June 27, 2004 in Nation/World

Shepard killer loses appeal of life sentence

Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – One of two men convicted of murdering gay college student Matthew Shepard lost a bid Friday to have his life sentence reduced.

District Judge Jeffrey A. Donnell rejected Russell Henderson’s contention that he was denied effective legal assistance during trial. He argued that his court-appointed lawyers were ineffective because they did not discuss potential appeals.

Henderson and Aaron McKinney kidnapped Shepard in October 1998 and tied him to a fence outside Laramie, where he was pistol-whipped, robbed and abandoned. The 21-year-old University of Wyoming freshman died five days later.

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