MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Beaten, dragged and burned. That's what Marco McMillian's family says happened to the mayoral candidate when he was killed last week. The family released the statement late Sunday night.
His accused killer, Lawrence Reed, had his first appearance in court Monday in Shelby County. He will be extradited to Coahoma County, Mississippi sometime Monday evening.
Lawrence Reed waived his right to an extradition hearing during his court appearance Monday. He is charged with the murder of Marco McMillian, an openly gay candidate for Clarksdale Mayor.
McMillian's family has been quiet since the candidate was killed until late Sunday night, when a spokesperson released this statement:
"This is a very difficult time for us, the family of Marco Watson McMillian of Clarksdale, Mississippi, as we have lost our beloved son, family member, and friend. In this time of our great loss, we want to thank everyone for their words of comfort and support.
We know that Marco was brutally murdered. His body was found on Wednesday, February 26, 2013, beaten, dragged and burned (set afire). This was reported in our meeting with the local coroner on two occasions. We were informed that the official autopsy report could take two to four weeks to complete. We feel that this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found. Marco, nor anyone, should have their lives end in this manner.
We are asking that a full and thorough investigation be conducted into the tragic death of Marco. We feel it is important to share this information to dispel speculations surrounding his death.
Marco, was loved by his family and a valued member of the Clarkdale community, as he offered himself to serve this community as mayor. He was actively campaigning to improve the quality of life for the citizens in his beloved hometown. Marco had shared with his family and close friends that he was very concerned for his personal safety. We will missed our beloved son and family member."
A spokesperson with the Coahoma County Sheriff's Office wouldn't comment on the family's claims, and the Coroner says the family's description of McMillian's death is inaccurate.
Reed's friends still say the 22-year-old acted in self defense.
"Lawrence, he wouldn't do nothing like that," said Kamilla Evans, Reed's roommate. "It was a defense case. It had to have been a defense case because he wouldn't do nothing like that."
Marco McMillian's funeral is Saturday, March 9 in Clarksdale.