A Tale of Two Cities, Laramie Wyoming and Redding California.

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Laramie, Wyoming, and Redding, California, are linked by two similar tragedies that happened within 10 months of each other. On October 6th, 1998, Matthew Shepard was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming. On July 1, 1999, Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder were murdered in Happy Valley.

According to official accounts, Matthew Shepard was murdered by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson.

Matthew Shepard Foundation photo.

Matthew Shepard photo from the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Social media spins this as a couple of Wyoming cowboys who lured a gay man to the outskirts of town where they beat him and tied him to a fence to die, which he did five days later in a Fort Collins hospital.

First off, these two were not cowboys, they were bottom feeders who used crime and drugs to survive. Even Laramie police detective Ben Fritzen said this was a crime about theft and drugs, not a hate crime. McKinney and Henderson set out that night to rob a drug dealer, and when that failed they happened on to Shepard at a local bar. That they knew each other has been confirmed by many who knew all concerned. Shepard was a partier, as was McKinney, and they had both been seen at parties where McKinney allegedly sold Shepard meth.

What it looks like, tragically, is that two criminals were looking for an easy mark to rob and Shepard happened to be the mark, not because he was gay but because they thought he had money. McKinney, allegedly was high on meth and went into a meth rage and beat Shepard. Henderson stated he tried to stop McKinney but was himself attacked. Both men received double life sentences.

While there may be questions about the motive for murdering Matthew Shepard there is no question about the motive for the murders of Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder.

Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder. Photo courtesy of Not In Our Town.

Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder at Matson Vineyards. Photo courtesy of Not In Our Town.

Their killers, brothers Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams, stated they murdered the pair because they were gay. While the brothers were in jail awaiting trial on murder charges, Benjamin Williams’ attorney placed an ad in the Record Searchlight congratulating Benjamin on being ordained as a minister by Christ’s Covenant Church. The RS blamed this on an inept advertising executive. On November 17th, 2002, Benjamin Matthew Williams was found dead in his cell; an apparent suicide. Tyler Williams was sentenced for 29 years to life.

Matthew Shepard is remembered through film and plays such as “The Laramie Project” –  and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Laramie has been in the forefront of enacting favorable gay laws. While Laramie tries to atone for the Shepard murder, tourists come to Laramie to see “The Fence” in a sort of morbid mentality. They are disappointed when they find out the fence is under the Walmart parking lot. All over the nation and the world social media only remembers that Wyoming cowboys tied a gay man to a fence to die. It was even alluded to in the movie “Brokeback Mountain” where cowboys beat Jake Gyllenhaal’s gay character to death on a remote Texas highway.

Here in Cheyenne two years ago the Outlaw Saloon hit the social rounds in another “here goes Wyoming again”. The Outlaw had a singles night where stranger couples would get their first drink free. They had so many men saying they were gay that the Saloon posted a sign that read “Gays do not receive free drinks”. As expected the nation grasped onto that sign and the manager took it down. He said the Outlaw doesn’t discriminate against gays and has many gay customers, though I doubt that latter part.

The world remembers Matthew Shepard, even if they don’t remember his name, as a blemish on Wyoming. Outside of Shasta County, and even in it, many have never heard of Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder. I read, though I can’t find it, is there is a Gary Matson memorial at Turtle Bay.

Bruce Vojtecky, Cheyenne, Wyoming

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57 Responses

  1. Avatar Justin says:

    I feel like this story left me hanging for a conclusion.


  2. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I have a hard time believing that Shepard’s murder was motivated solely by greed.  You don’t need to beat someone to death in order to rob them, and hanging his dying body from a barbed-wire fence was clearly motivated by something other than greed.

    Also, the attorney of one of the two murderers tried to mount a “gay panic defense,” arguing that Shepard was killed because his client went temporarily insane when Shepard made sexual advances.  The judge wasn’t having it, and rejected use of the defense (possibly because he thought it might play well in über-conservative Wyoming).

    I knew Gary pretty well, and crossed paths with Winfield from time to time.  Gary had a somewhat prickly personality, but I liked him.  He was one of the first people I encountered professionally when I moved to Redding, and he helped me get familiar with the local flora.  I was not educated by Jesuits, but from what I’ve heard about their tough standards and methods, Gary would have made a good Jesuit educator.

