October 7 - 1998 - Matthew Shepard is Found Beaten and Tied to a Fence
Matthew Shepard was so lifeless and beat up when he was found that the cyclist that had seen him initially thought he was a scarecrow. Shepard's attackers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, were already in police custody for getting into a fight after beating Shepard. Matthew Shepard would die five days later. Instantly, it became the most famous anti-gay hate crime in American history, with McKinney's own lawyer using a "gay panic defense," saying that McKinney was temporarily driven crazy when Shepard hit on him. Although an argument about drugs or robbery as motivation has been made more recently, Matthew Shepard's homosexuality clearly played a role in the circumstances of his death.