Aaron McKinney, found guilty for the murder of Matthew Shepard,avoided the death penalty. Shepards lawyer agreed to a deal thatMcKinneys lawyer proposed giving Aaron McKinney life imprisonmentAaron McKinney, a 21 year-old drop out and drug dealer, beat openlygay college student Matthew Shepard and left him to die on the prairie. Russel Henderson, the first to be convicted for the murder of MatthewShepard, pleaded guilty earlier this year. McKinnery was convicted onNovember 6th of this year for murder, aggravated robbery and kidnappingfor luring Shepard from a local bar, robbing him of twenty dollars,lashing him to a fence and cracking his skull with blows from a pistol. McKinney was sentenced to life in prison without parole and promisingnever to appeal his convictions.Order now
I would like nothing better than to seeyou die, Mr. McKinney, but now is the time to begin the healingprocess. Shepards father, Dennis, said in court. Investigators stated thatthe main motive was robbery, but because Shepard was gay he wassingled out. McKinneys lawyer argued that McKinney snapped during adrunken-drug induced rage after a sexual advance by Shepard triggeredmemories of a childhood homosexual assault.
Information from pastarticles on this case have shown that McKinneys lawyer tried to use agay-panic defense stating that it was the action of Shepards sexualadvance that triggered his actions and not because of the fact that Shepardwas gay. The gay-panic defense was shot down by District JudgeThe father of the murdered stated that this was a hate-crime, pureand simple, with the added ingredient of robbery. He also askedCongress to pass a stronger hate-crime law. The statements by Shepards father shows how hate-crime trials effect the administration of justice because it shows how there is a greater need for harsher penaltiesconnected with hate-crimes. It could make the administration think andask the question: Should hate-crime offenders have stricter penalties toface? Questions like this could slow down the trial system making theexpenses of the trial rise.
This case could also have a strong effect on oursocieties. Cases like this could make people more confident in judicialsystem, knowing that people who commit hate-crimes will get harshsentences. It could also show the criminals in our societies how harsh thepenalties for a hate-crime can be, maybe persuading them not to committhese crimes at all. A case like this could also make people more scaredbecause of the fact that there are these kind of people out there that willcommit these kinds of serious crimes.
Homosexuals in our societies canalso look at this case as a step forward, showing that a gay-panic orhomosexual-panic defense will not be an excuse for committing aThere are many insights that I have gained by studying this case. Thefirst being the gay-panic issue. I have learned that today in many states andcourts will not accept this defense as an excuse for an assault or murder. Another insight that I have learned is how the prosecutor and the defense canmake deals so the criminal will get a less serious punishment. I have learnedhow this case can effect the administration of justice and the people in oursocieties in many ways shapes and forms. Bibliography:Shepards killer to go to prison.
Times Union 5 Nov. 1999: A3. .