1. Statement from University of Wyoming President

2. Statement from Associated Students of the University of Wyoming

3. BRANDING IRON (University of Wyoming) Four suspects charged in attempted murder case

4. BRANDING IRON Dubois speaks on Shepard attack

5. BRANDING IRON Friends dispute Shepard's openness on sexuality

6. BRANDING IRON Campus reaction to Shepard hate crime strong

7. BRANDING IRON Student reaction sparks petition for hate-crimes law

8. BRANDING IRON Organizationís president still plans Gay Awareness week

9. BRANDING IRON Media storms UW campus


We are shocked and saddened by the assault upon one of our students. The nature of this incident is abhorrent and is not reflective of the values of our University population or the Laramie community. Our first concern is with Matthew's family, and of course we will extend to them whatever support and assistance we can offer to help them deal with this terrible situation.

Although this deplorable incident happened off campus and apparently has nothing to do with the fact that Matthew is a student, we know that the entire campus community is concerned for his welfare and the well-being of his family.

We at UW will, of course, extend to law enforcement personnel whatever support and assistance we can offer.

Again, our main concern right now is for Matthew and his family, and our prayers go out to them.

Associated Students of the University of Wyoming, October 9, 1998
Our Reaction to the Matthew Shepard Tragedy

We, the members of the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming, and the entire student population, are deeply saddened whenever one of our fellow classmates is involved in a tragedy such as this which has occurred to Matthew Shepard.

Of course, our main concern is with Matthew's family and we will help them in whatever support and assistance we can offer to help them cope with this terrible situation.

We do not believe that this incident is reflective of the behavior of our UW population or of the citizens of Laramie. UW students are always concerned when one of our own students is victimized in any way. Our prayers and thoughts go out to Matthew and his family.

Here is a list of events planned in the wake of this tragedy:

St. Paul's Newman Center, located at 19th & Grand, is holding a vigil at 7:00 PM on the front lawn of the Center.

There will be a moment of silence at the Homecoming Sing and Football Game.

Anyone is encouraged to march in the Homecoming Parade in support of Matthew and his family.

The United Multicultural Center is making armbands in support of Matthew and his family.

If you have further comments or suggestions, send us your thoughts.

Branding Iron, October 9, 1998
(University of Wyoming student newspaper), Laramie, WY
Lead story of 7 in special report
Web page displays color picture of Matthew Shepard
Four suspects charged in attempted murder case
By Jay O'Brien, BI correspondent

The Albany County courthouse was packed when three of the four suspects were arraigned Oct. 9 in connection with the attempted murder of a UW student in an apparent hate crime attack.

Since the Oct. 8 press conference a fourth suspect has been arrested.

Charges were officially filed against Russell Arthur Henderson, 21, Chastity Vera Pasley, 20, and Aaron James McKinney, 22. Henderson and McKinney, the most recently apprehended, have been charged with three felony counts of kidnapping, aggravated robbery and attempted first degree murder of Matthew Shepard, and Pasley and Kristen Leann Price have been charged with accessory after the fact to attempted first degree murder.

Shepard and Pasley are both UW students.

Albany County Judge Robert Castor read the list of charges which include attempted first degree murder.

Reading from court documents, Castor said Shepard was "struck in the head with a pistol," and the suspects allegedly "beat him, while he begged for his life."

Walt Boulden, a friend of Shepard, said after the Oct. 8 press conference, "My understanding was that the perpetrators led him to believe they were gay, and he said that he was."

Jim D. Osborn, the adviser of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender Association (LGBTA), said, "It was a hate crime, he was beaten for no other reason than he was gay."

Albany County Sheriff Gary Puls said Shepard was found by two bicyclists on Snowy Mountain View Road Oct. 7 at 6:22 p.m., hanging from a buck fence, beaten and unconscious.

Shepard is unconscious and in critical condition at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo.

A release from Poudre Valley Hospital said Shepard remains on a ventilator.

"If [Shepard] does pass away it will be first degree murder," Puls said Oct. 8.

A credit card and patten-leather [sic] shoes, which belonged to Shepard, were found in a pick-up along with the a .357 magnum covered with blood. The pick-up belonged to McKinney's father. Shepard's wallet was also found hidden in McKinney's house, according to court documents Castor read.

Henderson and McKinney both could face life in prison for the attempted murder, 20 years to life in prison for kidnapping and five to 25 years for aggravated robbery. If Shepard were to die, the suspects could be given life in prison or the death penalty if convicted of murder in the first degree.

