22-year-old Charged With Murdering Miss. Politician

A 22-year-old man was charged with McMillian's murder.

ByABC News
February 27, 2013, 11:12 PM

Feb. 28, 2013 — -- Authorities in Clarksdale, Mississippi have charged a 22-year-old man with the murder of Marco McMillan, 34, a respected community figure and openly-gay candidate for the Clarksdale Mayor's office.

Lawrence Reed, of Shelby, MS was pulled from a wrecked car belonging to McMillian about thirty miles away from where McMillian's body was discovered in the woods near the Mississippi-Yazoo levee. He was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, and will be extradited to Mississippi once he is released from the hospital.

It was not immediately clear whether or not Reed has an attorney.

Sources told ABC News affiliate WPTY, McMillian had been strangled. The Coahoma County Sheriff's office told ABCNews.com they could not confirm a cause of death at this time, and that autopsy results on McMillian's body are expected within a day.

According to WPTY, Lawrence Reed's sister claimed Reed didn't know McMillian was gay, and that McMillian may have made sexual advances toward Reed in the car.

Jarod Keith, McMillian's campaign spokesperson, told The Associated Press McMillian's campaign was noteworthy because he may have been the first openly gay man to be a viable candidate for public office in Mississippi.

Keith told ABC News Radio he did not think McMillian's death was politically motivated or a hate crime.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute tweeted: "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Marco McMillian, one of the 1st viable openly #LGBT candidates in Mississippi."

McMillian was a magna cum laude graduate of the W.E.B. DuBois Honors College at Jackson State University and held a master's degree from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in the area of Philanthropy and Development, according to his website.

Photos on McMillian's website showed him in an undated photo with Barack Obama.

Clarksdale, Miss., is known as a blues music landmark. It is the location of the crossroads where, according to legend, bluesman Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for guitar prowess, the AP reported.

ABC News' Othon Leyva, Dee Carden, Jason Volack and The Associated Press contributed to this report.