Matthew Shepard Is a Friend of Mine…by Marie Cartier


Matthew Shepard died October 12, 1998 – fifteen years ago.  This month I have already attended three events memorializing his death. The first was a screening of the Emmy-award winning teleplay The Matthew Shepard Story  (starring the amazing Stockard Channing as Judy Shepard), where I served as the moderator for an impassioned question and answer session for the monthly meeting of Comunidad, the Ministry of Gay and Lesbian Catholics group where I serve on the board at St. Matthew’s in Long Beach, CA.  I also recently attended two productions of Beyond the Fence produced by the South Coast Chorale, in which my friend Robin Mattocks performs. This musical created by Steve Davison and others moved me to tears several times—and I know and teach the story of Matthew Shepard every year at this time—I have already done so four times this month. I attended with a friend the first night and because I am a professor the director let me come to the Gala the next night where I met Matthew’s real life best friend Romaine Patterson. 

Author (L) at Beyond the Fence with Matthew Shepard’s best friend and panelist speaker, Romaine Patterson

Author (L) at Beyond the Fence with Matthew Shepard’s best friend and panelist speaker, Romaine Patterson

Romaine is described in the casting call for this show as “a 19 year old lesbian in a leather coat, fun loving, strong best friend (in other words—a butch dyke). Romaine was a featured panelist at the event. Romaine was also the one who created the “Angel Action” — the wall of angels which effectively blocked the Shepard family from having to walk by Fred Phelps and his band of religious homophobes at the trials of the murderers of Matthew. Phelps and his ilk held signs aloft with slogans such as “Matt dies! God laughs!” and “Fags burn in hell!”  The Angel Action activists wore wide white wings that extended, due to an ingenious construction, that created wings a few feet above the heads of the wearers (mostly Matthew’s college friends) and hid the protesters behind the wings of angels. The Angel Action launched in 1999 has been copied all over the world.

A basket of flowers hangs from the fence where Matthew Shepard was left to die. Photo: Steve Liss/Time & Life Pictures/Getty

A basket of flowers hangs from the fence where Matthew Shepard was left to die. Photo: Steve Liss/Time & Life Pictures/Getty

So, this story of Matthew Shepard  is not just a story for me (or for most people). It is also an event that happened, and helped shape our lives and our activism and our commitments to social change. It is an event we memorialize, and in so doing, re-commit to those promises we made back in 1998 when we chanted and marched and sang and lit candles—never, never again can this happen. Never again. I remember being in the street in West Hollywood walking with those lit candles in 1998—hoping against hope in those 5 days that Matthew Shepard lay in the hospital that somehow the killers did not do their worst—he would not die –this skinny 5’2” blonde boy who was apparently doing the amazing gay activism of working on National Coming Out Day in Wyoming. But I, along with the rest of the world, watched and waited—and Matthew died—a victim of hate—and brutal beatings that left him tied to a fence post for 18 hours and then in a hospital room for 5 days. The whole world waited and watched. And then Matt died. And we mourned and then we changed—we worked towards making anti-hate legislation include hatred against gays because of Matthew Shepard’s death. It was desperately sad and crazy-making and  revolutionary that it took this horrible event to finally say that hatred towards gays was a hate crime—and it took many years and lots of work for that to happen.  The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (lest we forget that that same year on June 7 a Black man was tied to the back of a truck and killed in Jasper, Texas and this death galvanized the hate crimes legislation as well.) passed on October 22, 2009 and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009 as a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 (H.R. 2647). The measure expanded the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

matthew shepard with braces photo- Matthew Shepard Foundation, photo by Gina Van Hoof

matthew shepard with braces photo-
Matthew Shepard Foundation, photo by Gina Van Hoof

But this year is an anniversary year of Matt’s death. It is the 15th year of his murder. And so this is the year that a new book has come out. Steve Jimenez, also a gay man, has written a book that says the murder of Matthew Shepard may not have been a hate crime because Matthew’s killers may have known him well—so well that maybe one of them was also a sometimes lover. Matthew may have been involved in drugs, specifically crystal meth  (not just pot smoking as has been documented previously). One might well ask, as I did, why is this book coming out at an anniversary year? Some say it sheds all the aforementioned “new light” on the case of Matthew Shepard. Some say it does not prove anything.

