Matthew Shepard was a cautious individual, but not, as it turned out, cautious enough. According to Laramie police, on the evening of October 6 the 21-year-old University of Wyoming student was befriended by two high school dropouts--Russell Henderson, 21, and Aaron McKinney, 22--at an off-campus hangout. Claiming that they were fellow gays, the two men lured Shepard into joining them for a ride. Shortly thereafter they started taking turns beating Shepard on the head with a revolver. They then drove him to the outskirts of town, tied him to a wooden ranch fence and proceeded to beat and torture him into a comatose state, finally abandoning him to the cold. The two cyclists who found the slightly built Shepard 18 hours later at first thought he was a scarecrow. He died October 12, never having regained consciousness.
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