Author Stephen Jimenez began researching Matthew Shepard's death 13-years ago because he wanted to write a screenplay based on the gay man's gruesome 1998 murder in Laramie, Colorado.
Jimenez's first of what would be many trips to Laramie was meant to "fill in color and details for a story" that Jimenez hoped would be an entertaining and engaging film. Instead, the author says he learned Aaron McKinney, one of the men convicted in Shepard's death, was a gay hustler who enjoyed sex with men. The author also claims that Shepard and McKinney knew each other well and were involved in Laramie's drug scene. Kirkus Reviews paraphrases his thesis: "[Shepard] was a troubled young man who had died because he had been involved with Laramie’s drug underworld rather than because he was gay."
According to Jimenez, the story we've heard — Shepard was beaten and tied to a fence by homophobic strangers, McKinney and Russell Henderson — was a "passion play and folktale" created by the media. So why didn't anyone hear about any of this before? Jimenez says the court records were sealed and he's the only one who's taken the time to dig deeper.
These are all dubious and startling claims, yes, but why not watch this video of Jimenez talking to Andrew Sullivan and The Dish team and judge for yourself?