And so the questions begin—is the Matthew Shepard we thought we knew, the one we memorialized and mourned, the one who actually lived, or is he a fiction? Was he really that blonde skinny five foot two, 102 pound innocent or was he a meth dealing lost boy hanging around and having sex with dangerous folks —that’s what happens when you live like that—type of kid?  Because according to this new book Matthew is not the almost impossibly perfect poster child of gay rights–a gay white college boy working for gay rights activism who was slaughtered by two men and left to die—a crucifixion type death that took five days, 18 hours of which were spent on the cross.

It matters, right? What really happened, who Matt really was – right? I was there with the candles when I heard of his death, as were so so many others. And it matters to us—right?

The day after his death, I went to teach Gender Women’s Studies (then Women’s Studies) and I cried in front of my students and then sang to them because I didn’t know what else to do. So in 1998 I sang a 1975 Holly Near  song to my students, “It Could Have Been Me,” about the Kent State massacres and murder of Chilean poet Victor Jara. “And it could have been me, but instead it was you./ So I’ll keep doing the work you were doing as if I were two…/If you can live for freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom! …if you can live for freedom, I can, too.”

And I have continued to repeat that story and sing that song for fifteen years to different groups of students and to talk about activism and what it means and why it is important every October.

The story goes that the folk singer Victor Jara in 1973 had his fingers cut off…or were they broken…or were his hands cut off? …by the Chilean Junta Pinochet’s regime and the legend goes that he kept singing. Until they gunned him down. Are all the facts true? Some say yes.  Some say no and put energy into debating what parts are urban legend—were his fingers actually broken before they murdered him? Or were they cut off? Or was he “just” murdered?

At this point, you dear reader, as well as I, am asking—does it matter? Victor Jara was brutalized and murdered and his murder became a catalyst for change.  Matthew Shepard was brutalized and murdered and his murder became a catalyst for change.

Here is Victor Jara’s manifesto, and this is his perhaps his last poem, smuggled out of the stadium shortly before his death:

We are 5,000, here in this little corner of the city./How many are we in all the cities of the world?/ All of us, our eyes fixed on death./ How terrifying is the face of Fascism
For them, blood is a medal,/carnage is a heroic gesture.

Song, I cannot sing you well /When I must sing out of fear.
When I am dying of fright./When I find myself in these endless moments.
Where silence and cries are the echoes of my song.

facebook campaign image—2012

facebook campaign image—2012

There was a Facebook campaign last year with an image of Matthew—and the tagline “Matthew Shepard is a friend of mine,” riffing on the Facebook ‘friend’ concept. Matthew didn’t live to be an actual Facebook friend—or did he? He feels like my friend. He feels like an icon. He feels like my personal history as well as a story as well as…and like all of that I guess in the end it doesn’t matter to me if Matthew was angelic—because his death created angels. “Where silence and cries are the echoes of my song.” His mother created the awe inspiring Matthew Shepard Foundation, which has done so much amazing work for so long; she became the poster parent for many many parents who needed a poster parent and a symbol of why you should love your gay kids now—because it’s dangerous to be gay—love your kids now. They might not always be here.  “When silence and cries are the echoes of my song.” He became the reason for the creation of Romaine’s Angel Action. She told me the reason she created the action was because it wasn’t right that people like Phelps thought he had God on his side—and gay people didn’t. Creating the angel action said loud and clear—we have God on our side, too. “When silence and cries are the echoes of my song.”

Matthew Shepard was HIV positive; he was gang raped on a college trip in Morocco; he did use drugs—whether they were stronger than pot is not “officially” known—but that he was a pretty heavy pot smoker is well-known; he didn’t talk about his rape easily and it may have been the thing that led him into harder drugs and the thing that led him to date dangerous folks—one of whom may have forced him into unprotected sex which led to the HIV. He had a hard  life—this little angelic looking guy . Can he still be an angel…when silence and cries are the echoes of my song?

