A 22-year-old man was charged with murder Thursday in the death of a mayoral candidate in the Mississippi Delta.
The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release that Lawrence Reed, seen below, of Shelby was charged in the death of Marco McMillian. McMillian, 34, was a candidate for mayor of Clarksdale and was well-known in the community and beyond.
An investigation began Tuesday when a man crashed McMillian’s SUV into another car on U.S. Highway 49 near the Coahoma and Tallahatchie county lines. The candidate wasn’t in the car.
In 2004 Ebony Magazine recognized Marco McMillian, seen below with former President Clinton, as one of the nation’s “30 up-and-coming African Americans” under age 30. McMillian’s body was found near the Mississippi River levee Wednesday morning between Sherard and Rena Lara, Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith has said.
The body was sent for an autopsy, and the cause of death hasn’t been made public. The sheriff’s department has not released a possible motive for the crime. McMillian was considered to be among Mississippi’s first viable political candidates and was openly gay.
Campaign spokesman Jarod Keith has said McMillian’s campaign was noteworthy because he may have been the first openly gay man to be a viable candidate for public office in Mississippi. McMillian forged ties while serving for four years as international executive director of the historically black Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
He was CEO of MWM & Associates, described on its website as a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations. In addition to his role at the fraternity from 2007 to 2011, McMillian had previously worked to raise funds as executive assistant to the president at Alabama A&M University and as assistant to the vice president at Jackson State University, according to his campaign.
McMillian had served as international executive director of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. His campaign said he may have been the first openly gay man to be a viable candidate for public office in Mississippi.