The coroner who identified the body of slain University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard testified in court today that Shepard’s attackers, accused of beating Shepard to death due to his sexual orientation, hit him at least 20 times and cracked his skull a half-dozen times.
Coroner Patrick Allen was testifying in the trial of Aaron McKinney, one of the two men accused in Shepard’s murder. The second assailant, Russell Henderson, pleaded guilty to felony murder and kidnapping and was sentenced to life in prison.
Jurors in the case were shown graphic pictures of Shepard, battered and covered with blood. Testimony included that of Allen, a college student who found Shepard, a neighbor who tried to help at the scene, and Albany County Deputy Reggie Fluty.
McKinney’s lawyers are arguing that their client reacted violently to Shepard due to past sexual abuse and to use of alcohol and methamphetamines.