    I sometimes think Benjamin Williams offed himself because he knew what would be in store for him in a prison.  Tyler Williams is in Mule Creek State Prison near Ione—he doesn’t even make the Wikipedia list of noted inmates, which supports Bruce’s contention that the Matson/Mowder murders somehow flew under the radar relative to Shepard’s.  The murderers’ parents—who used to live not far from me in Palo Cedro on a dark wooded property that was downright creepy—are likely dead of old age.

    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      I have read where certain people, a minister on his blog in the RS for one, contend that Shepard made sexual advances which led to his murder.  I did not find any evidence nor did the police to support that claim.  Even in uber-conservative Wyoming the truth is the truth.  The more I found out about Shepard the less likely chance there is that he would associate with people like his killers except to buy drugs.  If this had been in a bigger college town, like Fort Collins or Boulder, the likelihood is they never would have met.  As far as string Shepard up on the fence there have been just as horrible acts, even in Redding, committed by strung out meth users.

      • Bruce, I think what people were looking for was some kind of an explanation for these observations now, and perhaps the conclusion you reached about both of these events.

        • Avatar K. Beck says:

          Sorry Doni, but do you screen what people send to you? This article should have been rejected IMHO.

      • Avatar K. Beck says:

        I don’t read the RS. What was the minister’s point? Cheyenne, perhaps you need to do a little research on hate crimes perpetrated against gays. There is an extremely ugly history there, and that minister may have been correct. Since the only people left to tell the tale are the perps we will never know the real story. So, again, I ask what was your point in writing this article?

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          I’m not speaking for Bruce/Cheyenne, but I took it as a defense of Wyoming’s conservative culture, a role Cheyenne often takes as a commenter on A News Cafe.

          To wit:  You may think it’s bad in Wyoming, but our notorious anti-gay murder wasn’t even a real anti-gay murder, like yours.  Before you point out the speck of wood in my eye….

          That’s a little odd, because California’s liberal culture certainly didn’t lend to the murders of Matson and Mowder.  The immediate cause was a particularly hateful and vile form of right-wing Christian fundamentalism in a community that is notably conservative and oft times tolerant of intolerance.

          I also think it’s presumptuous to conclude that Shephard’s murder wasn’t motivated by his sexuality—a conclusion that seems to be based on no evidence.  It’s especially hard to reconcile with the desire of the defense attorney to present a defense based on the murderer freaking out that he was propositioned for sex by a gay person (as if someone hitting on you is a good excuse for murdering them—but only if the person doing the propositioning is gay).

          Bruce’s response to my remark that Shepard was treated with utter contempt that went beyond what is typical of a strong-armed robbery is also a bit weird:  Yeah, well….worse things have been done by meth users, even in Redding.

          Yeah?  So?  Nobody is saying that the anti-gay hatred wasn’t amped up by meth.

          There was a lot of hate involved in what happened to Shepard.  It’s weird to insist that it wasn’t anti-gay hatred when that conclusion is based on pretty much zilch.  I’m not saying that there’s proof it definitely was—but I’m deploying Occam’s razor in this case and saying it’s the simplest explanation that makes the most sense—especially in light of the defense attorney’s attempt to use an anti-gay freak-out as a legitimate defense of his client.

  3. Avatar cheyenne says:

    I will answer why I wrote this article.  When I post on other media, using Facebook not a made up name, no matter what the article is about whether it is a shooting in Chicago, Keystone protests or other topics when they see I am from Wyoming they almost always post how Wyoming strings up gays on a fence.  While Wyoming has taken great strides in gay rights and making sure Matt Shepard’s story is told, other areas, like Redding, with just as horrific crimes against gays seem to sweep there own gay crimes under the rug and out of sight while condemning Wyoming.  The RS ministers blog condemned the gay people for lying about the cause of Shepard’s murder.  He insinuated like many religious right, without any prove, that this was a lovers/drug murder.  At first I felt the same way until I investigated further and found no evidence that was the case.  Matt Shepard was not a lover of either of his killers and I challenge anyone to show me proof that he was.

