The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project

Dennis Shepard is Matthew Shepard’s father. During Aaron McKinney’s sentencing, Dennis makes a statement explaining the family’s decision not to ask for the death penalty for Aaron, in which Dennis describes how he and his family believe that rejecting the death penalty is the best way to honor Matthew’s memory and ensure that the Laramie community can heal. Dennis Shepard’s cogent argument for why the family is choosing life imprisonment for Aaron helps to set an example for the future of how to appropriately punish such extreme expressions of hatred and violence as Matthew’s murder.

Dennis Shepard Quotes in The Laramie Project

The The Laramie Project quotes below are all either spoken by Dennis Shepard or refer to Dennis Shepard. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dramatists Play Service edition of The Laramie Project published in 2001.
Act 3: Dennis Shepard’s Statement Quotes

I would like nothing better than to see you die, Mr. McKinney. However this is the time to begin the healing process. To show mercy to someone who refused to show any mercy. Mr. McKinney, I am going to grant you life, as hard as it is for me to do so, because of Matthew… I give you life in the memory of one who no longer lives. May you have a long life and may you thank Matthew every day for it.

Related Characters: Dennis Shepard (speaker), Matthew Shepard, Aaron McKinney
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

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Dennis Shepard Character Timeline in The Laramie Project

The timeline below shows where the character Dennis Shepard appears in The Laramie Project. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 3: Dennis Shepard’s Statement
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Next, the playwrights present Dennis Shepard’s statement. Dennis, who is Matthew Shepard’s father, says that Matthew was a winner, although... (full context)
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Media and Community Theme Icon
Dennis Shepard then talks about the death penalty, saying that he has heard people saying that... (full context)
Act 3: Aftermath
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Reggie Fluty talks about how she and investigator Rob Debree hugged and cried after Dennis Shepard’s statement, as did most other people in the courtroom. Rob Debree expresses his thankfulness... (full context)