Gay mayoral candidate found dead in Mississippi -- homicide suspected.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi mayoral candidate was found dead Wednesday and the case is being investigated as a homicide, authorities said.
Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith said the body of 34-year-old Marco McMillian was found on the Mississippi River levee Wednesday at about 10 a.m.
The 34-year-old McMillian was running for mayor of Clarksdale, a Blues hub where actor and Mississippi native Morgan Freeman co-owns a music club with Howard Stovall, a Memphis entertainment executive, and Bill Luckett, who also is running for mayor.
Meredith said the body was found between Sherard and Rena Lara and was sent to Jackson for an autopsy. He declined to provide further details or speculate on the cause of death.
The sheriff's office said Wednesday in a news release on its Facebook page that a person of interest was in custody, but had not been formally charged.
The department also said authorities had been looking for McMillian since a man crashed the candidate's car into another vehicle on Tuesday. McMillian was not in the car. The sheriff's office said deputies responded to the two-car crash on U.S. Highway 49 South near the Coahoma and Tallahatchie county lines on Tuesday about 8 a.m.
Will Rooker, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, declined to release other details. He said the investigation is ongoing.
McMillian was a Democrat. Campaign spokesman Jarod Keith 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.
Clarksdale, a town of about 17,800 people, is well known to Blues fans as the home of the crossroads, where Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil for skills with a guitar.
The town is also home to Ground Zero Blues Club, of which Freeman, an Academy Award winning actor, is part owner.
Dennis Thomas, 33, who works at Abe's Barbeque, said McMillian's death has been the talk of the town.
"There's a lot of people upset about it. Why would somebody want to do something like that to somebody of that caliber? He was a highly respected person in town. He's been in the community helping out a lot," Thomas said.
McMillian was hoping to win the office being vacated by Mayor Henry Espy Jr., the brother of Mike Espy, a former congressman and U.S. Agriculture Secretary. Henry Espy decided not to seek re-election after more than two decades in office. Espy's son, state Rep. Chuck Espy, and Luckett were among the other well-known candidates in the race.
McMillian's campaign said in a statement that words cannot describe "our grief at the loss of our dear friend."
"We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life," the statement said.
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute tweeted: "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Marco McMillian, one of the 1st viable openly (hash)LGBT candidates in Mississippi."
McMillian was CEO of MWM & Associates, described on its website as a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations. He had recently served as international executive director of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
Jimmy Hammock, the fraternity's international president, praised McMillian in a Facebook post for making "an incredible difference in his community and in Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity."
A statement from the historically black fraternity said he had secured the first federal contract to "raise the awareness of the adverse impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color for the Fraternity." It noted that Ebony Magazine had recognized him in 2004 as one of the nation's "30 up-and-coming African Americans" under age 30.
McMillian also worked at Alabama A&M University and Jackson State University in the past. Photos on McMillian's website show him with a younger Barack Obama and with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat.
Oh no !!! The Smiley Face Killer strikes again.
So an openly gay black man who has a public life in Mississippi and is the first, and presumably only openly gay candidate in this southern state, and, yet, he is shit upon on DataLounge?
How fucking typical of the superficial, asshole masses who populate the gay community and only give a flying fuck about themselves when their brothers and sisters are dying.
The only thing this poor man's death has earned on DL is contempt? Why?! I'm alarmed by the self-loathing. Why are you intent on shitting on the dead? Please tell me something I'm not aware of -- like he fucks delivery room neonates in the mouth. That would truly be worthy of the contempt and derision you're displaying, self-loathing cunts.
I'd best be callin' my beloved aunt Jessica, who jes' happens to be nearby in Tupelo for a mystery writers' convention, an' ask if she'll come ovah an' investigate this here mystery!
R4, isn't it rather extreme of you to condemn the entire DL community over a thread that was only three posts long when you arrived?
Perhaps, R6, but it's just that I've seen some really hateful and unsympathetic stuff here. I know I'm impatient and, hopefully, wrong. It's just that I'm probably around a young and childish age at 48 when I still get upset by things that "aren't fair." I know.
I have not detected the contempt from r1-r3 that you felt, R4.
Here's an update in a local MS newspaper.
This is so incredibly sad. Mississippi of all states needs more people like this, not fewer.
r9, there are no problems anymore in Mississippi. We have a black President now, and it's time to end all this racial entitlement stuff.
"Politics likely wasn’t a factor in McMillian’s death, said Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith."
(from article at R8)
Ugh, I hope the killer (Reed) was not a trick picked up online or something. You know, the kind of crime that ends up with people saying "well, see now, that homosexual lifestyle..."
Sad all around. I admire those who try to change things in the Deep South but it seems like trying to push a boulder up a hill.
[quote]The only thing this poor man's death has earned on DL is contempt?
Yes, R4. EVERY person at DL is a hate-monger and is happy this guy is dead. EVERY person at DL is self-loathing.
Happy now, R4? Is that what you want to see as you sit there in your drugged-out haze?
OK, R8, you win. Let's strike out "contempt."
How about flippancy and lack of respect for what the man had accomplished, was accomplishing, and likely would have accomplished?
I recall a similar thing happening years ago in the threads about the murdered black professor in Ohio.
If you're going to go snarky and flip and hold to DL past standards, at least be clever or funny. Y'all are just dreary.
I am serious about the lover's spat thing. I saw the news report last night that a man suspected of the murder was in custody.
I merely shorthanded what R11 has opined, so lighten up R13 and go after more suitable targets for your wrath. mmmKAY?
r4, that's a complete overreaction based on the three posts (which were frankly not so bad), and you know it. You were spoiling for a fight because for some reason you identify with this poor dead man.
And r8, yes, you are going to find quite a lot of flippancy on datalounge. If you haven't realized that by now, I hope you've only just now fallen off the turnip truck and landed here.
Otherwise you're assuming the same hypocritical stance other people assume here when someone they admire or identify with is is treated flippancy: "Yes, mock everyone else, be flippant about everything else, because that's why I came here in the first place--but you dare not be flippant not the person whom I admire! And you're all automatically supposed to know that [X person] is always to be treated reverentially!"
If you want some sort of thread where we admire this guy's achievements and accomplishments, you both are absolutely on the wrong forum, and you know it. All the finger-wagging and scolding in the world is not going to change that--it just makes you sound like hypocrites.
[quote]--but you dare not be flippant not the person whom I admire!
That should read "you dare not be flippant about the person whom I admire!"
I think you misinterpreted my posts, r15, but whatever.
This is DL, and I accept that.
From what I read, Clarksdale isn't one of those stereotypical Mississippi towns we think about.
Give me a break, R15. Why don't you wander over to the thread about the Kentucky man, then come back and tell me why no one there is snarking on that poor fellow.
Probably a paid hit. When the Coroner pronounces it couldn't have been political, you can be certain that it was.
[quote]tell me why no one there is snarking on that poor fellow.
Well, he has llamas.
Some are speculating that this is one of obama's former lovers. Many people think oBAMA is a nancy
"I cover the waterfront"
"Nice truck, f-g. I'll take it."
Tragedy in the South.
I have been to Clarksdale. It has some money and recognition now and is better off than it was when mired in poverty. But a lot of beefs and grudges run deep in a way outsiders don't understan.
Update: Today the family issued a statement in part saying McMillian was "Beaten, dragged and set on Fire."