    Further, for those questioning why I wrote this article I would ask them why they themselves are not doing more to show the gay injustice in their own area instead of blaming someone for showing gay injustice in another area.  The only article I have seen come out of Redding was R.V.’s transgender article.  Wyoming has owned up to it’s past gay history, why aren’t you?

    • Avatar #Truthismessy says:

      Stephen Jimenez, a respected gay author, made a pretty convincing case that the Shepard murder was primarily the robbery of a drug dealer that turned into a meth-fueled beating.  His book is likely the source of many of these accounts:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/26/the-truth-behind-americas-most-famous-gay-hate-murder-matthew-shepard

      • Avatar K. Beck says:

        To #Truthismessy: Thanks for posting this. I think we will never know the absolute truth. Interesting article. But it still leaves us with no answer, really. Did anyone interview the two murders? If they were stoked up on Meth at the time, anything they could say would be slanted by the drug. There are all kinds of elements to this story that perhaps, Jimenez’s book could answer. I have not read it.

        “They were not charged with a hate crime, as that wasn’t possible under Wyoming’s criminal law.” Takes that issue off the table!

        There is the issue of “gay self hate” which could have motivated McKinney:

        “Matthew…took significant sexual risks and was being pimped alongside Aaron McKinney, one of his killers, with whom he’d had occasional sexual encounters.” ” McKinney has never acknowledged that he knew Matthew…”

        Maybe McKinney was not gay, but was “being pimped alongside Matthew” and was resentful? And Matthew, himself, had so many self destructive tendencies it is hard to ignore them. This sentence: “and kicked between the legs” spoke volumes to me. This issue has come up, yet again, because of Omar Mateen. Here is a short paragraph about it: http://drnicely.com/gay.html

        Mothers: don’t stay with men who beat you! Parents/Grandparents: don’t lock children in the basement, or closet, or anywhere else. These kids, who grew up to be Meth heads and murders, were abused!


        • Avatar #Truthismessy says:

          “Everyone carries a shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” – Carl Jung

          Matthew Williams, like Omar Mateen and Aaron McKinney, was also believed to be gay or bisexual.

    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      Where is the link to the RS article? Or a copy of it? Just because Shepard (murdered in 1998) was not a “lover” of either of his murders does not make this “not a hate crime.” The murders of  Winfield & Matson were well documented in the NATIONAL press. I was planning to move to Redding at the time and had to rethink my decision. I remember this well. I had already sold my house, so I came here anyway. Hate crimes against gays happen everywhere there are gays. Period. Gays are targets the same way Muslins are now targets, the same way blacks, and other minorities are targets. Hate is Hate. The trial was on the local news  nearly every night. The Redding murders were in 1999, maybe you were already gone, Bruce. All you need to do is type in “Winfield & Matson murders” and you will see pages of articles on those murders. I didn’t live here when those murders happened but I can guarantee you, I will never forget them. Why would there continue to be articles published about any of this 18-19 years later?

      BTW, Madson & Winfield were not lovers to the two brothers who murdered them. How does that sit with you? There is faulty thinking going on here.

      To me, the questions remain, why are you drudging all this up again now. Who in this forum wrote anything negative about Wyoming IRT gays? And why was this published?


    • Avatar Common Sense says:

      It’s Interesting that you take offense and find the strong need to Defend where you live when others as you say “Bash” it. The mere fact that you are so adamant on how we do it here vs how you do it back there, is also quite interesting.

      You are associating what people apparently think about Wyoming….and taking that as a personal insult….Why?…Just like when I pointed out Facts about the current POTUS….you took that personally…how come?

      “Further, for those questioning why I wrote this article I would ask them why they themselves are not doing more to show the gay injustice in their own area instead of blaming someone for showing gay injustice in another area”

       -Why the Defensiveness? Why the Anger? Why the Condemnation? Why do you care that someone is doing it differently in an Area that you LEFT?

      “Wyoming has owned up to it’s gay history, why aren’t you?”  

      So why do you feel the need to Defend Wyoming? To Defend the POTUS?

