First openly gay mayoral candidate in Miss. murdered

by Hannah Beausang

Twenty-two year old resident of Shelby, Miss. Laurence Reed has been charged with the murder of Marco McMillian, the first openly gay black mayoral candidate in Mississippi.

Last Wednesday, McMillian’s body was found by a Mississippi river levee miles from Clarksdale, Miss. The investigation began Tuesday after McMillian’s car was involved in a head-on collision. Reed was found with the wreckage and airlifted to a nearby hospital. According to ABC, McMillian’s body was located approximately 30 miles away from the accident scene.

The police said they have no evidence to prove the murder was a hate crime, according to The New York Times. In Mississippi, crimes related to sexual orientation aren’t classified as hate crimes.

The body has been examined, but the cause of death has not yet been publically announced.

According to The New York Times, a family member who remained anonymous to the press made a public statement about the death.

“I believe it was political,” the source said. “Maybe some people didn’t want him to run. Maybe he was a threat. They wanted Clarksdale to stay
the same.”

McMillian was a consultant for nonprofit organizations and had been involved in the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. He was well-known and active member of the community, focusing his campaign on the need to reduce poverty and crime, empowering the educational system, and boosting the local economy.

In 2004, Ebony Magazine named McMillian one of the nation’s 30 “up-and-coming African-Americans” younger than 30.