Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998. He was attacked on the night of October 6–7, and died a few days later at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado , on October 12 from severe head injuries. During the trial it was widely reported that Shepard was targeted because he was gay . [ 1 ] Shepard's murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels. [ 2 ] In 2009, his mother Judy Shepard authored a book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed . In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.