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I want to date a Mckinney boy

By Kelli Smith.

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Four people were gunned down in a house in McKinney, Texas on March 12, The incident received notable national coverage on the July 22, episode of America's Most Wantedleading to the capture of a suspect. Javier Cortez allegedly had been watching Barbosa and believed that she took cash home from the business every day. One of the men then shot and killed Barbosa. He died the following day.

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We're not gay, and we're going to jack you up. The original service, amid snow flurries in the family's hometown of Casper, Wyoming, on 16 Octoberwas picketed by an anti-gay preacher from Kansas. The whir and warble of dial-up internet was beginning to be heard in homes around the country. His family have mixed feelings about his secular sainthood.

Matthew shepard: the murder that changed america

But activists say their battle for equality is not over. Shepard was studying political science and dreamed of working as a diplomat for the Department of State. A collection of his personal effects - donated by his family - has just gone on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in the US capital.

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Yet in another statement to police, he said Shepard simply looked like he was about to grope McKinney. He died five days after the attack. Albany County Sheriff Dave O'Malley, who was lead investigator in the case, says: "McKinney's own statement said he and Russell went into the bathroom at the Fireside bar and they planned to act like they were gay to try to gain Matthew's confidence.

She recalls that as a boy Matt always asked her: "Do you think I'll be famous someday? When Westboro Baptist Church returned as Henderson pleaded guilty in AprilShepard's friends were not prepared to let them steal the limelight again. President Bill Clinton condemned the attackers as "full of hatred or full of fear or both". James Byrd Jr, a black man, was murdered in Texas in June by three white supremacists who dragged him behind a pick-up truck. And uh, um, and then this happened. But he couldn't persuade them to him for a beer afterwards.

During a police confession, he said he began to attack Shepard because the student had put his hand on his leg during the car ride. Judy points out that her son was not found on the fence in a crucifixion pose, as was wrongly reported at the time. He would remain tied to the fence for 18 hours in the frigid cold. The cause has made a quantum leap in the last two decades in America.

Sheriff O'Malley says the student was "struck in the head and face between 19 and 21 times with the butt of a very large Smith and Wesson revolver". At i want to date a Mckinney boy, McKinney's lawyers argued that Shepard had made their client fly into a rage by touching his leg. Osborn recalls the minister and his flock saying: "You're a disgrace. McKinney began to ferociously pistol-whip their captive. On Friday, his remains were interred at Washington National Cathedral, spiritual home of the nation.

Another counter-protester, Nichol Bondurant, says she could literally feel Phelps' breath on the back of her neck. His parents rushed to the Colorado hospital from Saudi Arabia, where Dennis Shepard worked as an oil rig inspector. The president had two months earlier admitted an affair with a White House intern. Self-proclaimed "Antichrist Superstar" Marilyn Manson had just topped the album charts. But at his office in the city of Cheyenne, McKinney trial lawyer Dion Custis maintains it was a robbery gone bad, even while he accepts sexual orientation was a factor.

But it was clamped shut. Two days after Shepard passed away, tearful politicians and celebrities gathered on the steps of the US Capitol to address a vigil of thousands. The former crime scene is still a windswept field studded with cacti and criss-crossed by antelope spoor.

Their son never regained consciousness. Tubes everywhere enabling his body to stay alive. Dubbed the angel action, it was replicated two years ago in Orlando, Florida, when Westboro Baptist Church tried to disrupt the funerals of gay people killed in a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub.

Swat teams were positioned at the front and back of the building, police snipers on surrounding rooftops. Two nights earlier, on Tuesday 6 OctoberMatthew Shepard walked alone into a dive bar in Laramie. Today the buck fence where Shepard was bound and bludgeoned is long gone.

Shepard's murder stoked the perception of Cowboy Country and flyover states in general as a danger zone for gay people. The court proceedings are also remembered for a counter-protest that is commemorated by a mural in Laramie, just a few blocks from where it unfolded. Few back then could imagine - least of all Shepard's parents - that people would still be talking about him today.

At the Fireside Lounge, the year-old somehow ended up chatting to two roofing workers, Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney, both the same age as him. From the jailhouse after his arrest, McKinney reportedly wrote to another inmate's wife: "Being a verry [sic] drunk homofobick [sic] I flipped out and began to pistol whip the fag with my gun, ready at hand. The pair saw an easy mark in the 5ft 2in, slightly built student.

