''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.''