I think we probably all have “our Matts”—those gay folk that we know that struggle and are here—just barely. And their deaths, or their beatings, should all make national news and create social justice movements. But, they often don’t. I thank God and her angels for whatever configuration components that led to the sea change in gay activism that came after Matthew’s murder. The cultural capital afforded an upper class blonde college boy allowed the matrix of domination to shift towards allowing gay hate legislation to crack open the dominant paradigm and assign some legitimate language that hopefully can be used for all or “our Matts” who may not have, and usually do not have,  the cultural capital that Matt had.  That is the hope of the legislation.

angel action pic-- Angel Walk, Laramie, Wyoming, 1999. Romaine Patterson bringing up the rear with garland on her head

angel action pic–
Angel Walk, Laramie, Wyoming, 1999. Romaine Patterson bringing up the rear with garland on her head

However, yes, I have, as many of us have had, “our Matts”—and some of them have been incredibly close to me, close to my life. These are the ones people think—well, she/he is not heroic— sad, but not heroic. The person of whom might have been said, I wouldn’t build a movement around their death. After all– they were drug addicts, prostitutes, down on their luck, poor, and did dangerous stuff. Well– personally for me, if this new information about Matt proves to be true—“it doesn’t prove anything” for me in terms of changing the story of Matthew. We built a movement –when silence and cries were the echoes of our songs. It may be makes more sense to me—he was a gay guy in Wyoming in the 90s. And of course he was pre-the sea change of Matthew Shepard activism. How many of us know gay folks, or are gay folks, who barely escaped gay hate with our lives—or didn’t escape? Who live lives of quiet desperation? Who live lives of danger just because it’s so hard? Who are on drugs or are alcoholic because even today it seems like a bar is the only place to really be? Who knows closeted gay folks , like Matt’s killers, who lash out from their own internalized homophobia? Is any of this new information about Matthew Shepard new to gay folks? Or is it new because it’s about Matthew?

A recurring theme in Beyond the Fence was Matthew Shepard’s character continuing to say “I’m Matt,” referring to himself as the real person, the person who lived, not the icon who has died.  Maybe someday Matthew Shepard’s death will be “Our Matt’s” death—in celebration of all “our Matts” and not just Matthew Shepard, the icon. But the day the band stopped playing—around gay hate—is not here yet.

Steve Jiminez—Matt Shepard is a friend of mine, and I have his back…still.

Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style. Ms. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

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Categories: Activism, civil rights, General, LGBTQ

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14 replies

  1. Thank you for your post Marie. Your words here reminded me of a conversation I had with my students this week in my “Women and Christianity” class. We watched the film “The Burning Times,” about the persecution of witches. Powerfully, one woman in the film claims Joan of Arc as one of her witch sisters and a part of her history. When discussing this moment in class, one of my students expressed her discomfort with this naming/ claiming. She said that because Joan of Arc would not have identified as a witch or pagan that it didn’t seem right for this modern witch to talk about Joan of Arc as a witch.
    I found myself asking ‘does it matter’ if Joan wasn’t pagan or a goddess worshiper. Does the fact that she claimed her Christianity (like many victims of witch burnings) and attributed her authority and power to divine mandate change the fact that she was executed for wielding a power and wearing clothes that were deemed ‘inappropriate for her sex?’

    I think it is important that we remember, celebrate and mourn people in relationship to their legacy, as you suggest here. The change that Matthew helped to create is definitely a part of who he is. I love your assertion that perhaps, someday, the community might refer to ‘Our Matts.’ This is a powerful image.

    .

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    • thank you for your reply!! I totally agree…and I have used *the burning times* in my classes as well..:)…interesting…! yes, i agree the discussion can move so quickly to *exactly* how bad was it? how many people? etc. etc. and I agree those are valid questions but they often take us away from how horrific what happened is/was– and it begins to feel like splitting hairs instead of actually doing meaningful work. really appreciated your response.

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  2. Thank you, Marie, for your palpable passion! We WILL remember!

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  3. You are a phenomenal woman, thanks for caring enough to remind people of what Matthew endured and that he didn’t deserve such a tragic end to his life. He was a human being and I’m sure a great person, who had some horrific things befall him. Matthew did matter!!!! He has forever changed the world. God bless you Marie, I admire you a great deal and what you stand for.

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    • Though what I’m saying here is copy/paste, it must be repeated because Wayla, what you did was rehash what Metthew Wayne Shepard’s friend Romaine Patterson says & Romaine Patterson, Judy L. Shepard have made money off of his death. Metthew Wayne Shepard was a bad person and getting killed by 2 men doesn’t change that. I read Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez about Methew Wayne Shepard. The book discloses ugly truths of who the victim was-most of it old news such as him being a junky (old news), but the new information is that the victim was a drug dealer. Stephen Jimenez who is homose interviewed over 100 witnesses and found ugly truths about the victim. While Stephen Jimenez has a pro-homose bias and tried to be sympathetic to the victim, he wrote ugly truths including in Shepard’s family.

