Two new developments in the murder of Marco McMillian, the 34-year-old fundraising executive who was running for mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi. McMillian was gay. McMillian's body was found on February 27 near a Mississippi River levee. The case has gone viral across the web and attracted international attention.
First: McMillian's funeral was Saturday in Clarksdale. Hundreds attended the funeral and in the age-old tradition of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the Black church ... not one person mentioned that McMillian was gay or how he had already made history in Mississippi, reports the Huffington Post.
Instead, between a gospel choir’s offerings, national and local dignitaries drew attention to McMillian’s drive, talent and intellect. McMillian’s own family, friends and fraternity returned again and again to McMillian’s decision to move back to his small Mississippi hometown and run for mayor, his high-wattage smile, his fondness for debate and habit of referring to family and friends as “my love.” But not one person spoke into a microphone Saturday about the precedent McMillian had already set before he died.
McMillian ... died Feb. 26 and was believed to be the first openly gay politician to ever run for office in Mississippui. ... Marcus Chaney, another one of McMillian's fraternity brothers and an administrator at Jackson State University who had known McMillian since the politician was in high school, said in African-American communities and certainly the Deep South, gay men like McMillian don't face constant discrimination because they simply don't talk about their sexuality. "Being number 50, the bottom of the list in almost everything in Mississippi, I think there are just so many other things to fight -- namely poverty," he said.
Murder charges were filed against 22-year-old Lawrence Reed on February 28. Police investigators and several of the suspects' friends have said the suspect is claiming a disgusting "gay panic" defense.
And it gets worse: Friends of the suspect now say that Reed claims McMillian tried to "rape" him, reports Memphis' ABC 24.
The sisters say Reed told them everything. Just after midnight on February 26, their youngest sister received a panicked call from Reed. One sister says, "He called at 12:11am and he told her that 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."
He told the girl he was on a back road and couldn't get away. A few minutes later a bruised, bloody and broken Reed showed up at their back porch. "He just looked like he had been through war..." one sister describes, "He was standing in the back, back here, telling God to forgive him. He didn't mean to do it, and he was saying that he just wanted to die."
She says when Reed couldn't get away from McMillian, he used the chain on his wallet to choke the 200 pound politician. "He was shaking real hard, he was crying real hard, he was circling, begging for somebody to talk to him." The sisters say Reed was inconsolable and, they believe, suicidal. "When he left out, he just drove out, sped up and hit a white truck head on."
Reed made his first court appearance last week in Memphis, Tennessee. The suspect will be extradited to neighboring Mississippi
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced that it is monitoring" the case—but "has not indicated that it has opened its own investigation." This after a request by Rep. Bennie Thompson who was responding to family members who McMillian's death investigated as a hate crime.
McMillian's family initially insisted that his sexuality was a not factor in his death. The family now claims that McMillian was beaten, tortured and burned and believe it was a hate crime. The Coahama County coroner has disputed those reports, notes the Clarion-Ledger and the New York Times.
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