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Book That Challenges Claim That Matthew Shepard Was Killed for Being Gay to Receive Award

“The fact that this has been labeled as anti-gay is absolutely ridiculous. I have been out since the 1970s.”

Stephen Jimenez (Image source: KPIX-TV via YouTube)

CASPER, Wyo. (TheBlaze/AP) — The Wyoming State Historical Society is honoring a book about Matthew Shepard that claims the gay University of Wyoming student was killed in a drug deal and not in a hate crime.

"The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard" will receive an honorable mention Saturday in the nonfiction book category, said Linda Fabian of the historical society.

Stephen Jimenez (Image source: KPIX-TV via YouTube) Stephen Jimenez (Image source: KPIX-TV via YouTube)

Author Stephen Jimenez, an openly gay investigative journalist, said Shepard and one of his killers were involved in the methamphetamine trade and that was the motive behind the 1998 killing.

The conventional belief is that Shepard was killed because he was gay.

Albany County Undersheriff Robert DeBree is critical of the historical society's plans to honor Jimenez's book. He told the Casper Star-Tribune that he would have no objection if the award was for fiction.

More from the Tribune:

Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley, who investigated the murder in 1998, said Jimenez’s book should have been called “The Book of Lies.”

“Those of us who actually lived the situation know what is fact and what is fiction,” he said. “In my opinion, this ‘work’ is fiction with a few factual innuendos thrown in.”

Jimenez told the Tribune he was traveling to Gillette with his partner to accept the award.

“The fact that this has been labeled as anti-gay is absolutely ridiculous,” he told the paper. “I have been out since the 1970s.”

More from the Tribune:

Former Albany County Attorney Cal Rerucha, now the Carbon County attorney, said the book is correct. The case Rerucha said he tried was felony murder and the motive was robbery.

He remains adamant that Shepard's death wasn't a hate crime.

"If methamphetamine wouldn’t be in this case, we wouldn’t have had a murder,” he said.

Here's a recent interview with Jimenez on his book:

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