      -Metthew W. Shepard was himself a victim of child molestation and when Metthew W. Shepard was 15 years old, he was arrested for molesting 2 neighborhood 8 year old boys-M.W. Shepard got counseling for it.

      M.W. Shepard in August 1998 (2 months before his death) attempted indecent exposure on a Cody bartender and bartender defended himself by decking M.W. Shepard. The next day, M.W. Shepard falsely accused the bartender of homosexual gang rape. When medical tests disproved M.W. Shepard, the excuse Methew W. Shepard gave to cops was that he was drunk, had PTSD and could not remember. M.W. Shepard was also once banned from a bar after a drunk M.W. Shepard committed assault and battery on the bouncer by grabbing bouncer’s crotch against will. M.W. Shepard should have been arrested and convicted by jury for those 2 incidents.

      -M.W. Shepard knew his killer A.J. McKinney and there are witnesses who saw both of them together numerous almost a year before he was killed. M.W. Shepard had a secret life as a drug courier/dealer. You don’t always know the secrets friends and family have. If a person is a drug dealer, then they are usually not going to tell their friends and family that they do this. But for me, him being killed and why he was killed is a minor topic. While homose groups complain about Stephen Jimenez saying the murder case is complicated and possibly not a hate crime, I think that is incidental-main reason homose groups are offended by Stephen Jimenez’s book is because he talked about the ugly truths about who M.W. Shepard was.

      The weak criticism people make is that Stephen Jimenez interviewed drug dealers, junkies, and that he went into bars where drugs were sold, to learn about M.W. Shepard being a drug dealer. That is a weak criticism because that is who Stephen Jimenez would have to interview to learn this. M.W. Shepard being a junky is old news as he had told his friends such as Tina LaBrie about his drug problems and M.W. Shepard’s lover Tristan (Ted) Henson admits that M.W. Shepard used drugs and that he knew 1 of his killers. M.W. Shepard being a drug dealer was something he likely kept secret from his friends and family because honestly, if a person is selling drugs, they usually aren’t going to tell their friends and family that they commit this crime. Even if Metthew W. Shepard did tell his friends and family that he sold drugs, don’t think his family will admit this ugly truth about him, as they had tried to hide the fact that Methew Wayne Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling for it.

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  4. I read Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez about Methew Wayne Shepard. The book discloses ugly truths of who the victim was-most of it old news such as him being a junky (old news), but the new information is that the victim was a drug dealer. Stephen Jimenez who is homose interviewed over 100 witnesses and found ugly truths about the victim. While Stephen Jimenez has a pro-homose bias and tried to be sympathetic to the victim, he wrote ugly truths including in Shepard’s family.

    -Metthew W. Shepard was himself a victim of child molestation and when Metthew W. Shepard was 15 years old, he was arrested for molesting 2 neighborhood 8 year old boys-M.W. Shepard got counseling for it.

    M.W. Shepard in August 1998 (2 months before his death) attempted indecent exposure on a Cody bartender and bartender defended himself by decking M.W. Shepard. The next day, M.W. Shepard falsely accused the bartender of homosexual gang rape. When medical tests disproved M.W. Shepard, the excuse Methew W. Shepard gave to cops was that he was drunk, had PTSD and could not remember. M.W. Shepard was also once banned from a bar after a drunk M.W. Shepard committed assault and battery on the bouncer by grabbing bouncer’s crotch against will. M.W. Shepard should have been arrested and convicted by jury for those 2 incidents.

    -M.W. Shepard knew his killer A.J. McKinney and there are witnesses who saw both of them together numerous almost a year before he was killed. M.W. Shepard had a secret life as a drug courier/dealer. You don’t always know the secrets friends and family have. If a person is a drug dealer, then they are usually not going to tell their friends and family that they do this. But for me, him being killed and why he was killed is a minor topic. While homose groups complain about Stephen Jimenez saying the murder case is complicated and possibly not a hate crime, I think that is incidental-main reason homose groups are offended by Stephen Jimenez’s book is because he talked about the ugly truths about who M.W. Shepard was.