      Oh…and by the way….It’s not Wyoming that does anything…..it’s the people in any area that do things to each other…..

      When people say….oh God….you are from Redding….that’s a Hell hole there….I shrug my shoulders….that is Their Opinion……their opinion….doesn’t really matter to me…..as it is THEIR opinion….not mine…..

      We all should be entitled to our own opinions….just not our own Facts….

      I share with you the Four Agreements……. to help you on your path…..

      Be impeccable with your word.
      Don’t take anything personally.
      Don’t make assumptions.
      Always do your best.

  4. Avatar Justin says:

    To the Editor…I am so disappointed…

  5. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Bruce — It was the DA who decided not to prosecute Shepard’s murder as an anti-gay hate crime.  Prosecutors often press the charges on which they believe they can prevail.  No juror in Wyoming is going to side with two guys who allegedly beat someone to death for the content’s of the victim’s wallet.

    But try to prosecute an anti-gay hate crime in a particularly conservative area, and you’re looking for a hung jury or worse.  I believe the DA and the Judge knew the territory, and did what they had to do to obtain justice.  The fact that it wasn’t prosecuted as a hate crime doesn’t mean that there was no evidence it was a hate crime, and it certainly isn’t proof that it wasn’t a hate crime.

    • Avatar #Truthismessy says:

      There was no applicable hate crime statute in Wyoming in 1998 (the only one then in effect was the 1968 Civil Rights Act, but it covered only race, color, religion, & national origin).  There was also little evidence of their motives, aside from the hearsay testimony (later recanted) of a girlfriend who likely didn’t want her small town knowing her boyfriend had been intimate with a HIV-positive gay man.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        By “hate crime,” I meant more the strategy pursued by the DA than the charge of “hate crime.”  He chose not to prosecute it as an anti-gay crime.

        I think it’s also telling that killer’s own defense attorney really, really, really wanted to defend it as an anti-gay freak-out murder.  You may not think that’s damning, but I think it is, on a lot of fronts.  First of all, it’s damned close to an admission that the murder was about the victim being a gay man, not about robbery, even though it may have started as a robbery.  Second, it’s damned close to an admission by the defense that defending the crime as an anti-gay freak-out would likely play well to a Wyoming jury.  Pretty damning all around.

        Finally, since when do robbery victims get hung up on barbed-wire fences, like lynching victims?  No evidence there was more than greed involved?  Get real.

        • Avatar #Truthismessy says:

          Don’t read too much into the defense attorney’s tactics; his goal was to keep a guilty man off death row.   Beating a gay man to death, at the point in time, was not punishable by death provided it was not premeditated.  On the other hand, murder during the commission of a felony (i.e. robbery that escalates to murder) was.

          Having the unfortunate experience of witnessing such rages, I have little difficulty believing the savagery was primarily the result of a violent man on meth.  Incidentally, Shepard was not the only man beaten by McKinney that night; two others, neither gay, also felt his wrath.

          For me, the simplest explanation is that a violent drug addict known for previous robberies (at the time of the murder, McKinney was awaiting sentencing for robbing a KFC) set out to rob a drug dealer he knew.  Shepard likely made a pass at McKinney in front of Henderson, causing the closeted McKinney to become embarrassed and fly into a rage (according to friends & family, McKinney couldn’t “stand to be embarrassed in front of other people”).

          So yes, sexuality probably played a part in the escalation to murder.  But the evidence contradicts the popular notion of two rednecks setting out that night with the intention to beat up or kill a gay man.  Until that night, the perpetrators were known to be motivated by money & drugs, not bigotry, and an effeminate drug dealer probably was the softest target in the room.

  6. Avatar cheyenne says:

    Almost twenty years ago horrific murders of a gay man in Wyoming and two gay men in California happened.  While Laramie has moved forward with preaching tolerance, despite its conservative roots, passing gay marriage laws and non gay discrimination laws.  Informing people about the injustice happening to gay people through the Laramie Project and the Mathew Shepard Foundation.  Redding has just swept there murder under the carpet like an unwanted relative.  It made national news, but what is Redding doing to prevent another episode.  Megan Rapinoe put Redding on the national stage, but when she came out as gay some in Redding sought to abolish Megan Rapinoe Day.  Ryan O’Callaghan recently came out as gay and said he contemplated suicide while at Enterprise.  With the anti-gay attitude in Redding that should come as no surprise.  If my article does nothing but point out the bigots in Redding I am happy.  No wonder the good people are leaving while the bottom feeders move in.

