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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Crime Bulletin: Militarized Policing

     American law enforcement has become zero tolerant, more violent, and militarized. Local, state, and federal teams of elite paramilitary special weapons and tactic (SWAT) units regularly patrol big city streets and break into homes unannounced in search of drugs. Officers on routine patrol carry high-powered semi-automatic weapons. Virtually every law enforcement agency in the country either has its own SWAT unit or has officers who are members of a multi-jurisdictional force. The barrier between the    U. S. Military and domestic law enforcement has broken down. The police have become soldiers, and military personnel now function as civilian law enforcers.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Justin Bieber: Tough Guy

     Justin Bieber could have attended an all-girl's school and no one would have been the wiser. He would have been bullied, however, by his less attractive classmates. Now that the pop star is growing up, his handlers are trying to make him more manly. That daunting task probably explains the recent bad-boy stunts, the backwards-worn baseball hat, and the prison-pants look. The latter affectation makes him look more like a rich mental patient than a hard-ass, and is perhaps a lot closer to reality.

     But how can a pop singer with body guards, who looks like a J. C. Pennys' model, come off as a bad hombre? (Tattoos alone won't do the trick.) One way might be to provoke a rich neighbor into filing a battery charge against you.

     It seems that the singing bad-boy has upset the residents of his gated Calabasas, California enclave by speeding around the place in his Ferrari. (Now there's a tough guy vehicle.) One of Bieber's irate neighbors, on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, reportedly showed up at the pop star's mansion and asked him to stop driving around the enclave at 100 mph. Bieber lives on a street called Prado Del Grandioso. (No kidding. It must be rough for kids growing up on this Boulevard of Hard Knocks.)

     According to the 47-year-old business man who confronted Bieber, the 19-year-old spit in his face, and threatened to kill him. I tend to believe the complainant because tough guys don't spit, they simply kick your ass. Moreover, after the incident, Bieber's security team (he has a team of bodyguards) escorted the spit victim off the singer's estate. The neighbor called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office which dispatched a couple of deputies to the scene.

     Bad Boy Bieber has denied committing battery, and spitting with the intent to look tough.

     Last May, on the mean streets of Calabasas, Bieber struck a paparazzi as he snapped pictures of the singer and his squeeze, Selena Gomez. The assault took place at the Commons at Calabasas Shopping Center. Bieber allegedly kicked the photographer in the lower abdomen. (You never know when those martial art lessons will come in handy. Instead of banning guns, we should outlaw those men with cameras who harass our poor celebrities.)

     

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Judge Judy's Son, D.A. Adam Levy, Accused of Influencing Rape Investigation of His Live-In Trainer

     On Wednesday night, March 20, 2013, police officers arrested 35-year-old Alexandru Hossu on two counts of first degree rape. Hossu stands accused of having engaged in forced sex with a 12-yeasr-old girl on October 24, 2010 in the town of Southeast, a Putnam County community sixty miles north of New York City.

     Hossu, a Romanian national, has been living in the United States on a work visa that expired in 2000. He faces up to 25 years in prison, and eventual deportation. Hossu is being held in the Putnam County Jail on $100,000 bond.

     The district attorney of Putnam County, Adam Levy, reluctantly recused himself from the Hossu case which is being handled by a prosecutor from neighboring Westchester County. Levy has been accused of trying to influence the criminal investigation of Alexandru Hossu. This accusation of official interference has been leveled by Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith.

     Sheriff Smith has alleged that Mr. Hossu has been living with D. A. Levy in his million-dollar home in the upscale Brewster section of Southeast. Hossu worked as the prosecutor's in-house personal trainer. (How many prosecutors can afford a million-dollar mansion and a live-in trainer?)

     Adam Levy has issued a statement that Alexandru Hossu moved out of his mansion six months ago, and his office has supplied the media with two current addressed for the rape suspect. These two locations, however, were found not to be residential addresses. The district attorney claims no knowledge of his personal trainer's immigration status, and denies having interfered with the Hossu investigation.

     This case has caught the attention of the local media because Adam Levy's mother is Judy Schnendlin, TV's Judge Judy. That explains the mansion, and the personal trainer. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Crime Bulletin: The Amanda Knox Acquittal Overturned

     In November 2007, Seattle exchange student Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, were arrested by the Italian police for the murder of their fellow University of Perugia student, British born Meredith Kercher. Prosecutors, at the 2009 murder trial, argued that Kercher had been the unwilling victim of a drug-fueled game of rough sex gone wrong. Kercher's half-naked corpse was discovered under a blanket in her bedroom. Her throat had been slit. Knox, then 20, and Sollecito, 24, were found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

     An Italian appellate court, in October 2011, overturned the murder convictions on grounds the prosecution's evidence--unreliable witnesses and questionable DNA analysis--didn't support the government's theory of the case. The inmates were released from prison. Amanda Know moved back to Seattle where she's a creative writing student at the University of Washington. (She has written a book about her case that's awaiting publication. I presume the book is nonfiction.)

