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Wyoming opposes
appeal for Shepard killer

Wyoming opposes
appeal for Shepard killer

Russell Henderson, one of the two men serving life sentences for killing gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in 1998, should not be allowed to appeal his conviction and sentence because his rights were not violated, an attorney for the state of Wyoming argues. Henderson is asking the 10th circuit U.S. court of appeals to reinstate his right to appeal. He contends his trial attorney never advised him that he could appeal his conviction and sentence, causing him to miss the deadline to appeal either.

Senior assistant attorney general Dave Delicath argued in court filings that Henderson's rights were not violated and that he received effective counsel. An Albany County judge and the Wyoming supreme court have previously denied Henderson's attempts to appeal.

Henderson and Aaron McKinney were convicted of beating Shepard and tying him to a fence outside Laramie in October 1998. The murder ignited a nationwide debate over whether more laws were needed to discourage hate crimes. Henderson is serving two consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty in 1999 to first-degree murder. McKinney is also serving two life terms. (AP)

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