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Federal Court Rejects Appeal From Matthew Shepard Killer


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Federal Court Rejects Appeal From Matthew Shepard Killer

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

February 22, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(Cheyenne, Wyoming) A federal judge has refused to grant a review to the case of Russell Henderson, one of two men convicted in the slaying of Matthew Shepard.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer rejected Henderson's motion for a writ of habeas corpus. A state district court and the Wyoming Supreme Court previously rejected Henderson's motion.

Attorney, Tim Newcomb, argued that Henderson (pictured) was never told he could appeal the two consecutive life sentences he received under a plea agreement.

Newcomb argued that by not informing Henderson of his right to appeal he was effectively denied his right to appellate counsel.

The second man convicted of Shepard's murder, Aaron McKinney, also is serving two life sentences for the killing.

During their trial the court heard that Henderson and McKinney, both 21 at the time, kidnapped, pistol-whipped, robbed and left Shepard tied to a fence outside Laramie in October 1998. The 21-year-old University of Wyoming student died five days later at a hospital from massive head injuries.

The trial was told that the pair targeted Shepard solely because he was gay.

Shepard's murder led to the award winning play The Laramie Project

Since the murder Shepard's mother, Judy Shepard, has been an outspoken advocate of including gays and lesbians under hate crime laws across the country.

Legislation to include gays, lesbians and the transgendered under federal law has passed the House but the Senate has yet to act. The Senate version does not provide protections for the transgendered.

©365Gay.com 2006

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