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In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.
Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly the "Matthew Shepard Act" or "Shepard/Byrd Act" for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law.
During that time, Shepard attended the American School in Switzerland (TASIS), from which he graduated in May 1995.
There, he participated in theater and took German and Italian courses.
Matthew had a great passion for equality and always stood up for the acceptance of people's differences." In February 1995, Shepard was beaten and raped during a high school trip to Morocco.
A day later, she was informed that Shepard was HIV positive and that she might have been exposed to the virus due to cuts on her hands.
After taking an AZT regimen for several months, she tested negative for HIV.
Significant media coverage was given to the killing and to what role Shepard's sexual orientation played as a motive in the commission of the crime.
The prosecutor argued that Mc Kinney's murder of Shepard was premeditated and driven by greed.