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US

Girlfriend of Shepard's convicted killer testifies of cover- up

October 28, 1999
Web posted at: 6:23 p.m. EDT (2223 GMT)


In this story:

'Mad at myself' for getting involved

Witness lied to police

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



LARAMIE, Wyoming (CNN) -- In sometimes emotional testimony, the girlfriend of one of two men accused in the beating death of a gay Wyoming college student told jurors Thursday of how she learned of the attack and then helped to cover it up.

Chasity Pasley, 21, is serving an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the slaying of Matthew Shepard, who was beaten, tied to a fence post outside Laramie and left to die. Pasley testified as a prosecution witness in the trial of Aaron McKinney, who is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated robbery in the slaying of Shepard.

Pasley was the live-in girlfriend of Russell Henderson, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murder and is serving consecutive life sentences.

The prosecution says it will seek the death penalty for McKinney, 22, if he is convicted.

'Mad at myself' for getting involved

McKinney
McKinney  

Shepard, 21, a student at the University of Wyoming, was attacked the night of October 7, 1998, after leaving the Fireside Lounge with two men and being driven away in a pickup truck that allegedly belonged to McKinney.

Pasley said she first learned of the beating listening to McKinney and Henderson trying "to get their stories straight" at McKinney's apartment that night.

She said she had misgivings about getting involved and was "mad at myself" the next day as she, Henderson and McKinney's girlfriend, Kristen Price, drove to Cheyenne to dump Henderson's clothes in a gas station Dumpster.

Pasley said she saw blood and a "fleshy" substance on one knee of Henderson's pants. She said they hid expensive new shoes Henderson had been wearing that night in a shed in Cheyenne owned by her mother.

She said Henderson tried to reassure her, saying, "It's all right; he's OK," referring to Shepard, who died after he was taken to a hospital.

Witness lied to police

McKinney slouched forward at the defense table during Pasley's testimony. He had stayed behind the day the clothes were disposed of so he could be treated at a hospital for a concussion he suffered during a fight he and Henderson had with two other men after the Shepard beating.

The following morning, Pasley testified, eight detectives arrived outside the apartment she shared with Henderson.

She said she lied during questioning later at the Laramie police station, sticking to a story she and Price had agreed upon -- that they watched movies together the night of the attack and knew nothing of it.

Pasley said she lied because "I was protecting someone I loved."



RELATED STORIES:
Judge may bar 'gay panic' defense in Wyoming beating trial
October 27, 1999
McKinney identified in second beating
October 26, 1999
1 year after Shepard killing, tougher hate crimes laws still sought
October 6, 1999
First defendant gets life in gay student killing
April 5, 1999
Woman changes plea, admits helping gay student's accused killers
December 24, 1998

RELATED SITES:
University of Wyoming
Matthew Shepard Online Resources
THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - Hate Crimes
Fighting Hate Across the Nation -- Leadership Conference Education Fund
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