Last week in Mississippi, the horribly mutilated dead body of Marco Watson McMillian, the first viable openly queer candidate to run for elected office in the state, was found dumped beneath a fence near the Mississippi River. McMillian’s murdered corpse showed signs of torture and beatings, as well as being dragged and set on fire, according to a statement issued on Sunday by his family.
What is a Hate Crime?
McMillian’s godfather, Carter Womack, said that the lifeless body of his 33-year-old godson was found naked, bruised and swollen. As an out political candidate, many relatives and people close to McMillian feared for his safety during his mayoral campaign in Clarksdale, Mississippi. A 22 year-old suspect named Lawrence Reed has now been charged with Marco’s savage killing.
The grieving family of this brave LGBT citizen is demanding that Marco’s killing be prosecuted as a hate crime. Inconceivably however, this sadistic and vile murder may not actually qualify as a hate crime under the state’s current narrow definition. The Atlanta Black Star reported that although:
McMillian photo via USA Today
“…Mississippi’s hate-crime law covers race, religion and gender, it doesn’t extend to sexual orientation, the local officials can seek federal assistance to pursue a federal hate crime, which does cover homosexuality. But Mississippi officials haven’t done so in this case.”