Pasley's bond was set at $30,000, and Henderson and McKinney's bonds have been set at $100,000 each.

Henderson and McKinney will appear in court Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. for a preliminary hearing, and Pasley, who waived her arraignment, will appear in court Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. No comment was given in regard to the conditions of Price's legal position.

Osbourn said the "incident comes as a great shock," LGBTA is continuing the next week's Gay Awareness Week activities.

"I do not want to turn Matt into a martyr," he said. "I respect him too much for that."

Branding Iron, October 9, 1998
Dubois speaks on Shepard attack
By Sarah Jordan, BI correspondent

Throughout the nation, people are shocked and outraged by the recent hate crimes against Matthew Shepard. On the University of Wyoming campus, students and faculty walked around slightly preoccupied on Friday. They were followed by television cameras from all over the country.

"As a father, I was most saddened," UW President Philip Dubois said in a press conference Friday. "We are always concerned about the safety of our children."

Dubois also said there are no similar attacks on record.

The response of the rest of the university community has been intense.

At the same press conference, Jim D. Osborn, President of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-Gendered Association (LGBTA), gave a speech expressing concerns about Shepard's well-being and the great loss felt by the group. A friend of Shepard's who requested anonymity said that Shepard embraced love and peace. Several people in the crowd cried, and a few women carried "no hate" signs throughout the conference.

University programs extolling sensitivity and diversity are in the works.

Shepard was a first-semester political science major, having previously attended Casper College. Pasley was a second-year freshman majoring in art. None of the other accused were students.

Dubois said, "There was nothing the school could have or should have done," to prevent this crime.

"(The crime was) not reflective of the values of our university population or the Laramie community... Our first concern is with Matthew's family."

Branding Iron, October 9, 1998
Friends dispute Shepard's openness on sexuality
By Eric Rohr, BI staff writer

The media's portrayal of UW student Matt Shepard as being openly gay is simply not accurate as far as his long-time friend Walter Boulden is concerned.

Shepard, a 22-year-old UW student, is on life support at Poudre Valley Hospital, after attackers left him beaten and tied spread eagle to a buck fence outside of Laramie City limits in an apparent hate crime.

"Matt wasn't openly gay," Boulden said. "He didn't tell people in his class he was gay. He was the kind of guy who would just walk into a room and people would think he was gay just because he was slightly built, rather feminine."

Although he wasn't open about his sexuality, Boulden said, "He certainly didn't try to hide it if somebody asked him directly."

Shepard had been to the Fireside Lounge in Laramie on the night of the incident. Suspects Russell Hendersen and Aaron McKinney apparently led Shepard to believe they were gay, and Shepard said he was as well. The two allegedly persuaded Shepard to leave with them in their car.

"I didn't notice any confrontation, and there wasn't enough people to not notice," said Matt Galloway, bartender at the Fireside the night of the incident.

But Boulden said Shepard was "not the kind of person who goes to bars and tries to pick people up. Matt absolutely did not do one night stands 'cause of this stuff.

"He likes meeting other gay people, so he could talk about the experience and the struggle," Boulden said.

"Matt is an incredible human being," said Jim D. Osborn, president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Association. "He smiles every time you see him. I've never seen him without a smile on his face. He can lighten your day in two minutes."

Shepard, born and raised in Casper, Wyo., attended Natrona County High School, until his sophomore year, when his parents moved to Saudi Arabia because of his father's employment with an oil company. He finished his high school career in Switzerland and spent time on the East coast and in Denver before deciding to attend University of Wyoming.

"Just last week he was talking about how glad he was that he had made the decision he made, that he was incredibly comfortable here, felt safe for the first time," Boulden said.

Shepard's parents knew of his sexual orientation, but "I don't know how accepting they are of it, and I think that's been an issue between them, and I think it's something they're really going to struggle with," Boulden said.

Shepard's parents were in Saudi Arabia at the time of the attack and are expected to arrive in Colorado tonight.

Branding Iron (University of Wyoming student newspaper), Laramie, Wyo.,
Oct. 9, 1998
Campus reaction to Shepard hate crime strong
By Lara Azar, Branding Iron correspondent

An attack that took place in Laramie this week leave many to wonder if hate crimes still exist. Matt Shepard, a 22-year-old University of Wyoming student was found beaten into a coma and left tied to a fence to die. He remains in the hospital in critical condition. The brutal crime leaves the campus and community shocked and appalled.

"You think growing up in Wyoming you're immune," said Jennifer Zakotnik, a UW junior. "You know you're not going to be affected by things like this, but you are."

Others are less surprised.

