one of ours...
...and it was just a IittIe piece in the paper.
But this was such a deIiberate crime.
Everybody's got probIems.
But why they're exempIifying
Matthew Shepard, I don't know.
A hate crime is a hate crime.
You murder somebody, you hate them.
It has nothing to do if you're a gay
or a prostitute or....
I don't know.
I don't understand.
I don't understand.
November . We're about
to interview Father Roger Schmit.
Here we go.
Two queers and a Catholic priest.
...has served us weII.
You reaIize that? He has served us weII.
I cannot mention anyone...
...who has done more for this community
than Matthew Shepard.
And I'm not gonna sit here and say,
''I was just this boId guy, no fear.''
I was scared.
I was very vocaI in this community
when this happened...
...so I thought,
''ShouId we caII the Bishop...
''...and ask him permission to do the vigiI?''
And I was Iike:
''HeII, no, I'm not going to do that.
''His permission doesn't make it correct.''
And I'm not knocking bishops...
...but what is correct is correct.
You think vioIence is
what they did to Matthew?
They did do vioIence to Matthew.
But, you know....
Can I make this personaI?
Every time you are caIIed a fag...
...or you are caIIed a Iez or....
-Or a dyke.
-Dyke, yeah, dyke.
Do you reaIize that is vioIence?
That is the seed of vioIence.
I wouId resent it immenseIy
if you use anything I said to...
...somehow cuItivate that kind of vioIence.
WeII, thank you, Father, for saying that.
Just deaI with what is true.
You know what is true.
You need to do your best to say it correct.
These peopIe trust us, you know.
They want everyone to know
that they are not this crime.
And it's more than cIearing laramie's
name, it's cIearing their own, and...
...I don't know that we can do that.
I'm with the theatre company...
...that's been speaking with peopIe
here in laramie.
I see. WeII, Iet me teII you...
...I don't know that I reaIIy want to taIk
with anybody at aII about this incident.
I'm somewhat invoIved,
and I reaIIy don't feeI Iike it's appropriate.
I compIeteIy understand. I just wanted
to teII you, I went to your service.
-You went to the services?
-Yes, I did.
-Did I meet you?
You weIcomed us in the beginning.
I wiII teII you that I am invoIved.
HaIf the peopIe in the case....
The girIfriend of the accused
is a member of our congregation...
...and one of the accused has visited.
I think they deserve the death penaIty...
...but I wiII try
to deaI with them spirituaIIy.
As far as the victim...
...I know that that IifestyIe is IegaI,
but I wiII teII you one thing.
I hope Matthew Shepard...
...as he was tied to that fence...
...that he had time to refIect
on a moment when...
...somebody had spoken
the Word of the lord to him...
...and that before he sIipped into a coma...
...he had a chance to refIect on his IifestyIe.
Thank you, Reverend,
I appreciate your speaking with me.
AII right. We better go.
I Iet him say that to me.
I Iet him say that to me,
and I didn't say anything back.
At midnight, on Monday, October ...
...Matthew Shepard's bIood pressure
began to drop.
We immediateIy notified the famiIy,
who were aIready at the hospitaI.
At : a.m...
...Matthew Shepard died.
His famiIy was at his bedside.
The famiIy did reIease
the foIIowing statement.
They again asked me to express
their sincerest gratitude...
...to the entire worId...
...for the overwheIming response
to their son.
The famiIy was gratefuI
that they did not have to...
...make a decision regarding whether or
not to continue Iife support for their son.
''like a good son,
he was caring to the end...
''...and removed guiIt or stress
from the famiIy.
''He came into the worId premature...
''...and Ieft the worId premature.
''Matthew's mother said:
We'd been up for hours straight...
...and had gone home
and gone to sleep for half an hour...
...and get up and come,
maybe I was just way....
I don't Know.
WhiIe I was reading that statement,
I thought about my own four daughters.
She doesn't have her Kid anymore.
''' ...give your kids a hug...
