What Happened To The People Who Murdered Matthew Shepard?

Matthew Shepard’s death was a catalyst for a push toward adopting laws that protect members of the LGBTQ community. Shepard’s parents started the Matthew Shepard Foundation to honor their son and to help parents understand and accept their children who may be questioning their sexuality. The foundation also pushed for the passage of the United States’ first piece of federal hate crime legislation — the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act — which was signed into law in 2009.

According to Oxygen, Aaron McKinney has never displayed even an ounce of remorse for his crimes, even doubling down. In a 2009 interview quoted by The Denver Post, McKinney stated bluntly, “Matt Shepard needed killing,” adding, “As far as Matt is concerned, I don’t have any remorse. The night I did it, I did have hatred for homosexuals.”

However, his codefendant, Russell Henderson, has a different perspective on the heinous murder the two committed. “As tragic as it is, and as unfortunate as it is, and as hard as it is for Matthew’s family, and for my family, for all of us, to go through, it opened up all of us to be better people and really think about who we are,” Henderson told the Associated Press in 2018, 20 years after Shepard’s murder. “I think about Matthew every single day of my life. I think about him and every single one of those days that I’ve had that he hasn’t had, his family hasn’t had, his friends haven’t had. I’m so, so ashamed I was ever part of this.”

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