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November 04, 1999 - Image 14

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-04

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14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 4, 1999

HIGHER EDUCATION

Defendant found
gult of murder

LARAMIE, Wyo. - A Wyoming
jury yesterday convicted Aaron James
McKinney of felony murder in last
year's beating death of gay University
of Wyoming student Matthew
Shepard, but acquitted him of a more
serious charge of premeditated mur-
der, a distinction that could indicate
enough sympathy to spare him the
death penalty.
The jury of seven men and five
women also found McKinney guilty of
kidnapping and aggravated robbery
and will begin a penalty phase of the
trial today in which they will sentence
him to death or to life in prison.
McKinney, a high school dropout
who was working as a roofer at the
time of the crime and who was
described by his defense attorneys as a
troubled young man addicted to
methamphetamines, showed little
emotion upon hearing the verdict yes-
terday morning. Standing with his
hands folded in front of him,
McKinney bit his lower lip and bowed
his head.
Dennis and Judy Shepard, the par-
ents of the murder victim, did not visi-
bly respond and said through a
spokesperson they would not com-
ment until the penalty phase is com-
pleted. Bill McKinney, the defendant's

father, also declined to comment.
The Albany County jury, which
deliberated for less than 10 hours,
apparently took to heart an argument
that McKinney's lead attorney ham-
mered home during closing arguments
Tuesday: that even though McKinney
beat Shepard severely with a .357
magnum pistol, he did not plan to kill
him. McKinney made that statement to
police in a confession after his arrest.
McKinney and codefendant Russell
Henderson posed as homosexuals to
lure Shepard from a tavern popular
with University of Wyoming students.
Shepard was driven a mile outside of
town, beaten in the head with a hand-
gun and tied to a fence. He was found
by passersby, battered with burn
marks on his body. He died three days
later.
Prosecutors said McKinney was the
mastermind of the attack. Henderson,
who pleaded guilty last April and is
serving a life sentence, said he didn't
participate in the beating.
The murder last October gained
nationwide publicity and spurred calls
by gay and lesbian activists for enact-
ment of tough anti-hate crime legisla-
tion nationally and in states such as
Wyoming that have no such laws. It
also galvanized gay advocacy groups

Ohio Stat
team susp
er op
By Isaac Eldridge
'1 .antcrn
COL j tUBUS, Ohio (U-WIRE) - #
Topless team pholographs have long
been a :radition for men's rugby teams.
but the Ohio State University women's 1
rugby team posing topless was a first. 1
In front o1' the Lincoln Memorial in
Washinton,. D.C. Saturday, the team 4
w.as photog ra phed by a photographer
from The Washington Post. ielve ofI
the 37 team members were topless.
Suspended ffrom practice and two 1
games, the team is still under scrutiny ,
from university officials. Since
Monday, the administration has been
considering possible repercussions,
said David Williams, vice president of
student affairs.
Rugby is a club sport at OSU, so the
team falls under the jurisdiction of
Student Affairs.
H-lead coach Jon Moore said the team
wants to present Williams with a plan
where only the girls who participated in
the photograph would be punished.
"The students understand that they
did somethingo that caused great harm
to the university, that's definitely clear,"
he said.
"They arc very willing to make up
for that and make amends." Moore said.
The photograph in question came
about when the team stopped in front of
the Lincoln Memorial to take a group
photo.
After the photograph was taken, a
few players took another shot with their

e rugby
ended
ass phot

w0

Dennis and Judy Shepard leave the Albany County Courthouse in Laramie,
Wyo. yesterday after a jury convicted Aaron McKinney of the murder last year
of their son, Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student.

shirts off while covering themselves
with their hands. The Post photograph-
er shot them putting their shirts back
on, Moore said.
According to the Post story which
ran in The Columbus Dispatch Monday,
the team had plans to market the photo-
graph on T-shirts that would be sold on
campus.
Moore said there was never any such'
plan.
"Let me assure you there was at ng
time any organized intent or plan by thC
club to produce, market or distribuWe
pictures, T-shirts, (or) calendars featur
ing unclothed OSU women's rugbh
players," Moore said.
Undergraduate Student Government
Senator Kevin Cope said people must
keep in mind that laws in Washington,
D.C., do not prohibit women from
being topless in public.
"I thought that their actions may hav4
been offensive to some, but it's impor-
tant to remember that they did nothing
illegal," Cope said.
Rob Coridan, a physics and comput-
er science major, said the whole issue
has been blown out of proportion.
"I don't think it was anything to
get this upset about. They didn't do
anything illegal. It was their right. I
mean if it was the men's rugby teavt
it wouldn't be an issue at all,,"
Coridan said.
Moore said that the picture was taken
quickly and that he thought nothing of
it at the time.

in the region, with some organizations
seeing huge jumps in membership in
the months after Shepard's death.
David Smith, a spokesperson for the
Human Rights Campaign - the
largest gay and lesbian activist organi-
zation in the nation - called the jury's
decision yesterday "a fair verdict, a just
verdict."
In finding McKinney guilty of

felony murder, Smith said, the jury
"repudiated the defense strategy of
trying to put Matthew Shepard on
trial" for being homosexual and insti-
gating the attack by making a sexual
advance on McKinney. "There's no
doubt in our minds that this was a hate
crime," Smith said. "This verdict
sends a message that these crimes
won't be tolerated."

The University Activities Center's
RUDE MECHANICALS present
Much Ado About Nothing
By William Shakespeare

r *1

The University Activities Center's Rude Mechanicals present
William Shakespeare's
Much Ado About Nothing
on November 5th and 6th at 8pm,
and November 7th at 2pm in the
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre.
Tickets are $8/$6 for students, and are available at the
Michigan Union Ticket Office (763-TKTS).

The University of Michigan
Department of Dermatology
is currently offering a new investigational
treatment for acne.
If you are male, between i1 and 35 years of age,
and in good general health, you may be eligible
to receive a new treatment for facial acne.
Office visits and medication are provided free of charge to eligible
participants. If you are in good general health and have acne, you may
be eligible. You may also receive up to $150 for your participation.
For more information, please call:
(734) 936-4070
.. University of Michigan
-- - Medical Center

I;

J

..r

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