Last month we ran several stories on the murder of Marco McMillian, a candidate for Mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, who also happened to be the first viable, openly gay candidate for office in the state’s history. There were many signs from the killing that his death was not just a run of the mill robbery murder. McMillian was openly gay, black and a current candidate for political office. But what got him killed? Now we’re finding out.
I’d actually missed this story from the local ABC News station which ran all the way back on March 6th. But pretty clearly, Lawrence Reed, the man currently in jail charged with the murder, is going with a gay panic defense.
According to the article, Lawrence Reed’s sisters say that he called them shortly after the murder recounted a story of … well, McMillian being gay and Reed needing to kill him …
However, the sisters say Reed told them everything. Just after midnight on February 26, their youngest sister received a panicked call from Reed. One sister says, “He called at 12:11am and he told her that the dude (McMillian) was trying to rape him. He was exposing himself to him, playing with himself, telling him to do things and then he’ll take him home.”
He told the girl he was on a back road and couldn’t get away. A few minutes later a bruised, bloody and broken Reed showed up at their back porch. “He just looked like he had been through war…” one sister describes, “He was standing in the back, back here, telling God to forgive him. He didn’t mean to do it, and he was saying that he just wanted to die.”
She says when Reed couldn’t get away from McMillian, he used the chain on his wallet to choke the 200 pound politician. “He was shaking real hard, he was crying real hard, he was circling, begging for somebody to talk to him.”
I’m not sure if there’s anything I can add to that. Speaks for itself — the hoary and standard version of an old defense to killing a gay man. Literally makes me sick to my stomach imagining, through the thick cloak of Reed’s description, how this actually went down. Luckily, this ‘gay panic’ defense to murder doesn’t usually work as well as it once did, which was quite well. But we’ll keep on top of the story.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.