North Carolina Rep: Matthew Shepard Incident Was a “Hoax”

Ken AshfordLocal Interest, Sex/Morality/Family Values1 Comment

You will recall that Matthew Shepard was the young gay man in Laramie, Wyoming who, a decade ago, was tied to a fence, Jesus-like, pistol whipped in the head some 50 times, then left for dead in the cold fall night, only to be found a day later clinging to life. Shepard died five days later.

Here is what this state's Republican representative, Virginia Foxx, had to say about Shepard's horrific murder:

If you didn't vote for this bill — against this bill and against this rule for anything else, you could vote against it because we are spending additional money. I also would like to point out that there was a bill — the hate crimes bill that's called the Matthew Shepard bill is named afte a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. it wasn't because he was gay. this — the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.

Now read what really happened:

During the trial, Chastity Pasley and Kristen Price (the pair's then-girlfriends) testified under oath that Henderson and McKinney both plotted beforehand to rob a gay man. McKinney and Henderson then went to the Fireside Lounge and selected Shepard as their target. McKinney alleged that Shepard asked them for a ride home. After befriending him, they took him to a remote area of Laramie where they robbed him, beat him severely (media reports often contained the graphic account of the pistol whipping and his smashed skull), and tied him to a fence with a rope from McKinney's truck. Shepard begged for his life. Both girlfriends also testified that neither McKinney nor Henderson was under the influence of drugs at the time. The beating was so severe that the only areas on Shepard's face that were not covered in blood were those where his tears had washed the blood stains away.

This is why Virginia Foxx was Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World".  And here's the "Hardball" takedown:

UPDATE:  Foxx released a statement today, backtracking from her earlier statement (sort of), attributing it as "a poor choice of words":

"It has come to my attention that some people have been led to believe that I think the terrible crimes that led to Matthew Shepard's death in 1998 were a hoax," she said. "The term "hoax" was a poor choice of words used in the discussion of the hate crimes bill. Mr. Shepard's death was nothing less than a tragedy and those responsible for his death certainly deserved the punishment they received.

"The larger context of my remarks is important. I was referring to a 2004 ABC 20/20 report on Mr. Shepard's death. The 20/20 report questioned the motivation of those responsible for Mr. Shepard's death. Referencing this media account may have been a mistake, but if so it was a mistake based on what I believed were reliable accounts."

So she apologizes for the use of the word "hoax", but (apparently) stands by her belief that the death of Matthew Shepard was not gay-hatred motivated.

As for the "2004 ABC 20/20 report"?  Well, that was a report where three people claimed that the killing of Matt Shepard was not out of gay hatred.  Those three people were: (1)  James McKinney (one of Shepard's killers); (2) Russell Henderson (the other killer); and (3) Kristen Price (McKinney's girlfriend). 

Kristen Price is an interesting witness.  At the trail, Kristen Price had a different story: she testified under oath that the boys intended to rob a gay man.  And then there was Price's first interview with 20/20 in 1998, in which she said (of McKinney and Henderson's attack): "They just wanted to beat him bad enough to teach him a lesson, not to come on to straight people, and don’t be aggressive about it anymore."

So what are the "reliable accounts" that Foxx believes?  The two killers (model citizens, them) and the girlfriend who changes stories all the time.

Nuff said.

P.S.  When Foxx said those remarks on the House floor, Matthew Shepard's mother was sitting in the gallery (PDF).


D'OH!!!!!:  I am corrected in the comments that Ginny Foxx is in the House, not the Senate!!!