  7. Avatar cheyenne says:

    Why bring up these murders 18 years later seems to be an overriding question.  I attempted to show the two different reaction by Laramie and Redding to two gay murders.  One can argue which is worse, being beaten and tied to a fence or shot in your own home.  Even today Laramie has an ongoing presentation about Mathew Shepard to educate people on gay injustice all the time.  Redding seems to want to forget their gay murder when they should be forthcoming about it especially with the reactions to two local athletes coming out as gay.

    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      I think you meant, “being beaten, tied to a fence, AND SET ON FIRE (while still alive, BTW).”

      You showed reactions from 18-19 years ago. Do you think nothing has changed?

      Many gay people contemplate and attempt suicide. See my earlier post.

      Maybe some of us are here trying to mitigate the things you find wrong with Redding.

  8. Avatar Larry says:

    yep…his story/article has no ending

  9. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:



    It’s fine to dissect the story. It is not fine to personally insult each other.

    Settle down.


    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      You have my permission to delete my post…I just HAD to say that. I feel better now.  :  )

  10. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    The Williams Bros. story is way more complicated than a couple of dudes hating on gays.

  11. Avatar Common Sense says:

    It’s fine to dissect the story. It is not fine to personally insult each other.
    Barbara Rice

    Ahhh…. is that not exactly what the Author did here?  : If my article does nothing but point out the bigots in Redding I am happy.  No wonder the good people are leaving while the bottom feeders move in.”
    He just insulted everyone living here!

  12. Avatar Common Sense says:

    I Smell Censorship here Doni!…..my comment was deleted….my other one was shelved?……allowing someone that doesn’t even live here to bad mouth those that do?……not good!…Sounds a bit like Jeff Sessions…..the Good People Don’t……

    Stick to insulting the people where you live!…..you LEFT….Let it Go!

    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      Common Sense, you are right I left.  When I left in 2006 I worked till 2 and 3 in the morning cleaning schools without any threats from vagrants/homeless.  I could go through the streets of Redding anytime of day or night and not be harassed.  I would leave the top down om my jeep from April to September without any problems.  The police force was fully staffed.

      Now I read on these pages about how it is not enough to just lock your car but don’t leave anything out in plain sight.  I read, posted by others on here, that bottom feeders have taken over Redding.  I read letters to the editor on here and RS from people I knew who were a positive influence on Redding and how they left.  I read posts and letters from people who love Redding but as soon as their kids graduate high school they are leaving.  I read how Redding is hurting and it is up to a church to bail the city out.

      You are right, CS, I left.

  13. Avatar Dan says:

    I didn’t really get the connection. Laramie…is..well Laramie. Population 30k in the middle of a vastly different sparsely populated state.

    I was commuting weekly from the Silicon Valley during the Happy Valley Murder investigation. Lots of press. The “Christian Identity” connection was fascinating, dark, and seemingly glossed over locally for obvious reasons (Google it). Up until the last few years, swastikas were a common site in the South County- Greeting I-5 tourists pulling off the highway to shop and eat. Getting them painted over was a regular chore in Cottonwood.

    Puts a real damper on getting venture capitalists to back projects in Shasta County like Stillwater.


    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      …have never seen the swastikas. Within the last couple of months I saw a huge pick up truck on Hartnell with a huge Confederate flag flying from the truck bed. When I mentioned that to people I know they all said, “Oh yeah, that happens all the time up here.” REALLY??? I have been here a fairly long time and have never seen that before.


  14. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    Bruce, to answer your question, there are two memorial gardens in Redding.  One is the “Matson, Mowder and Howe” garden at the North Valley Art League and the other is the “Peace Garden” at Temple Beth Israel created by a community members to show support of the Jewish community after the Williams brothers vandalized a synagogue in Sacramento and murdered important and loved members of this north state community.


