This is a very powerful question. The play shows that the two men who took Matt for a ride and then beat him to death do not escape judgment. Russell Henderson changed his initial plea from not guilty to guilty and receives life imprisonment. At his allocution, the judge does not accept his supposed remorse. Aaron McKinney is shown to have put the events in motion that caused Russell's death and the jury is about to render a verdict and sentence against him of felonious murder, carrying the death penalty with it as a result. Matt Shepard's father intervenes and asks for a life sentence. He argues that the pain of Matt's death will not be alleviated with another death. In advocating life, Matthew's father hopes that some process of healing in both his life and the life of Laramie can begin.