     Italian prosecutors appealed the conviction reversal to the Court of Cassation, Italy's highest judicial body. On March 26, 2013, the high court overturned the appellate court's acquittal, and ordered a new trial. The decision was not based on the merits of the prosecution's case, but on procedural issues.

     While the U.S. and Italy are parties to an extradition treaty, it's not a given that it will be honored in the Knox case. If she is not returned to Italy, she could be tried in absentia.   

Monday, March 25, 2013

Crime Bulletin: Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz Retires Under Pressure

     Mayor Martin Chavez appointed Ray Schultz to the position of Albuquerque Police Chief in 2006. Three years later Mayor Richard Berry reappointed him to the job. Since Chief Schultz's reappointment, an unusually high percentage of Albuquerque police officers have been involved in cases of excessive force and police involved shootings.

     Since 2010, Albuquerque officers have shot more than 35 citizens, 18 of the shootings being fatal. This is one of the highest per capita police involved shooting rates in the country. This year the city awarded $10 million to the family of an Iraq War veteran shot to death by an Albuquerque police officer. The victim of the shooting had post-traumatic stress disorder.

     Critics of the Albuquerque Police Department blame the excessive law enforcement violence on a police culture of brutality. Last year, several Albuquerque officers were reprimanded for controversial social media postings that included one by an officer involved in a fatal shooting who described his occupation as "human waste disposal." Instead of protecting and serving, this officer saw his job as using deadly force to clear the streets of undesirables. Clearly unsuited for police work, this man should have been fired.

     In March 2013, the embattled police chief announced that he would be retiring to, as they say, "spend more time with his family." In all fairness to Chief Schultz, because of police unions, firing a police officer has become extremely difficult, and in many cases impossible. Without the power to fire, police administrators do not have much control over the rank-and-file. This is particularly problematic in the era of militarized policing, and zero-tolerance law enforcement.

     In the old days, civilian safety came first, officer safety second. Today the priorities are officer safety and job security.

      

Friday, March 22, 2013

Crime Bulletin: State Senator Audrey Gibson's Ammunition-Control Proposal

     Florida Senator Audrey Gibson has recently introduced a bill that would require buyers of bullets to first undergo two-hours of anger-management counseling. Okay. But what about people who buy guns, knives, baseball bats, and cases of beer? What about couples about to get married, or on the brink of parenthood? I have an idea: why doesn't the federal government require all of us to take, say once a year, an anger-management course? (I think I need one now.)

     It is simply impossible to comprehend how people this stupid manage to get themselves elected to office. Even in Florida. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Denying Reality In Public Education

     David Fabrizio, the principal of the middle school in Ipswich, Massachusetts, shocked parents by canceling the school's March 2013 Honors Night. The idea behind the annual ceremony was to single out students who have earned high grade point averages. The honored students probably received some kind of certificate of achievement. You know, congratulations for a job well-done, keep up the good work kind of thing. The goal, I image, was to encourage and reward excellence. While it all seemed pretty harmless, Principal Fabrizio found the tradition hurtful to students who did not earn the right to be so honored. That's why he put an end to Honors Night.

     In Fabrizio's letter to parents, he laid out his rationale for ditching the ceremony. He wrote: "The Honors Night which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients' families can also be devastating (italics mine) to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class, but, who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade point average." (I wonder how many students actually fit this description. I would guess not many.) Principal Fabrizio also pointed out that many students with bad grades did not get support at home. What he was saying here is that successful students have an advantage. One advantage they might have is superior intelligence.

     As a kid who was a poor student with disappointed and embarrassed parents, I can say that I never resented the good students. Had everyone in my classes been as mediocre as me, I wouldn't have seen how hard work is rewarded through college scholarships and entrance into the better schools. When I enrolled into a college without admission standards, I knew I had a lot of catching up to do.

     While I wasn't happy as a failed student, denying the good students the recognition they deserved would not have made me or my parents feel any better.

