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Ramon Johnson

NEWS: Gay Candidate's Death Won't be Investigated as Hate Crime

By March 6, 2013

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The murder of 33-year-old Marco McMillian was a sober moment in the community. McMillian was a mayoral candidate in Clarksdale, Miss. As an openly gay candidate in the rural south, prospects of his success meant achievement for all of us. This made his murder even more devastating, not to mention untimely. McMillian's body was found beaten and set ablaze near the Mississippi River last week, and although his family would like his death to be investigated as a hate crime, authorities say the investigation will be treated as a standard open homicide.

Why not a hate crime? Mississippi's hate crime laws only over race, gender, and religion. The county coroner preliminary thoughts are that the killing wasn't politically motivated, yet the family reveals that McMillian had been concerned for his safety and attempts were made to talk him out of the race. It's still unknown whether his death was related to the mayoral campaign or sexuality (or both).

So far, 22-year-old Lawrence Reed remains the only suspect. He was driving McMillian's SUV when it was involved in a head on collision. There are rumors that McMillian knew Reed, but no substantial facts have been uncovered thus far.
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