Murder of gay Mississippi mayoral candidate to be investigated by FBI

Federal government could bring hate crime charges to high-profile case

Murder of gay Mississippi mayoral candidate to be investigated by FBI
07 March 2013

The FBI is getting involved in the murder investigation of Marco McMillian, a gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi who was murdered last week.

The agency ‘will assess evidence to determine whether federal prosecution is appropriate,’ Deborah Madden, an FBI public affairs specialist, tells USA Today.

A 22-year-old man named Lawrence Reedhas been charged with McMillian’s murder. The victim’s family says McMillian was beaten, dragged and set afire.

It is the FBI that could potentially bring hate crime charges to the case if it is determined that the murder was motivated by the fact that the victim was gay.

The state’s hate crime law covers race, religion and gender but not sexual orientation. But the federal Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act does cover homosexuality and local and state agencies can seek assistance to pursue such charges.

McMillian’s body was found last week near a river levee in the Mississippi Delta. The 34 year old was running for mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi.

A motive in the murder has not officially been disclosed.

But USA Today reports that sources close to the investigation say Reed may be claiming that it was triggered when McMillian allegedly made unwanted sexual advances toward him. This could result in a so-called ‘gay panic’ defense in court which has been used successfully in past cases.

There is also a theory that the murder might have been politically motivated, according to the newspaper.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Catholic preacher tells parents: 'Love your trans daughter as I do'

‘Love your children’, says Deacon Ray Dever of St Paul Catholic Church, Tampa, Florida
No thumbnail available

Nigerian government website hacked in gay rights attack

Hacker threatens they will reveal 'startling' corruption within Nigeria's government if the country's anti-gay law is not stopped
No thumbnail available

Lithuanian parliament committee: ‘constitution no barrier to gay civil partnerships’

A committee made up of Lithuanian lawmakers announced last Wednesday that they could find no constitutional barriers to the introduction of same-sex civil partnerships in the Baltic state
No thumbnail available

Laverne Cox nears the top of Time Magazine's reader poll

Trans actress is enjoying support from her fans who are determined to get her to the top of the online poll ahead of Time magazine’s 100 issue
No thumbnail available

Married gay couple gets two-year deportation reprieve

San Francisco residents Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk get help from two high-rankings members of U.S. Congress
No thumbnail available

Britain pledges to keep fighting for LGBT rights abroad

Annual report on human rights and democracy outlines steps UK took to promote LGBT rights abroad. Diplomats will continue the pressure despite a backlash
No thumbnail available

Saying he might one day 'fall in love with a man,' actor Freddie Fox refuses to identify as straight

'Most of my life to date has been as a straight man, but who knows what will happen next?'
No thumbnail available

Carly Rae Jepsen ‘praying’ Boy Scouts change mind on gay rights

GLAAD has praised the 'Call Me Maybe' singer for sending the right message to the BSA
No thumbnail available

HRC endorses anti-HIV drug

'When taken as prescribed by a knowledgeable healthcare provider, and paired with other safer sex practices, Truvada can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by upwards of 90 percent'
No thumbnail available

Kate Middleton hoax call radio station becomes 2-Gay FM

Radio station is turning over a rainbow-colored leaf for the day by speaking out in favor of marriage equality