When she learned of the beating, she said, she recalls thinking, "It's either money or dope, yeah. He'd be the perfect target especially because Aaron knew him."
Another Laramie resident, Elaine Baker, says she also saw McKinney and Shepard together in a social situation. Several weeks before the murder, she spent a night on the town in Doc O'Connor's limousine with a group that included both McKinney and Shepard.
"In the back of the limo, there was me, Stephanie, Doc, Aaron, Matthew Shepard," she said.
As word spread of the attack on Shepard, other people who knew him also suspected the drug scene might somehow be involved.
In fact, former Laramie police Cmdr. Dave O'Malley got a call from a friend of Shepard suggesting that. Nevertheless, O'Malley doesn't believe drug use motivated the attackers.
"I really don't think he was in a methamphetamine-induced rage when this happened. I don't buy it at all," O'Malley said. "I feel comfortable in my own heart that they did what they did to Matt because they [had] hatred toward him for being gay," he said.
Shepard's mother, Judy, also said she doesn't buy into theories that the attack was primarily driven by drugs and money rather than hatred of her son's homosexuality.
"I'm just not buying into that. There were a lot of things going on that night, and hate was one of them, and they murdered my son ultimately. Anything else we find out just doesn't, just doesn't change that fact," she said.
O'Connor had known Aaron McKinney for years. In flush times, McKinney partied in O'Connor's limos, and, in fact, McKinney and his girlfriend lived for a while in an apartment on O'Connor's property.
O'Connor says he never heard McKinney express any anti-gay attitudes. In his interview with Vargas, O'Connor reveals his belief that McKinney is bisexual. "I know of an instance where he had a three-way, two guys and one gal," he said. "Because he did it with me."
O'Connor added, "I know he's bisexual. There ain't no doubt in my mind. He is bisexual."
McKinney's former girlfriend Price says she now believes that as well. "He was always into trying to talk me into having a three-way with one of his guy friends," she said.
In her prison interview with McKinney, Vargas asked McKinney directly whether he had had any sexual encounters with men. McKinney said no.
Displaying a strong aversion to homosexual sex was a tactic McKinney tried at his trial. His lawyers developed a so-called "gay panic defense," claiming homosexual abuse McKinney suffered as a child caused him to overreact to a sexual advance by Shepard and triggered the violent attack.
Hoping a Wyoming jury would be sympathetic to gay panic did not pay off. McKinney was found guilty and wound up with two life sentences, assuring he'll spend the rest of his life in prison, the same sentence received by his accomplice Russell Henderson.
"It's really hard for me to talk to Russ," McKinney said. "To see him in this situation, knowing that I'm the one that put him here."
But Henderson said he realizes he bears responsibility for Shepard's death.
"For a long time I thought that his death wasn't my fault. And then, as time has gone on, I got a better understanding to know that I could have prevented it and I could have stopped it, but I didn't. Matthew died because I didn't stop it," he said.