  15. Avatar cheyenne says:

    Why did I write this article?  Since that question was posed to me I have thought about it.  I was living in Anderson when the murders of Matson and Mowder were committed and my thoughts, like many others, was how could this happen in Shasta County?  I knew there were zealots living in the area but I didn’t think they would murder someone.  After moving to Cheyenne I was surprised at the ongoing tributes to Mathew Shepard and wondered why the same thing wasn’t happening in Redding over Matson and Mowder.

    I attempted to show how similar tragedies in two rural towns that happened close together and how those towns reacted to those tragedies.  Laramie, a liberal city in a conservative state, and Redding, a conservative city in a liberal state.  While Laramie has presented information all the time about Shepard and preaching tolerance, Redding has been mostly silent about Matson and Mowder.  Why is that?  If my article made some uncomfortable, good.

    I have been a member of the Anews community longer than some of the anonymous posters who moved over because the RS requires a real ID.  I also am not the only person who writes articles or posts on Anews that has moved away from Redding.  What I know about the troubles in Redding I get from the articles and the posts that are on these very pages and from friends and relatives still in the Redding area.  It isn’t a pretty picture.

    • Avatar Common Sense says:

      “Methinks thou dost protest too much”
      From one Anonymous Poster to another….what’s your point?

  16. Avatar Justin says:

    My comment didn’t make it either which is as chicken as the story.  My point is that it still doesn’t matter that they were gay, and it should compel the rest of us to do anything different than any other case.  The article also makes me wonder if anyone can be published here.

    • Avatar #Truthismessy says:

      This site is a safe space for Redding area liberals.  If you wish to express a conservative point of view, make sure it is done diplomatically.

      • Avatar Justin says:

        I think you are missing the point, and it is not a conservative or liberal point of view…

        From what I understand of the two stories, perhaps we should remember the Redding victims, not because of who their sexuality, but because of the way they lived their lives, it sounds quite different than a drug dealer in Wyoming…

        Regardless, their sexuality up, down or sideways doesn’t compel a continued memorial any more than the any of the other forms of hate that have been expressed before or since their senseless death.

  17. I would never judge a community based on the horrific actions of a few – or the angry words of the chronic complainers. Ranting on social media is not something happy people spend much time on; they’re busy.

    My husband and I have been immersed in this community – the homeschool community, the arts community and the business community – for twenty years, and I have found it to be  filled with generous, good-hearted, hard-working souls who are doing their best to improve this lovely little corner of the world.

    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      Erin, if all the posts were like yours I would have a different view of Redding today.  But so many posters and articles have appeared on these pages about bottom feeders, unsafe areas, aggressive panhandlers, and other negative sides of Redding that I wonder what happened to that great little corner of the world that I was very happy to live in.  I know there are people working to improve Redding and my hat goes off to them but I know others who were an asset to Redding who left.  Keep trying.

  18. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    “yep…his story/article has no ending”

    To the Editor…I am so disappointed…”

    Sorry Doni, but do you screen what people send to you? This article should have been rejected IMHO.”

    Oh for f*ck’s sake.

    A News Cafe isn’t just an online news site; it’s also a community. Why not be a supportive member of the community instead of sniping from the sidelines? The difference between sniping and constructive criticism is often just a matter of a few words added and a few words subtracted. It doesn’t take that much effort. Give it a try.

    Bruce/cheyenne, I lean toward disagreeing with the main premise of your submission, but thank you for taking the time and effort to create it. I’d like to read more about life where you live now.



    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      Thanks Hal, I appreciate that coming from someone who is a positive influence on Redding.

  19. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    I was going to thank Cheyenne for bringing this story up, because I was involved covering the William Bros Sacramento crimes, which included fire-bombing two synagogues, one of which I was attending at the time (my ex-wife is Jewish). I’ve slowly been looking into the William Bros activities in Shasta County, and someday plan to write about them. Because it’s such an interesting story, I didn’t want anyone else to resurrect it before me, so I decided to not thank Cheyenne.

