A new book has come out suggesting that the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard was not a hate crime based on his sexual orientation, but the actions of a bisexual lover involved in the crystal meth scene.

Journalist Stephen Jimenez has spent the last thirteen years investigating Matthew Shepard’s murder, resulting in ‘The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard’.

In 1998, 21-year old Matthew Shepard was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming.

The man who found him was a fellow University of Wyoming student, who at first mistook Shepard for a scarecrow. He was hospitalised and died from his injuries on October 12.

A week earlier Shepard had met two men, believed to be strangers, who offered him a ride home. Accused murderers Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson claimed they hadn’t targeted Shepard, claiming instead that they beat him up after he came on to them – a notorious instance of the “gay panic” defence. They argued they were so distressed by Shepard’s sexual advances towards them that they were driven temporarily insane.

According to the website Jezebel.com, Jimenez claims Shepard and McKinney were sometimes lovers.

He goes on to suggest Shepard was a meth user and sold the drug to support his habit. Jimenez also suggests that McKinney killed Shepard because he thought he was connected to a drug shipment of six ounces of crystal meth, the street value of which at the time was around twelve thousand dollars.

The book is to be released in the United States on September 24.

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