Jack Cashill writes of the recently passed hate-crimes bill in his Oct. 29 WorldNetDaily column:
Consider the case of the bill's namesake, Matthew Shepard. As the media told and retold the story, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, two "homophobic" desperados, killed the helpless gay Wyoming University student in a fit of "gay panic."
Although Hollywood would turn out at least three TV movies about the "crucifixion" of Shepard, two of which premiered in the week before Easter 2002, the homophobic story line did not match the Wyoming reality.
Best evidence now suggests that McKinney, the actual killer, had previously expressed no homophobic sentiments.
Actually, the reason why the media reported that Shepard was killed in a "gay panic" is because, as we detailed, McKinney used the "gay panic" defense at his trial. And, according to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, during his in-custody interview after his arrest, McKinney gave "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence."
We're not sure what "best evidence" Cashill is relying on -- perhaps McKinney's revisionist account from 2004. But by trusting McKinney, Cashill is trusting a documented liar and convicted killer.
Cashill then sought to excuse the killers' actions:
Of course, McKinney and Henderson were not products of Christian culture, but of its antithesis: a crude, soulless, fatherless, sexually libertine, drug-addled, pop culture.
Henderson was born to a teenage alcoholic mother and grew up without a father. McKinney's parents were divorced. Both were beaten by the "boyfriends" who inhabited their mothers' lives.
On the night in question, McKinney pistol-whipped Henderson when he tried to intervene in the beating of Shepard.
Had Shepard not emerged as gay poster child, Henderson would likely have served a few years for manslaughter or as accessory to murder.
Instead, he had to plead to two consecutive life sentences to avoid the death penalty, a sentence to which the anti-death penalty crowd raised no known objection.
Cashill seems to be giving Henderson a pass because he (feebly) tried to stop McKinney. But Cashill ignores the full details of what Henderson did. From a 1999 New York Times account of Henderson's guilty plea:
''Aaron McKinney, he pulled out a gun and told Matthew Shepard to give him his wallet,'' continued Mr. Henderson, who said that while he drove, his friend beat Mr. Shepard. After parking in a field near a subdivision where Mr. Henderson had once lived, Mr. McKinney ''pulled Matthew out of the truck and continued to hit him'' with the pistol, he said.
''Aaron told me to go get a rope out of the truck,'' Mr. Henderson said as the Shepards stared grimly ahead. ''Aaron told me to tie his hands'' to a fence pole.
''Matthew looked really bad, I told him to stop,'' Mr. Henderson said. ''Mr. McKinney hit me above the mouth. I returned to the pickup truck.''
After driving away, leaving Mr. Shepard tied to a fence in temperatures that dropped below freezing, Mr. Henderson said, he and his friend got in another fight. When caught by a Laramie police officer, Mr. Henderson said, he lied about what he had been doing that evening.
Instead of calling for medical help for Mr. Shepard the next day, Mr. Henderson said, he and his girlfriend, Chasity Pasley, and Mr. McKinney's girlfriend, Kristen LeAnn Price, drove 50 miles east to a truck stop in Cheyenne with his bloody clothing ''and put it in a dumpster to cover up that I was out there when Matthew was beaten.''
Cashill didn't mention the part about lying to the police and trying to cover up the crime. Cashill also doesn't explain why the "anti-death penalty crowd" would object to someone not receiving the death penalty.
That bit of bamboozlement out of the way, Cashill moves on to even more whitewashing, this thime of his current cause celebre, Steven Nary. Cashill repeats his sympathetic, selectively edited account of how Nary is rotting in prison afterbeing sentenced by a "kangaroo ... court" for the politically incorrect crime of killing a gay man. As he has before, Cashill tries to justify the crime by making Nary's victim look bad -- describing him at one point as "chunky" and "coked-up" -- ignoring Nary's own statements to police that he allowed the victim to perform oral sex on him for $40, and in the morning choked the victim for five minutes.
Cashill's claim that after returning to the Navy ship where he was stationed, "Nary told the chaplain and then turned himself in" is belied by the fact that Nary originally denied any sexual contact with the victim and lied to the Navy medic about how he sustained the hand injury he got in struggling with his victim.
Cashill concludes by writing that Nary "will be excited to hear that justice San Francisco style can now be enjoyed by everyone across the [expletive-deleted] plain." Just as we're excited that WorldNetDaily gives Cashill a forum to lie with impunity.