The family of slain political candidate Marco McMillian says he was beaten, dragged and set on fire, but the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department says it is not investigating the killing as a hate crime, sparking a furious debate about tolerance in the traditionally conservative state of Mississippi.
McMillian, who was openly gay, was found dead Wednesday near the Mississippi River levee outside Clarksdale. A man named Lawrence Reed, who crashed McMillian’s SUV the day before the mayoral candidate’s body was found, has been charged with murder. It’s not known what, if anything, happened between the two some have said the two were lovers who had a spat; others said that Reed was straight and McMillian’s unwanted sexual advances drove him to kill.
McMillian’s family said only that Marco McMillian had expressed concerned for his safety in the weeks before his death