After 20 years, Wyoming still struggles with Shepard murder

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — When two roofing workers beat a young gay man to death in Wyoming in 1998, the gruesome crime quickly reverberated around the U.S.

Matthew Shepard’s death turned the sandy-haired college student into a powerful symbol of the quest for acceptance and equal rights. But two decades later, the emotions stirred up by his slaying linger in Wyoming.

The state still struggles with its tarnished identity and resists changes sought by the LGBTQ community. As recently as Tuesday, days before the anniversary of Shepard’s death, about 200 people attended a forum in Laramie questioning the prevailing view that he was murdered because of his sexual orientation.

Shepard was 21 when he was bludgeoned, tied to a rail fence and left to die on the cold high prairie.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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