Fifteen years after Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence and beaten to death in Wyoming, becoming a powerful symbol for the gay community's fight for hate crimes legislation, a new book claims the college student was murdered for “reasons far more complicated” than being homosexual.
Stephen Jimenez’s “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard” claims a 13-year investigation — including trips to Laramie, Wyo., and interviews with more than 100 sources — contradicts police testimony and national consensus that the University of Wyoming freshman was targeted by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson in 1998 because he was gay.
“His aim was to write a screenplay on what he, and the rest of the nation, believed to be an open-and-shut case of bigoted violence,” reads a press release accompanying the 368-page book, which hits shelves Tuesday. “As a gay man, he felt an added moral imperative to tell Matthew’s story. But what Jimenez eventually found in Wyoming was a tangled web of secrets.”
“As a gay man, he felt an added moral imperative to tell Matthew’s story. But what Jimenez eventually found in Wyoming was a tangled web of secrets.”
- The Book of Matt: Hidden Things About the Murder of Matthew Shepard
Billed as a book sure to inspire dialogue, Jimenez claims his efforts to clearly explain the “misunderstood” crime led him to twenty states and Washington, D.C., as well as into the “deadly underworld of drug trafficking,” according to the press release.
“Who was the real Matthew Shepard and what were the true circumstances of his brutal murder? And now that he was larger than life, did anyone care?”
Shepard, 21, died five days after the gruesome attack.
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