Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Candidate for Mayor Slain in Mississippi; Man Taken Into Custody

Marco McMillian, 34, murdered gay candidate for mayor.

Marco McMillian, 34, murdered gay candidate for mayor.

Coahoma County, Mississippi – Police have identified the body of a popular gay mayoral candidate, discovered beside a levee near the Mississippi River.  Marco McMillian, 34, was up until his death a candidate for the Mayorship of Clarksdale, Mississippi in a hotly contested race.  Investigators do not believe that politics played a role in the murder of the well-liked CEO of MWM and Associates, widely known as the first truly viable gay candidate for elective office in the State of Mississippi.  McMillian had been reported missing since Tuesday.

NBC News reports that a 22-year-old Clarksdale man who was behind the wheel of McMillian’s stolen sport utility vehicle when it wrecked, has been airlifted to a Memphis, Tennessee hospital.  Police have taken Lawrence Reed into custody, but refuse to say more about whether Reed is a person of interest in the murder investigation of McMillian.  Reed was involved in a head-on collision in Coahoma County, and is reported to be in good condition.

The Clarion Ledger has done major reporting on this story throughout the hunt for McMillian, whom Ebony Magazine listed in 2004 as one of the “30 up-and-coming African Americans under 30.”  McMillian sought to win the Clarksdale mayoral race to succeed Henry Espy Jr., brother of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, who is stepping down after serving the post for twenty years.  The news of McMillian’s murder rocked the Clarksdale community.  A spokesperson for the McMillian campaign, Jarod Keith, in a statement following the press conference where McMillian’s death was announced, “We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life. Tragically, that life has been cut short.”  One of his opponents in the race, Bill Luckett, offered his sympathies to McMillian’s family and supporters, calling him  “a very articulate, clean-cut young man. It’s a bizarre and tragic situation that deeply saddened [me].”  The Victory Fund, an LGBT political organization that supports gay candidates for public office, issued a brief statement of grief and condolence that read, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Marco McMillian, one of the 1st viable openly LGBT candidates in Mississippi.” 

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is on the case, according to The Advocate.  As best as is known at this time, McMillian picked up a man who subsequently killed him and stole his vehicle.  All eyes now turn to the man taken into custody from McMillian’s wrecked vehicle.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, gay men, GLBTQ, LGBTQ, Mississippi, Victory Fund | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Candidate for Mayor Slain in Mississippi; Man Taken Into Custody

Gay Teen’s Home Defaced By Homophobic Vandals: “God Don’t Love You”

Pace, Florida – A gay Florida teenager found his trailer home covered inside and out with homophobic slurs, swastikas, and obscene images upon returning home on February 3.  Jesse Jeffers, 18, who is openly gay, says it was an act of retaliation that focused on his sexual orientation. When Jeffers and his boyfriend came back to his mobile home in Pace, a town of 7,400 in the Panhandle of Florida, near Pensacola, they were angered and astonished by the vandalism.  Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Deputies are calling the act an anti-gay hate crime because it centered on Jeffers’ identity as a gay man, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

Jesse Jeffers, gay teenager, outside his vandalized trailer home.

Jesse Jeffers, gay teenager, outside his vandalized trailer home.


Jeffers, who had moved into the trailer adjacent to his mother’s home three months prior to the vandals’ attack, says that he knows who did this to him. At least one person had threatened him before the attack.  Huffington Post reports that the gay teen, who is working on his GED certificate, has been the target of homophobic bullying in Santa Rosa County schools for years.  The hatefulness of the act has caused Jeffers to fear living in his home any longer, and has taken up residence with his mother again. Though a neighbor’s surveillance camera supposedly caught the vandals in the act, and authorities have promised that warrants will probably be issued in the hate crime case “soon,” Jeffers is cautious and fearful for his safety.  “I don’t know if they’re going to do it again,” Jeffers told the Huffington Post. “Or if there are copycats. It’s basically a small town with a bunch of rednecks.”Until the perpetrators are caught and convicted, and some form of restitution kicks in, Jeffers fears he will have to endure the disapproval of his community.  He cannot afford to repair the damage and repaint the trailer. The glaring slurs, swastikas, and images spray painted on his trailer have made it “a tourist attraction,” according to Jeffers.  “Everybody drives by every day and stops and looks,” he said.

Even religion was employed by the vandals in their attempt to terrorize the teen.  Inside the mobile home, near the large red swastika on the ceiling and the defaced drapery, Jeffers’ attackers scrawled “God don’t love you,” employing a heart sign in place of the word “love.” Jeffers shows considerable maturity in the face of such religious-based bigotry.  As he told the Pensacola News Journal, “Sexuality doesn’t matter. God loves you either way.”

One of the proofs of God’s approval is the vigorous assistance of an LGBT-friendly church in the area that is raising funds to help with the cleanup of Jeffers’ home.  News of the attack is spreading since the News Journal first published its story in early February. Donations and offers of assistance have been accumulating from sympathetic people from the region and around the country since the vandals shattered the teen’s sense of security.  “There’s a bunch of nice people out there that I didn’t even know existed that care,” Jeffers said to Huffington Post.

Meanwhile, the perpetrators are still at large, and the investigation is proceeding.  Jeffers may prove to be one of the luckier members of the LGBT community in the Sunshine State. Florida officials report that in 2011, for the first time in history, the number of physical assaults against gay and lesbian people was larger than the number of cases of property damage.


February 18, 2013 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Bullying in schools, Florida, gay teens, GLBTQ, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Slurs and epithets, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, vandalism | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


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