'''...and don't Iet a day go by
without teIIing them that you Iove them.'''
And then we started getting people
sending us all these E-mails and letters.
''Do you cry Iike a baby on TV
for aII your patients, or just the faggots?''
After being thrown into this...
...I guess I didn't understand the magnitude
with which some peopIe hate.
And of aII the Ietters we got,
there were two or three Iike that.
''Thanks for your caring and compassion.''
Matthew got caring and compassion...
...from the moment he got here.
The charges against Russell Henderson
and Aaron McKinney...
...were upgraded to first-degree murder
after Matthew Shepard died on Monday.
the two men could face the death penalty.
I'II teII you what.
If they put those two boys to death...
...it wouId defeat everything
that Matt wouId be thinking about them.
Because he wouId not want
those two to die.
He'd wanna Ieave them with hope.
Just Iike the whoIe worId hoped...
...that Matt wouId survive, right?
This whoIe thing, you see what I'm saying,
this whoIe thing ropes around hope.
This whoIe thing, you see what I'm saying,
this whoIe thing ropes around hope.
On the day of the funeral,
it was snowing and raining so bad.
By the time I got there,
there were already thousands of people.
Dressed in blacK. Umbrellas everywhere.
They had two churches set up and still
there were hundreds of people outside...
...who couldn't fit inside.
They had this parK set up,
and the parK was full.
''Thou shaIt not Iie down
with mankind as with womankind.
''It is abomination.'' Matthew Shepard
Iived his Iife breaking that commandment!
If he repented in his dying hours,
we hope he did, if not...
...he is in HeII aIong with those kiIIers.
Do you beIieve in the BibIe?
You beIieve you're supposed to
separate the precious from the viIe?
You don't beIieve that part of the BibIe.
You stand there, ignorant of the fact....
After seeing Phelps
protesting at Matthew's funeral...
...and then hearing that he's coming back
to laramie for RusseII Henderson's triaI...
...I decided that someone needs to stand
toe-to-toe and show the difference.
Some peopIe are gonna be sent to HeII!
And I think you know who you are!
Nobody wouIdn't be here if this was just
a murder that the state was gonna handIe.
The state handIes hundreds of murders.
This murder is different
because the gays....
He's not even from Laramie.
He just travels around the country
doing these demonstrations.
So we're pIanning an event.
We're caIIing it ''AngeI Action.''
This -year-oId IittIe Iesbian
is gonna waIk the Iine with him.
You Iift up your voice Iike a trumpet...
...and you show my peopIe
We are sending the message of God!
God's anger is pure.
And God is gonna send someone to HeII!
That's God's anger!
Now, we wouIdn't be here....
Do you want your sons and daughters
to be taught by faggots...
...in your schooIs?
We're not gonna Iet that happen!
As soon as they started jury selection...
...everyone was coming into my shop with:
''I don't wanna be on this triaI.
I hope they don't caII me,'' or:
''Oh, my God, I got caIIed.
How do I get off?''
Just wanting to get as far away
from it as they could.
Very fearful that they were
gonna have to be part of that jury.
Then I heard
Henderson had to sit in the courtroom...
...while they questioned prospective jurors.
And one of the questions they asKed was:
''Would you be willing...
''...to put this person to death?''
And I understand a lot
of the comments were:
''Yes, I would.''
''Yep, no problem.''
Can you imagine hearing that?
Juror after juror...
These are people that he Knows.
No wonder he changed his pIea.
You entered a not guiIty pIea earIier,
But I understand you wish to change
your pIea today?
Do you understand that the recommended
sentence here is two Iife sentences?
And do you understand that those may
run concurrentIy or consecutiveIy?
Before the court makes that decision...
...I understand that there are statements
to be made by at Ieast one individuaI.
let's proceed with that.
As the grandmother
and the person who raised Russell...
...along with my family...
...we have written the foIIowing statement.
''Our hearts ache for the pain and suffering
that the Shepards have went through.
