News & Politics

Burned, Beaten and Left for Dead: How Openly Gay Mayoral Candidate Was Allegedly Killed

Marco McMillian, an openly gay candidate for mayor in Mississippi, was found dead last week.

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The openly gay mayoral candidate from Clarksdale, Mississippi who was found dead last week was burned and beaten, according to his family.

The Associated Press reports that candidate Marco McMillian’s family received the information from the county coroner. McMillian’s godfather, Carter Womack, told the AP that “the coroner told family members that someone dragged McMillian's body under a fence and left it near a Mississippi River levee last week.”

“We feel that this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found,” McMillian’s campaign said in a statement.

McMillian’s death received national attention because his campaign said he was the first openly gay candidate for public office in the state. As AlterNet's Steven Hsieh noted, "reports characterize McMillan as a rising star with an already impressive record. The candidate served for four years as International Executive Director for the historically black Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. A statement released by the fraternity notes that McMillan 'was responsible for securing the first federal contract to raise the awareness of the adverse impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color.'”

One 22-year-old man named Lawrence Reed has been charged with murdering McMillian.

The AP reports that "an investigation began Feb. 26 after McMillian's SUV slammed head-on into another vehicle on U.S. Highway 49 near the Coahoma and Tallahatchie county lines. Reed was driving the car, but McMillian was not in it, authorities say. McMillian's body was found the next day."

Reed is currently being held without bond in Tennessee, before being likely extradited to Mississippi. 

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.