NEW YORK, November 12, 2004 ( – The 1998 Matthew Shepard murder, portrayed as a hate crime because Shepard was homosexual, was in fact a bungled robbery and not motivated by hate, according to an ABC 20/20 investigation.

Shepard’s murder set in motion a drive to promulgate new laws to protect homosexuals from discrimination, including the so-called hate crimes laws Bill C-250 in Canada, and a similar proposed law in the US. 20/20 interviewed the killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell A. Henderson for their exposé, which alleged that the two had made a bargain with the court that they would not speak to the media in exchange for an agreement sparing them the death penalty. However, Henderson’s lawyer has contacted and stated that only McKinley made the bargain. They are both serving consecutive double life sentences. Shepard was a college student beaten to death by McKinney and Henderson in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. “The murder of Matthew Shepard was and is a heinous and vicious crime,” ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told the New York Post. “Exploring and re-examining the facts around that murder in a very thoughtful and in-depth way is the very essence of responsible journalism. This new information in no way diminishes the importance of the national conversation that took place after Matthew Shepard’s murder.” The segment is scheduled to air Nov. 26. See related coverage: Homosexual Hate Crime Signed into Law; Chilling Effect on Free Speech, Religion and Importing Materials Homosexual Murderer Should Be Charged With ‘Hate Crime’, Group Says Homosexual Hate Crime Bill Pushed in US by ‘formerly’ conservative Republican Hatch tv