Gay Mississippi Mayoral Candidate’s Brutal Murder Being Investigated as a Hate Crime

Brutal murder

Did Lawrence Reed commit a hate crime?

A gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi was found brutally murdered and the man accused of the crime says he did it in self defense.

Marco McMillian had been running for mayor of Clarkesdale, MS when his body was found near the Mississippi River just outside the small town on Feb. 27.

According to the accused man’s sisters, 22-year-old Lawrence Reed was with the mayoral candidate when he called to say he was being coerced into engaging in gay sex acts with McMillian.

The unidentified sister claims Reed called claiming “the dude (McMillian) was trying to rape him. He was exposing himself to him, playing with himself, telling him to do things and then he’ll take him home.”

Next thing the sisters knew, Reed was at their door, totally inconsolable and asking God for forgiveness for allegedly choking McMillian to death using his wallet chain.

Driving away in McMillian’s truck, Reed smashed into an oncoming car and was subsequently taken to the hospital.

And if that all wasn’t grim enough, it gets ickier.

According to a local ABC affiliate, the victim’s family says McMillian was “beaten, dragged, and burned.”

The story is as puzzling as it is stomach-turning and the FBI is on the case trying to sort out the motivating factors. Specifically, if it should be tried as a hate crime.

One big question is whether McMillian and Reed, who’s now in custody, had a relationship leading up to the politician’s death. And, if so, what was the nature of their relationship? If it was sexual prior to the crime, what would have made Reed suddenly “snap” and kill McMillian?

Unlike many other state and federal laws, Mississippi’s hate crime laws do not cover sexual orientation and the FBI has stepped in only as local authorities have, up to this point, ruled out hate crime charges.

And that has McMillian’s friends concerned.

“This tragedy,” said advisor and friend to McMillian, Dr. Ravi K. Perry, “brings to light the inequitable protections for LGBT persons throughout various states, where literally you can cross states lines and lose rights. We need to ensure Marco’s life and legacy is given the same attention he gave so many others’ lives.”

(via Towleroad)