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Man charged in slaying of mayoral candidate

JACKSON, Miss. — A 22-year-old man was charged with murder Thursday in the death of a mayoral candidate in the Mississippi Delta.

Lawrence Reed of Shelby was charged in the death of Marco McMillian, the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department said. McMillian, 34, was a candidate for mayor of Clarksdale and was well known in the community of about 17,800 and beyond.

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An investigation began Tuesday when a man crashed McMillian’s SUV into another car on US Highway 49 near the Coahoma and Tallahatchie county lines. The candidate was not in the car.

McMillian’s body was found near the Mississippi River levee on Wednesday morning, county coroner Scotty Meredith has said. The body was sent for an autopsy, and the cause of death hasn’t been made public.

The sheriff’s department has not released a possible motive for the crime.

Campaign spokesman Jarod Keith has said 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.

McMillian, who was black, had forged ties while serving for four years as international executive director of the historically black Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Photos on McMillian’s website and Facebook page show him with a younger Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton, and US Representative John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat.

McMillian was chief executive of MWM & Associates, described on its website as a consulting firm for nonprofits.

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