An attorney involved in Matthew Shepard’s murder trial is pushing back against many of the conclusions revealed in Stephen Jimenez’s controversial The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard.
Lawyer Tim Newcomb was the appellate attorney for Russell Henderson, Aaron McKinney’s accomplice in the University of Wyoming student’s killing.
Newcomb is listed as a source in Jimenez’s book.
According to a Media Matters article, Newcomb had dealings with some of the very people who talked to Jimenez. This included a source who said Shepard’s death had nothing to do with homophobia.
‘During the time I represented Russell, a man called his grandmother, saying he had been Matthew’s lover and had his diary. I called him and asked if that was true. He told me it was, so I asked for a copy,’ Newcomb wrote in a statement.
This unnamed source’s story quickly changed. His sister had the diary. Newcomb asked for a copy. That couldn’t happen because the sister was worried about her brother’s life.
‘I asked why he called Russell’s grandmother then; eventually, he seemed to suggest that he didn’t have enough money,’ Newcomb said.
The attorney highlights the transcribed confession of McKinney, who called his victim a ‘fag.’
Newcomb points to what McKinney said years after the crime. The convicted killer said that October night, when he pistol whipped Shepard to death, he had ‘hatred for homosexuals.’
McKinney added he targeted Shepard because ‘he was obviously gay. That played a part. His weakness. His frailty.’
Newcomb adds Laramie is a small town, a place he has called home for multiple years. Cover ups of murder are difficult to hide when everybody knows each other.
‘…Laramie has few people and we tend to know of each other. Hidden truths behind notorious crimes are as rare as windless winters.’