  20. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Some opinion pieces are not worthy of publication in any forum.  This one certainly is.

    Elsewhere in this thread, I’ve guessed at the motivations that moved Bruce (aka Cheyenne) to submit this article.  I’m not sure how close I am with what I postulated as his core thesis: A defense of Wyoming via asking Reddingites to look in the mirror, illustrated with two murder cases.  I don’t entirely buy his comparison, mostly because I think he’s off on his characterization of the Shepard murder.

    But he’s sure as hell right on target when he suggests that before we start throwing stones, we ought to realize that our own house is made of glass.

    This post elected a lot of lively, spirited discussion and debate.  What else do you want?  A neat conclusion?  Not all stories have a “just so” ending.

    You expose your posterior when you put your opinion under a title and your name.  Bruce did it, and he took some shots (several unfair) without showing any thin skin whatsoever.  For that alone Bruce, if you ever make it back to Redding, or if I’m ever in Cheyenne, the beer is on me.

  21. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    As was mentioned by several, the Gary and Winfield story, my friends, had much local, state and national media play.  The local LGBTQ+ community did, for years, have remembrance days for them, but simply faded away. The remaining brother/murderer goes up for parole or release in about 11 years. Will their be a contingent at that hearing to vociferously oppose him being released ?  BTW, Gary and Winfield were not attracted to the two brothers, they did interact with them in their garden/vegetable business.  That’s when the two brothers got the idea to ‘rid them from God’s Kingdom, as they were unclean’.  I never did understand why the parents weren’t implicated as the mother found shot gun shells casings and blood on their clothes when she washed them.   Hmmm, just another jackrabbit.  And to those who wonder why this story was written, and have to have it explained, please, you leave me shaking my head.

  22. Avatar cheyenne says:

    In my clumsy way the question I have tried to ask is the Arts and Music community of Laramie has produced films and plays about celebrating Mathew Shepard’s life, a new film last year.  Why has the Arts and Music community of Redding not done the same for Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Here’s an oversimplified guess that falsely boils it down to a single factor:  Laramie is a university town.

      To what degree is it a university town?  Laramie has a thin majority of registered Democrats over Republicans, in a state that went for Trump over Clinton 70% to 22%.

      Not to wholly excuse the arts and music community, the museum/natural sciences/sustainability community, and  the LGBTQ community for allowing Matson and Mowder to slip into obscurity, but decades of swimming against the current is exhausting.

      • Avatar cheyenne says:

        Actually Wyoming went for Cruz and Sanders but with todays screwed up political landscape ended up voting on Trump and Clinton with a Cheney thrown in.  Be glad you only have to deal with “The Hat”.

    • Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

      Great idea. When it comes to producing individual pieces of art…there is no community…really.  This is an idea that would definitely interest a local film maker.  IF they had thought of it.   KIXE got a grant to do a video several years ago about the Pioneer Baby Grave and another for a video about the Frank Lloyd Wright church in Redding.   This is a project that they could take on because it’s an important part of our history.  Some one person or group has to have the concept and the means to make something like this happen.

  23. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    There is no educated answer as to why Redding hasn’t developed something similar to Laramie. There’s a bench in the park with their names on it, the dedicated garden, the several years worth of celebration in Library Park and then folks sometimes just want to almost forget such an incident. But, I suspect in the back of someone’s mind there’s a book in the works. And yes, a university would certainly help all of the Redding community have a place to study such phenomenons when they happen.

  24. Tom O'Mara Tom O'Mara says:

    https://www.niot.org/category/niot-videos/dvds-sale is a film from Not In Our Town which details community response to the Matson-Mowder murders, and has been shown on local KIXE repeatedly, and on PBS stations throughout  CA. It was also shown at the Cascade Theatre around 2006, with a panel discussion following. The Shasta County Citizens Advocating Respect put on two conferences in the early 2000’s, and featured sessions with the two S.O. investigators on the case. And following a community meeting at the McConnell Foundation in 2012 hosted by the Youth Violence Prevention Council of Shasta County, the Redding Police Department now hosts a position for a volunteer Civil Rights Advocate, providing support and advocacy services to victims of hate crimes/incidents.