Police in Mississippi charged a 22-year-old man with the murder of a gay mayoral candidate on Thursday, amid conflicting accounts about the nature of the two men’s relationship.
WPTY-TV reported on Friday that Lawrence Reed was accused of killing 34-year-old Marco McMillian. Authorities found McMillian’s body was discovered near a levy hours after Reed was spotted by officials in McMillian’s SUV on Tuesday, after allegedly crashing it into another vehicle. Reed is currently listed in good condition at a local hospital and is being guarded by police.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that investigators believe Reed strangled McMillian before dumping the body in a levee. However, they are not treating the case as a hate crime.
McMillian’s mother, Patricia McMillian, said in a Feb. 28 statement she did not think her son was killed because of his sexuality, saying, “He did not announce in public that he was gay.”
According to Reed’s friends, WPTY reported, the two men became friends after meeting at a bar in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where McMillian was running as a Democratic mayoral candidate. They were supposed to go to a party on Feb. 25, when McMillian allegedly drove Reed to an unfamiliar area, at which point Reed called his girlfriend.
“She said she was listening to everything that was going on,” said one friend of Reed’s, Derric Crump. “The guy was trying to get Lawrence to have a homosexual activity.”
But one of McMillian’s friends told the newspaper that the former consulting firm CEO and Reed were romantically involved.
“They were having an affair,” said the friend, Carlos Jones, adding that McMillian and Reed “got to tussling” before McMillian’s death.
Reed is scheduled to make his first court appearance on March 4.
Watch WPTY’s report on Reed being charged with McMillian’s murder.