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As well as a crushed brain stem, Shepard suffered four skull fractures from the blows of McKinney's. The couple remember how they shrugged it off when he came out to them as a teenager, since they had already guessed.

McKinney and Henderson stole their victim's patent leather shoes and left him to die. Reverend Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church and his flock, who included children, held placards daubed with homophobic slurs and shouted to mourners that the dead student was burning in hell. However, McKinney's own gay-bashing rhetoric damns him in the eyes of many.

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The couple have kept their son's urn of ashes at home until now, partly out of concern any memorial might be desecrated. The Columbine school massacre was seven months away. But the judge dismissed this "gay panic" claim.

As Matthew Shepard's ashes are interred in the nation's spiritual home, those who knew him reflect on his remarkable legacy. The manner of his killing - the New York Times likened it to the Western custom of nailing a dead coyote to a fence to ward off intruders - detonated national outrage.

Wyoming - which has almost as many pronghorn antelope as people half a million or so residents - is a rural, conservative heartland. Standing at the spot now, the former patrol officer recalls: "Matt was on his back with his arms behind him. We can smell the whiff of brimstone about you. His respirations were far and few between. Shepard was gang-raped there by some locals.

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When their son died, same-sex marriage was banned in every US state. Matthew Shepard died as a cultural age of innocence - some would say blissful ignorance - was coming to a close for America's millennials.

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The death of a gay student, tortured and tied to a prairie fence in Wyoming two decades ago, shocked America. Such a legal strategy - where criminal defendants in cases of violent assault argue they were provoked by an unwanted same-sex sexual advance - is still admissible in all but three US states, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Sheriff O'Malley rejects any attempt to downplay the anti-gay element in the murder. Henderson used a clothesline to tie Shepard to a log fence. You could see his braces, so of course it's Matt.

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The dead student's family set up the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which helped expand federal hate crime law to include offences motivated by sexual orientation, gender or disability. Neither would agree to interview requests, said the Wyoming Department of Corrections.

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His school work, theatre scripts, photos and sandals are among the exhibits. The killers would tell police they planned to lure Shepard into McKinney's pick-up truck so they could rob him. His mother says: "We just felt like he was finally coming around to being himself again.

Elton John penned a song, American Triangle, comparing the slaying to a deer run down by two coyotes. It is a momentous honour not even accorded to another prominent gay martyr, Harvey Milk, the San Francisco politician assassinated in She predicted Friday's ceremony would probably be more emotional for her than the funeral because she felt so "numb" immediately after her son's death.

She remembers trying to revive him, saying: "Baby boy, I'm here kiddo, you're going to be OK, hang in there, don't give up, come on, you can do this. They drove about a mile out of town down a dirt path that ended in a rocky prairie of sagebrush and range grass.

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But there's nothing to indicate this is the site of a deadly assault that changed America. They believe he would be uncomfortable with his consecration as some sort of "perfect icon". McKinney said he replied: "Guess what? Shepard now rests in the crypt of the neo-Gothic edifice, alongside the likes of former President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, the pioneering deaf-blind academic, and George Dewey, the 19th Century naval officer for whom the rank of admiral of the navy was created. At the time of his death, Judy says, he was just putting his life back together after being sexually assaulted on a high school trip to Morocco.

Dennis Shepard, 69, remembers law enforcement making him wear a bullet-proof vest to step outside the Episcopal church, which had been scoured by bomb-sniffing dogs. Judy says: "This is a huge relief to us to know that he'll be safe and protected forever.

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Fluty - now 57 and retired - attempted to open Shepard's mouth to clear his airway. The following evening a teenager fell off his mountain bike and noticed nearby what he thought was a fallen scarecrow or Halloween costume. That's how Judy and Dennis Shepard knew it was their son in the hospital bed.

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Shepard's death would go on to inspire plays, a musical and poetry. Wearing outfits made of white sheets, duct tape and PVC piping, they stood in front of Phelps and his congregants, turning the other cheek to their bigotry. Both killers are serving two consecutive life terms for kidnapping and murder.

The openly gay University of Wyoming freshman had just met up with friends to plan LGBT awareness week on the town's campus.