Court rejects petition from Shepard murderer
The Wyoming supreme court has rejected Russell Henderson's attempt to regain his right to seek a reduction of his two consecutive life prison terms for the murder of Matthew Shepard. The court, in a brief order issued Wednesday, refused to review a decision by district judge Jeffrey Donnell rejecting Henderson's claim that his state-appointed lawyers failed to discuss potential appeals with him.
Henderson and Aaron McKinney were convicted of killing Shepard, a 21-year-old gay University of Wyoming student, in October 1998. Henderson pleaded guilty to felony murder and kidnapping and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences on April 5, 1999. Henderson argued that his trial attorneys never told him of his right to appeal the sentence or to seek a sentence reduction.