    The weak criticism people make is that Stephen Jimenez interviewed drug dealers, junkies, and that he went into bars where drugs were sold, to learn about M.W. Shepard being a drug dealer. That is a weak criticism because that is who Stephen Jimenez would have to interview to learn this. M.W. Shepard being a junky is old news as he had told his friends such as Tina LaBrie about his drug problems and M.W. Shepard’s lover Tristan (Ted) Henson admits that M.W. Shepard used drugs and that he knew 1 of his killers. M.W. Shepard being a drug dealer was something he likely kept secret from his friends and family because honestly, if a person is selling drugs, they usually aren’t going to tell their friends and family that they commit this crime. Even if Metthew W. Shepard did tell his friends and family that he sold drugs, don’t think his family will admit this ugly truth about him, as they had tried to hide the fact that Methew Wayne Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling for it.

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  5. Thanks for approving my post. I don’t know if you read Book of Matt but no replies so far.

    Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez Stephen Jimenez’s evidence are 1st party witnesses he interviewed-over 100 of them over 13 years. Those witnesses verified Methew Wayne Shepard’s a junky (old news), drug dealer and courier. There are bartenders who saw both AJ McKinney and Methew W. Shepard together, so this is verified information Methew W. Shepard was a drug junky and he went into bars where drugs were sold. Methew W. Shepard became a drug junky because antidepressants he was taking was not working and he mixed drugs-cocaine, Ecstasy and Meth with antidepressants. Methew W. Shepard had depression, PTSD and he mixed drugs with antidepressants. This is old news. Why could Methew W. Shepard have gotten involved in dealing drugs & or be a courier-$ problems-he bought them and when he had $ problems, he sold them & or was a courier-this is verified by witnesses who Stephen Jimenez interviewed. These witnesses are credible as they earn nothing saying this. Stephen Jimenez verified that Methew W. Shepard would use Doc O’Connor’s limousine services. Methew W. Shepard was living an extravagant life. His dad who is an engineer in Saudi Arabia could not have sent him enough $ to pay for it. Methew W. Shepard when he sees money problems with his drugs would likely sell some in order to make money.

    With the criticism about Stephen Jimenez writing a book to make money, Judy P. Shepard and M.W. Shepard’s friend Romaine Patterson both wrote books about him. The last 2 also had interest to make money and since they are his mom and friend, they are biased and bias meddles with facts. The Shepard Foundation is a propaganda group whose main interest is to push an agenda and to make money. Stephen Jimenez makes $ from his book, Judy P. Shepard, Shepard Foundation and Laramie Project making $ off the case. Stephen Jimenez incidentally mentioned in his book that M.W. Shepard had been molested by 3 different people including a distant relative. If Metthew.W. Shepard had not been a victim of repeated molestations, it’spossible M.W. Shepard would have turned out straight instead of gay. Any conduct can be learned including sexual conduct and M.W. Shepard suffering child molestation damaged his thinking and possibly caused him to behave sexually in ways he would not have had the molestation not happened. And again, Methew W. Shepard molested 2 neighborhood 8 year old boys when he was 15 years old and got counseling for it. Stephen Jimenez interviewed a relative of 1 of the boys who M.W. Shepard had molested.

    Stephen Jimenez in his book did go into irrelevant topics such as an unrelated murder trial in Wyoming where a teenage girl was murdered, an unrelated killing in Colorado, but what he said about M.W. Shepard is what he learned (though again most old news) after interviewing many witnesses. If Stephen Jimenez had been an FRC journalist, he would likely have been condemned as 1 of those Christians but Stephen Jimenez is a gay journalist. Stephen Jimenez’s sincerity is what is good about the Book of Matt. I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

    No, I don’t think M.W. Shepard should have been killed. But M.W. Shepard should have gone to prison for molesting the 2 neighborhood 8 year old boys when he was 15 years old in 1992, but again only got counseling for it. While gay groups complain about Stephen Jimenez saying the murder case is complicated, that is incidental-main reason gay groups are offended by Stephen Jimenez’s book is because he talked about the ugly truths about who M.W. Shepard was. Methew Wayne Shepard does not deserve hero worship. Romaine Patterson is a friend and biased. M.W. Shepard being a drug dealer was something he likely kept secret from his friends and family because honestly, if a person is selling drugs, they usually aren’t going to tell their friends and family that they commit this crime. Even if Metthew W. Shepard did tell his friends and family that he sold drugs, don’t think his family will admit this ugly truth about him, as they had tried to hide the fact that Methew Wayne Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling for it.

