Pauley Perrette and Friends Honor Matthew Shepard

November 3, 2009

John Nazarian, Judy Shepard, Pauley Perrette

On Sunday October 25, 2009, Nazarian and Associates provided services to my dear friend Pauley Perrette at the Hollywood United Methodist Church. Pauley and several hundred of her friends were host to “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” a play telling the story of Matthew Wayne Shepard, who was tortured and murdered for being gay, in Laramie, WY eleven years ago. His mother, Judy Shepard, has since been tirelessly devoted to “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion, and Acceptance” and strengthening hate crimes legislation to include crimes against gays.

Matthew ShepardShortly after midnight on October 7, 1998, 21-year-old Shepard met Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson in a bar. McKinney and Henderson offered Shepard a ride in their car. Subsequently, Shepard was robbed, pistol whipped, tortured, tied to a fence in a remote, rural area, and left to die. McKinney and Henderson also found out his address and intended to rob his home. Still tied to the fence, Shepard was discovered 18 hours later by Aaron Kreifels, who initially mistook Shepard for a scarecrow. At the time of discovery, Shepard was still alive, but in a coma.

Shepard suffered fractures to the back of his head and in front of his right ear. He had severe brain stem damage, which affected his body’s ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature and other vital functions. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate. Shepard never regained consciousness and remained on full life support. As he lay in intensive care, candlelight vigils were held by the people of Laramie.

He was pronounced dead at 12:53 A.M. on October 12, 1998, at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. Police arrested McKinney and Henderson shortly thereafter, finding the bloody gun as well as the victim’s shoes and wallet in their truck.

While providing services to the people attending the event I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Matthews mother Judy Shepard. Ms. Shepard visited and spoke to those attending the reading and answered questions. It was an honor to speak to and have a photo taken with Judy and Pauley.

President Obama signed into law the Mathew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Act on October 28, 2009…see the terrific video at Judy’s website, the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

So to all of you have been wondering what have I been up to, I am around and busy and will have some very interesting subject matters in the days and months to come.

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