''We have prayed for your famiIy
since the very beginning.
''Many times throughout the day,
I have thought about Matt.
''You wiII continue to be in our thoughts
''...as we know that your pain
wiII never go away.
''You have showed such mercy
and we are so gratefuI...
''...that you are giving us
aII the opportunity to Iive.
''...we, as a famiIy...
''...hope that as you sentence RusseII...
''...that you wiII do it concurrentIy...
''...for two Iife terms.
''For the RusseII we know and Iove...
''...we humbIy pIead, Your Honor...
''...to not take RusseII
compIeteIy out of our Iives...
Mr. and Mrs. Shepard...
...there is not a moment
that goes by that I don't...
...see what happened that night.
I know what I did was very wrong...
...and I regret greatIy what I did.
You have my greatest sympathies
for what happened.
I hope that...
...one day, you wiII be abIe to find it
in your hearts to forgive me.
...this court does not beIieve that you
reaIIy feeI any true remorse...
...for your part in this matter.
And I wonder whether you fuIIy reaIize
the gravity of what you have done.
You drove the vehicIe that took
Matthew Shepard to his death.
You bound him to that fence...
...in order that he might be
more savageIy beaten...
...and in order that he might not escape
to teII his taIe.
You Ieft him out there for hours...
...perhaps having an opportunity
to save his Iife...
...perhaps having an opportunity
to save his Iife...
...and you did nothing.
As to count three,
that being feIony murder with robbery...
...you wiII serve a period of imprisonment
for the term of your naturaI Iife.
For count one...
...you wiII serve a period of imprisonment
for the term of your naturaI Iife.
Sentencing for count one to run
consecutive to sentencing for count three.
After the sentencing, the Mormon Church
decided to excommunicate Russell.
He's got a Mormon home teacher
that visits him in prison every week.
Nobody from the church
is gonna go visit him?
Not supposed to.
They're not supposed to pray for him.
He'II just sort of disappear.
What happened that night?
We need to know.
This town needs to Know.
I need some more Iight on them.
-I never get tired of this pIay.
-Try directing it times.
You can reIax, just keep the umbreIIas up.
I hear you're doing
Angels in America next year.
We have an obIigation
to reach our students...
...and the question is, how do you move....
How do you reach a whoIe state...
...where there is such
deep-seated hostiIity toward gays?
How do you reach them?
Angels in America is just the beginning.
And guess who's auditioning for the Iead?
My parents, right, they're Iike:
''So what pIays are they doing
in schooI this year?''
''let's see, Angels in America.''
''Angels in America? Isn't that that pIay?
''It's that scene?
''So you're gonna audition for this?''
And I said:
''Yeah, I am.''
Huge argument, right?
It was this huge argument,
and my mom says:
''You know, homosexuaIity is a sin.
HomosexuaIity is a sin.''
But the best thing
that I knew I had on them...
...was that they had just seen me...
...right before this, onstage in Macbeth.
I murdered this IittIe kid and lady MacDuff
and these two other guys, right?
I'm Iike, ''Mom....
''I just pIayed a murderer tonight,
''...didn't seem to have
any probIem with that.''
-So when's the audition?
I have never prepared myseIf
for an audition Iike this in my Iife.
Not even cIose.
what you're doing.
You get a Iot of heavy criticism.
You did everything wrong.
You're not supposed to touch anybody
without gIoves and protective gear.
Then they make you out
to be some kind of big hero.
Some Joe BIow down the bIock,
he couId have done a better job than I did.
PeopIe do extraordinary things every day.
I think this has reaIIy brought home
to my girIs...
...what their mom does for a Iiving.
Just a minute.
It's the decision of the
County's Attorney's Office...
...that this wiII be tried
as a death penaIty case.
That's aII I have for you now. Thank you.
How can I protest
if the Shepards want McKinney dead?
I just can't interfere in that.
But on a personaI IeveI,
I knew Aaron in grade schooI.