"I think in all places, regardless of where you are, hate crimes are going to exist -- even in Wyoming," said Kris Williams, a junior. "It's unfortunate, and we're not even sheltered by that. Hopefully it'll force the students to take a strong look at each other, a strong look at where they stand on a lot of things, what they represent and really open up some issues on what the students of the University of Wyoming feel. Sometimes we are not the most politically active school."

Ryan McCoy, a senior, agrees. "It's not all that surprising because hate is everywhere. Attempted murder is pretty good to get them on, but that's disgusting."

Although not surprised, many students are saddened and frightened by the attack.

Tracee Wagner, a senior, said, "I was in theater with him (in high school) and he always had a very broad outlook on everything. The whole thing is ridiculous."

"It could happen to anyone," said Dan Woolcott, a senior. "I could be accused of being (gay) and beaten to death."

"We are deeply saddened when one of our students is involved in something like this," said Stephanie Olson, vice-president of the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming.

Additional reporting done by Shannon Rexroat, Branding Iron editor-in- chief.

Branding Iron, October 9, 1998
Student reaction sparks petition
By Eric Jordan, BI Staff Writer

Less than two days after Matthew Shephard, a 22-year-old political science major was found brutally beaten and tied to a fence, response in the Laramie area has been resounding.

A petition was composed asking Governor Jim Geringer, State Senate Judiciary Chairman April Brimmer Kuntz, and State Representative Kathryn Sessions to form a commission to investigate the beating of Shephard and to take legislative steps to secure a passage of a new Wyoming state law to deter such hate crimes in the future.

Those wishing to sign the petition via the Internet can go to and find the petition in the "Civil Rights and Minority Issues" category. The service hosting the petition, E-the People, also allows the send the petition to 10 friends and acquaintances.

A gathering to show support for the beating and to gain community awareness will be held during the homecoming parade. Organized by Carlie Laucomer, helpers are calling people and hoping it will snowball in order to gain more than 100 supporters. The gathering will meet in Prexie's Pasture at 8 p.m., and will begin their parade route at 8:30 at 15th and Willet streets.

"We want to make the community realize that there are people out there who do care and are mad about what happened because it was a hate crime because he was gay," Laucomer said.

Branding Iron, October 9, 1998
Organizationís president still plans Gay Awareness week
By Eric Rohr, BI Staff writer

Though the brutal attack on UW student Matthew Shepard has put a damper on next week's Gay Awareness Week, Jim D. Osborn, 23, president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gendered Association, said all events are still scheduled.

"At this point we are planning to continue our activities," Osborn said. "We are looking into the possibility of a vigil later in the week. Whether or not that will happen this week, nothing is set in stone.

"The timing could not have been any more awkward," Osborn said.

Osborn said he received support from the university and the community, as well as on a national level. Despite the first reaction of fear felt by LGBTA members, the group has now developed feelings of anger and disgust, as well as the urge for awareness. "There seems to be a definite impetus in the community and the university right now that this needs to be addressed. This is not something that can be ignored or pushed under the rug," Osborn said.

Even though the attack falls on the horizon of Gay Awareness week, Osborn said he would like to believe the incident is purely coincidental but could not be sure. "I certainly cannot get in the mind of the assailants," he said.

"I think it's probably an isolated incident," Osborn said. "It is not the first assault that has occurred in Laramie, unfortunately. I do not believe that it will be the last simply because this happens no matter where you are."

Branding Iron, October 9, 1998
Media storms UW campus
By Julie A. Corzine, BI Correspondent

The recent assault of Matthew Shepard has startled attention in the national media.

Jim Kearns, manager for the University of Wyoming News Service, said they have been "dealing with the universities' response to this." He also said the news service has been contacted by all the major television networks, various news magazines and some of the television news magazines.

Kearns said that most news services were calling to confirm the identities of the suspects and the victim, as well as their affiliation to campus, if any.

Natalia Devan with K-2 in Cheyenne, an NBC affiliate covering the story, said of the incident, "It's probably one of the bigger stories not because someone got hurt but because it's a hate crime."

In the past 24 hours the story has made news throughout the country.

"People in Denver heard about it this morning and [there are] just shock waves through Denver," said Irene O'Connor, a reporter with WB-2 News in Denver. "We came up to cover it because it's something people in Denver are concerned about. They care about it."

"It's student involved and the interest is the gay connection," said Ed Andrieski, a photographer with the Denver Office of the Associated Press, about the interest in the story. "Everybody in the world is interested. It seems slow in the news world it seems like and people want other things in their newspaper beside Clinton."


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