Reed and McMillian reportedly met at a local Clarksdale bar. One version of the story has it that McMillian hit on Reed, an advance he did not warmly receive because, according to Reed’s friends, he is straight. Though McMillian’s friends say the two were romantically involved and had a fight before the mayoral candidate was killed.
Here is more from The Clarion-Ledger:
“They were having an affair,” said 18-year-old Carlos Jones. “They got to tussling.”Afterward, Reed allegedly drove around in McMillian’s SUV until 8:30 a.m. Tuesday when he collided head-on with another vehicle on U.S. 49 near the maximum-security Tallhatchie County Correctional Facility.
Reed was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, where he was still being held in stable condition as of Friday afternoon. The other driver was taken to a local hospital and has been released.
The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department charged Reed with murder in McMillian’s death, but the investigation is ongoing. Authorities are not considering the incident a hate crime, said Sheriff’s Department spokesman Will Rooker. Autopsy results won’t be released for at least three weeks pending toxicology tests, said Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith.
After a successful career that took him to Washington, D.C., and Memphis, McMillian had returned to his hometown a few months ago to enter the mayor’s race. The Democrat wanted to combat crime in the mostly black community, as well as boost educational standards and bring jobs to the unemployed.
He moved back in with his mother and stepfather, Patricia McMillian and Amos Unger, in the single-family, ranch-style home where he grew up an only child.
Family members grieved quietly in the McMillian-Unger living room Thursday. Although they would not be interviewed, they welcomed a steady stream of well-wishers who came and went throughout the day.
“I grew up with him,” said family friend and neighbor Tony Jackson. “He was always very intelligent, very quiet. Everybody knew his (sexual) preference, but it didn’t matter.”
Though she’s married now, Patricia McMillian was a single mother most of her son’s life, Jackson said. She doted on him and sheltered him from the streets. He went on to college, served as international executive director of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and held high positions at both Alabama A&M University and Jackson State University.
He most recently was CEO of his own consulting firm.
Jackson said the community embraced McMillian and was excited about his run for mayor; he had a strong chance of winning, he said.
“I have spoken to Sheriff (Charles) Jones and have confidence in the work that he and his deputies have put forth thus far,” Mississippi’s 2nd District congressman said in a statement issued late Tuesday, referring to the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department.“However, at the request of the family,” Thompson said, “I have asked that the FBI review the circumstances and evidence of this case to determine whether a violation of federal law has occurred and provide any necessary assistance to local and state law enforcement officials.”
Some want Reed to be charged with a hate crime but that seems unlikely as Mississippi does not consider sexual orientation in their hate crime legislation.