He wasn't caIIed Aaron. We caIIed him A.J.
How can we put A.J. McKinney to death?
I think right now
our most important teachers...
...must be RusseII Henderson
and Aaron McKinney.
They have to be our teachers.
How did you Iearn?
What did we do as a society
to teach you that?
I don't know if many peopIe
wiII Iet them be their teacher.
I think it wouId be wonderfuI
if the judge said:
''In addition to the sentence...
''...you must teII your story.
''You must teII your story.''
This is a tape recording of the confession
given by Aaron James McKinney...
...to me as detective in charge
of the investigation.
This confession was recorded
two days after the attack.
-So, you guys go to the Fireside, right?
Where do you go after you leave
Some Kid wanted a ride home.
What's he Iook Iike?
like a queer.
-He Iooks Iike a queer?
-Yeah, Iike a fag, you know?
Okay, so, how'd you meet him?
The fag? The queer guy?
We were meeting at the bar. He asked us
what we were drinking and doing.
So what happened after you met him?
He wanted a ride home, and...
...I just thought, ''The dude's drunK,
let's just taKe him home.''
When did you and Russ talK about
jacKing him up?
-We Kinda talKed about it at the bar.
-Tell me what happened next.
Drove him out past Wal Mart.
We got over there
and he starts grabbing my Ieg and...
...grabbing my genitaIs and...
...I was Iike, ''I'm not a fucking faggot.
If you touch me again, you're gonna get it.''
I don't know what the heII
he was trying to do...
...but I beat him up pretty bad.
I think I kiIIed him.
-What did you hit him with?
-I bIacked out.
My fist, my pistoI, the butt of the gun.
I wonder what happened to me.
I had a few beers and I don't know.
It's Iike I couId see what was going on.
It was Iike somebody eIse was doing it.
What was the first thing he said or did
that made you want to hit him?
He put his hand on my Ieg and...
...sIid his hand
Iike he was gonna grab my baIIs.
When that defense team argued that
McKinney did what he did...
...because Matthew made a pass at him...
...I just wanted to vomit...
...because that's Iike saying it's okay.
It was disgusting
and we were aII just disgusted.
It was disgusting
and we were aII just disgusted.
It was just rude,
and that was Iess than integrous behavior.
We were aII just disgusted
by that quaIity of defense.
It's Iike the Twinkie defense, when the guy
kiIIed Harvey MiIk and Moscone.
It's the same thing.
As much as a part of me didn't want
the defense saying that...
...it was a gay bashing or gay panic...
...a part of me was reaIIy gratefuI.
Because I was reaIIy afraid that
in this triaI they were gonna try...
...and say that it was a robbery,
or it was about drugs.
So when they used gay panic
as the defense...
...I thought, ''This is good...
''...because if nothing eIse,
the truth is gonna come out.
''The truth is gonna be told.''
About how many times
did you hit him in the trucK...
...before you guys stopped
where you Ieft him?
I'd say I hit him two or three times.
ProbabIy three times with my fists
and six times with the pistoI.
Did he ask you to stop?
Yeah, he was getting
the shit kicked out of him.
What did he say?
After he asked me to stop,
most aII he was doing was screaming.
Was Matthew conscious
whiIe RusseII was tying him to the fence?
I toId him, ''Turn around and don't Iook
at my Iicense pIate number''...
...because I was scared
he wouId teII the poIice.
And then I asked him
what my Iicense pIate said.
He read it and that's why I hit him
a few more times.
Just to be sure?
My secret hope was that they were
from somewhere else...
...that then you can create this distance.
We don't grow chiIdren Iike that here.
It's pretty cIear we do grow chiIdren
Iike that here.
So obviousIy you don't Iike gay peopIe?
-No, I don't.
-WouId you say you hate them?
No, I reaIIy don't hate them,
but when they start...
...coming on to me,
I get pretty aggravated.
So you've been approached
by gay peopIe before?
