Documentary to revisit Matthew Shepard’s death 25 years later

A documentary is revisiting the murder of Matthew Shepard, who was killed 25 years ago this month.
A documentary is revisiting the murder of Matthew Shepard, who was killed 25 years ago this month.

A two-hour documentary set to premiere this month will recall the brutal murder of 21-year-old college student Matthew Shepard, whose tragic death in 1998 brought attention to anti-gay hate and led to the enactment of the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“The Matthew Shepard Story: An American Hate Crime,” scheduled to premiere on Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. EDT on Investigation Discovery (ID), will feature interviews with Shepard’s friends and allies, as well as journalists, celebrities, and members of the community, according to Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns ID. Adam Lambert, Andrew Rannells, and Rosie O’Donnell are among those who will be featured in the documentary.

The documentary will premiere three days before the 25th anniversary of the day Shepard died on Oct. 12, 1998. Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson abducted Shepard, brought him to a remote location in Laramie, Wyoming, tied him to a fence, and beat and assaulted him before fleeing and leaving him for 18 hours. A cyclist later found Shepard, who died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. McKinney and Henderson are serving life sentences.

In the aftermath of his death, Shepard’s parents, Dennis and Judy, established the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which is a non-profit that leads outreach, advocacy and resource programs and tells Shepard’s story to inspire people, organizations, and communities to embrace equality.

“Matthew’s story remains just as heart wrenching and relevant today as it was 25 years ago,” Jason Sarlanis, president, Turner Networks, ID & HLN, linear and streaming, said in a written statement. “This tragedy ignited an incredibly emotional and influential chapter in the fight against LGBTQ+ discrimination that brought great progress. By revisiting Matthew’s story, we hope to educate a whole new generation and underscore the power love and acceptance play in continuing the fight against violence and discrimination in all its forms.”

Watch a trailer below: