Defending the family

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breaking news: 20/20 NEWS "New Details Emerge in Matthew Shepard Murder"

Six years ago, on a cold October night on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo., 21-year-old gay college student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead. He was found 18 hours later and rushed to the hospital, where he lingered on the edge of death for nearly five days before succumbing to his injuries.

The story garnered national attention when the attack was characterized as a hate crime.

But Shepard's killers, in their first interview since their convictions, tell "20/20's" Elizabeth Vargas that money and drugs motivated their actions that night, not hatred of gays.

While McKinney and Henderson admit to killing Shepard, both men -- and the man who prosecuted the case -- now say the real story is not what it seemed.

Many area residents were shocked that the crime was committed by two young men from their community. But both McKinney and Henderson came from classically troubled backgrounds.

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