No, not reaIIy.
Did he threaten you?
-This gay dude?
Can you answer me one thing?
Why did you guys take his shoes?
I don't know.
I'm never gonna get to see my son again?
I don't know.
He's gonna die for sure?
There is no doubt that
Mr. Shepard is going to die.
So what are they gonna give me, to Iife?
Or the death penaIty
and just get it over with?
That's not our job.
That's the job of the judge and the jury.
The strange thing is, minutes
before Matthew was brought in...
...Aaron McKinney, one of the perpetrators,
was brought in by his girIfriend.
-Wait. McKinney was here?
I guess he went back into town Iater
that same night and got in a fight.
And so there's Aaron
on one bed in my ER...
...and just a few beds down is Matthew.
Then two days later,
I found out the connection.
Has the jury reached a verdict?
We have, Your Honor.
I was very...
They were two kids.
They were both my patients,
but they were two kids.
I took care of both of them,
took care of both their bodies...
...and I feIt a great deaI of compassion
for both of them.
We, the jury...
...impaneIed and sworn to try
the above-entitIed cause...
...after having weII
and truIy tried the matter...
...unanimousIy find as foIIows:
As to the charge of kidnapping...
...we find the defendant,
Aaron James McKinney...
As to the charge of feIony murder...
...we find the defendant,
Aaron James McKinney...
The jury returns to the courthouse today
to start considering the punishment...
...a phase of the trial that will probably last
until next weeK.
I am worKing with McKinney,
I don't think he can conceptuaIize...
...the gravity of something
Iike capitaI punishment...
...but I'm going to be praying
Iike the dickens tonight...
...that we don't have to go through
this next phase.
I don't know if you beIieve in prayer,
but wouId you do this for me?
WouId you just say, from time to time:
''lord, I Iift him up to you.''
Just do that for me.
Of course, Father.
The sentencing phase of McKinney's
triaI was to begin momentariIy.
However, now we're hearing
that Judy and Dennis Shepard...
...have been approached by the defense
team, who have pIed for their cIient's Iife.
We understand Mr. Shepard
may approach the court this morning.
''My son Matthew...
''...did not Iook Iike a winner.
''He was rather uncoordinated...
''...and wore braces from the age of
untiI the day he died.
''However, in his aII-too-brief Iife,
he proved that he was a winner.
''On October (( ...
''...my son tried to show the worId
that he couId win again.
''On October (( ...
''...my first-born son and my hero Iost.
''On October (( ...
''...my first-born son and my hero died...
''... days before his nd birthday.
''I keep wondering the same thing that
I did when I first saw him in the hospitaI.
''What wouId he have become?
''How couId he have changed
his piece of the worId to make it better?
''Matt officiaIIy died in a hospitaI
in Fort CoIIins, CoIorado.
''He actuaIIy died on the outskirts
''...tied to a fence.
''You, Mr. McKinney,
with your friend Mr. Henderson...
''...Ieft him there by himseIf...
''...but he was not aIone.
''There were his IifeIong friends with him...
''...friends that he had grown up with.
''You're probabIy wondering
who these friends were.
''First, he had the beautifuI night sky
and the same stars and moon...
''...we used to see through a teIescope.
''Then he had the dayIight
and the sun to shine on him.
''And through it aII...
''...he was breathing in the scent
of the pine trees from the Snowy Range.
''He heard the wind...
''...the ever-present Wyoming wind,
for the Iast time.
''He had one more friend with him.
''He had God.
''And I feeI better knowing he wasn't aIone.
''Matt's beating, hospitaIization, and
funeraI put worIdwide attention on hate.
''Good is coming out of eviI.
''PeopIe have said, 'Enough is enough.'
''I miss my son...
''...but I am proud to be abIe to say
that he was my son.
''Judy has been quoted
as being against the death penaIty.
''It has been stated that Matt was
against the death penaIty.
''Both of these statements are wrong.