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  6. Again, my thanks to this site’s moderator for allowing my posts. I didn’t know if you would approve them (there was 1 post I wrote which you didn’t approve but it had only minor relation to this) as they tell ugly truths about Metthew Wayne Shepard but I am thankful for you allowing them. I have posted about this topic on different websites including now your site. When I have posted about this, I have gotten hostility even person attacks without people refuting me. But here is new information for you on this and hope you approve.

    I spoke on April 16, 2014 to Sheriff David S. O’Malley (who had investigated the 1998 Shepard murder) about Book of Matt and gave facts about Methew Wayne Shepard being a child molester and drug dealer. He predictably said Book of Matt should be called Book of Lies, that he did investigation & hung up on me without explaining why it should be called book of lies. He has no rebuttal. Chief O’Malley said he is offended by Stephen Jimenez’s book but he’s dishonest.

    Sheriff David S. O’Malley, Cop Regina S. Fluty and Sgt. Rob J. DeBree’s all have been portrayed in Laramie Project and Sheriff O’Malley is a friend of Judy L. Shepard. There’s a saying that it’s best for a Dr. to not to treat a friend or family member because when this happens, you’re more likely to make mistakes because you’re biased. With police, it’s best to not get involved in cases in which a friend or family member is a crime victim or crime suspect because you’re more likely to make mistakes as you’re biased. But their job as cops after they found M.W. Shepard’s coma body was to solve M.W. Shepard’s murder and they quickly found and arrested the 2 who did this. After that their job was to help prosecutors prove the 2 men guilty of murder which they did. Since M.W. Shepard is dead, he can not be arrested and prosecuted for any crimes he committed. I don’t believe the 2 cops investigated whether Methew W. Shepard was a drug dealer because there was no need to because he is dead and can’t be punished for it. When they talk of Methew W. Shepard, they should only talk of the murder case & not Shepard’s past before that October day as they didn’t know he was until the murder.

    Sheriff David S. O’Malley, Regina S. Fluty and Sgt. Robert J. DeBree know as cops or former cops that you don’t always know the secrets a person has. All know that most criminals try to keep their crimes secret esp. from friends and family as they don’t want to be caught. Many times when it’s discovered a person is a child molester, it’s friends and family who get surprised because a child molester is unlikely to admit that they commit this crime to their friends and family. Sheriff David S. O’Malley and Sgt. Robert J. DeBree in their lives have arrested drug dealers and they know how it’s the family and friends who get surprised after they learned some1 they know is a drug dealer.

    I don’t think Sheriff David S. O’Malley and Sgt. Robert J. DeBree are honest criticizing Stephen Jimenez as bias is meddling with facts especially again as Sheriff O’Malley is a friend of Judy Lynn Shepard. Sheriff David S. O’Malley and Sgt. Robert J. DeBree know that it’s unlikely MW. Shepard told his friends and family that he was a drug dealer, because both have seen many times as cops as how criminals usually keep their crimes a secret esp. from their friends and family. Even if Methew W. Shepard did tell his friends and family that he sold drugs, don’t think his family will admit this ugly truth as they had tried to hide the fact that Methew Wayne Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling for it. Both Sheriff David S. O’Malley and Sgt. R.J. DeBree know as cops that they don’t always catch all the criminals. Stephen Jimenez to repeat interviewed over 100 witnesses and he did a 13 year investigation. He went into bars, interviewed drug dealers, junkies and they verified that both A.J. McKinney and M.W. Shepard knew eachother and that M.W. Shepard had a secret life as a drug dealer/courier.

    Again, Sheriff O’Malley and Sgt. DeBree interest in October 1998 was to solve the homicide and to help prosecutor Mr. Rerucha prove the 2 men gulity of murder. I don’t think Sheriff David S. O’Malley, Sgt. Robert J. DeBree and any1 else in the Albany County Sheriff’s Dept. investigated M.W. Shepard’s background because there was no need to. Sheriff David S. O’Malley and Sgt. R.J. DeBree’s critique sounds like they are dishonest, delusional or both esp. again as Sheriff f O’Malley is a friend of Judy L. Shepard and Chief O’Malley, Reggie S. Fluty and Sgt. DeBree are portrayed in Laramie Project.

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  7. Never forget Matthew. RIP :'(

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