Apr 25, 2006

Editor dismissed claims

April 4, 2006 - Not published - waiting for correction.
fax: 508 793-9313

Yesterday, the T&G published my letter to the Editor on the article ‘Fighting Hate’ by Taryn Plumb (T&G 03/23/2006) with an Editor’s Note that read “In a November 2004 interview on ABC’s ‘20/20’ program the convicted killers of Matthew Shepard told the robbery and drug addiction story as their third account of the crime. Investigators dismissed the claims.”

The problem with this Editor’s Note is it contradicts the actual story. Investigators actually supported this claim, as the online story said:

‘Former Laramie Police Detective Ben Fritzen, one of the lead investigators in the case, also believed robbery was the primary motive. "Matthew Shepard's sexual preference or sexual orientation certainly wasn't the motive in the homicide," he said.’

The Prosecutor agreed with this version of the robbery gone wrong.

“[Prosecutor Cal] Rerucha attributes McKinney's rage and his savage beating of Shepard to his drug abuse. "The methamphetamine just fueled to this point where there was no control. It was a horrible, horrible, horrible murder. It was a murder that was once again driven by drugs," Rerucha said.”


The Editor’s Note that claimed “Investigators dismissed the claims” has not basis in fact. The Telegram should issue a correction to their error.

Jay G

Note: George French is currently looking into this matter:

Mr. Guillette:
Thanks for the update. I'll try to untangle the issue from this end and get back to you.
George French


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