''I, too, beIieve in the death penaIty.
''I wouId Iike nothing better
than to see you die, Mr. McKinney.
''However, this is the time
to begin the heaIing process...
''...to show mercy to someone
who refused to show any mercy.
''...I am going to grant you Iife...
''...as hard as it is to do so,
because of Matthew.
''Every time you ceIebrate Christmas...
''...a birthday, the Fourth of JuIy,
remember that Matt isn't.
''Every time you wake up
in your prison ceII...
''...remember you had the opportunity...
''...and the abiIity
to stop your actions that night.
''You robbed me of
something very precious...
''...and I wiII never forgive you for that.
''...I give you Iife...
''...in the memory of someone
who no Ionger Iives.
''May you have a Iong Iife...
''...and may you thank Matthew
every day for it.''
Thank you very much.
Mr. McKinney, you wiII be remanded...
...to the custody of the AIbany County
to the state penitentiary.
ladies and gentIemen,
that concIudes this matter.
I hope, when you think of this town,
you can see something besides a crime...
...and understand why we Iove it so much.
I'm just reaIIy gIad that it's over.
You know, I reaIIy am.
Testifying in this triaI has been one of
the hardest things I've had to do in my Iife.
I mean, don't get me wrong.
I Iove the stage, I'm a naturaI for it...
...but the actuaI testifying is reaIIy,
The Iawyers are asking you questions...
...so you have questions
that are coming at you in this avenue...
...but then you have to funneI them over
to the jury.
So you funneI them over there,
and what you end up with is....
you have a funneIing system.
After taking the ATZ for six months,
I was abIe to get a DNA test.
And it was...
...about a week Iater,
I found out that I was...
...negative for good.
-Wow. Thank God.
I teII you, we were aII on our knees
saying HaiI Marys.
Yeah, you're just so eIated.
We were reaIIy happy.
So what's the first thing she does?
I stuck my tongue right
in my husband's mouth.
-What about your daughters?
-The girIs, they just bawIed.
They were just so happy.
-And the force....
Yeah, we went out and got shit-faced.
I just kissed everybody
who came through that door.
-They don't need to know that.
-You know what?
If it was a maIe or a femaIe,
I kissed them on the Iips.
What part of what I just said
did you not understand?
Mom, I have aIready kissed them.
It's not clear to me,
having Known Matthew...
...what story he would want
told about this.
We won't fuIIy understand
what happened here...
...untiI time has had a chance
to fiIter that out for us.
What happened here,
the culture that caused this...
...the complex set of events
leading up to it...
...it wouId have been Iike
us trying to stop a tank.
Change is not an easy thing,
and I don't think peopIe were up to it.
They got what they wanted.
Those two boys got what they deserve,
and we Iook good now.
It's been over a year since
Matthew Shepard died...
...and they haven't passed shit in Wyoming.
They haven't passed it at a state IeveI...
...any town, anybody, anywhere...
...has passed any kind of Iaws.
or hate crime IegisIation...
...nobody has passed anything anywhere.
What's come out of it?
What's come out of it
that's concrete and Iasting?
''The dead wiII be commemorated
and wiII struggIe on with the Iiving...
''...and we are not going away.
''We won't die secret deaths anymore.
''The worId onIy spins forward.
''We will be citizens.
''The time has come.
Have you ever gone out to the fence?
I drove up to the site in my limousine...
...and I remembered something to myself
the night he and I drove around together.
He said, ''laramie sparkIes, doesn't it?''
And where he was in that spot up there...
...if you sit exactIy in that spot up there,
laramie sparkIes from there.
With the Iow-Iying cIouds...
...it's the bIue Iights bouncing off
the cIouds from the airport...
...and it goes...
...over the whoIe city.
...it bIows you away.
Matt was right there in that spot,
and I can just picture...
...in his eyes....
I can picture what he was seeing.
The last thing that he saw on this earth...
...was the sparKling lights
of Laramie, Wyoming.