     So, what was behind this movement in public education to wish away the reality that academically, not all kids are equal? I wonder if some education administrators resent the high-performing students and their boasting, too-proud parents. (It would be interesting to know what percentage of elementary and middle school educators were mediocre students themselves. It's no secret that in colleges and universities, education is one of the least demanding majors.)

     Principal Fabrizio had a background in coaching where the good athletes were worshipped and rewarded. The lesser athletes were humiliated and rejected. In sports, if you perform badly, you can get booed. To my knowledge, no one got booed in the classroom. When he coached, was Mr. Fabrizio concerned that his better athletes had physical advantages over the second-stringers? Did he ever start a hardworking player who was small, awkward, and slow? Would he play a kid who was lazy and out-of-shape? I don't think so. At the end of the season, there were team members who were not awarded varsity letters. Should they have been devastated?

     In my opinion, Principal Fabrizio's letter to school parents in Ipswich, Massachusetts as a load of pedagogical crap.

Criminal Justice Quote: Police Involved Shootings

A recent police study found that you're much more likely to get shot by a fat cop if you run.

Dennis Miller

Law Enforcement Fear Mongering

     Police administrators, aware that Americans tend to be wary of governmental authority, have never been above fear mongering. The "thin blue line" metaphor--the notion that a fragile barrier of uniformed cops stands between civilized society and hordes of rapists and looters--is a good example of scaring citizens into accepting and appreciating excessive police authority.

     Those skeptical of the "thin blue line" concept were proven right in the early 1970s following a series of experiments in Kansas City, Missouri by the Rand Corporation. The studies revealed no correlation between police patrols and crime prevention. Government fear mongering, from the "reefer madness" era through "thin blue line" period continues. Now, in addition to the specter of a society collapsing under the weight of drug addiction and crime, the fear of terrorism has propelled the move toward a more militarized, heavy-handed form of law enforcement. Today, getting on an airplane, or entering a public school, is like visiting someone in prison. Police officers patrol many big cities the way soldiers walk the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. Many politicians want to turn school teachers into armed police officers. (If I had a child in school, I'd advise him not to talk back to any teacher under stress who's packing heat.) If this trend isn't reversed, the day may come when the fear of crime and terrorism will be matched by the fear of the police.

     As Winston Churchill once said, "Democracy means that when there's a knock at the door at three in the morning, it's probably the milkman." Today, in America, it's certainly not going to be the milkman, and if it's a SWAT team at your door, forget the knock.



      

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Anthony Weiner: The Problem With Disgraced Politicians

     I would argue that if you like and respect politicians, you are either one yourself, want to be a politician, or are related to one. Or maybe you are just stupid. (Okay, that was a bit harsh.) But really, who likes these people? Who can like a sociopath?

     Since I harbor such an intense dislike of politicians, I love political scandals. The bigger the scandal, the better I like it. And I don't care which party the disgraced politician represents. In that regard, I am nonpartisan. While major political scandals raise my spirits, the feeling doesn't last very long. That's because disgraced politicians have a way of coming back. I call it the Bill Clinton Syndrome. Even Richard Nixon, the man behind Watergate, the mother of Twentieth Century political scandals, managed to inch his way back to a certain degree of respectability. (Death is usually a big help in that regard.)

     Politicians, as sociopaths, are incapable of experiencing shame or embarrassment. So instead of fading into obscurity with red faces, these people keep clawing their way back into the limelight and positions of power. They resist political oblivion the way cockroaches fight off insecticide.

Anthony Weiner

     The former U. S. Congressman from New York City is one of my all time favorite disgraced politicians. This is the guy who was run out of office in June 2011 for transmitting photographs of his private parts to female constituents. At first he claimed that someone had hacked into his cellphone. That was a lie, and he was caught with his pants down, as it were.

     The beauty of the Weiner scandal is that this man is such a pompous blowhard, pathological narcissist, and clownish fool. If you didn't thoroughly enjoy his fall from grace, you're obviously not a connoisseur of the political downfall. Or maybe you are, but don't like to admit it.

     Anthony Weiner, the media-whore congressman who, before his fall, was considered one of the leading contenders in the upcoming New York City mayoral race, has been chomping at the bit to make a political comeback. In March 2013, less than two years following his colossal disgrace, Weiner shelled out $106,500 for two polls to determine what New Yorkers think of him now. The polls were in anticipation of a possible Weiner run for mayor or city comptroller.

     While the news was bad for him, it was music to my ears. According to reports, New York voters have not forgotten what a fool he made of himself and the people who put him into office. This doesn't mean, of course, that we've heard the last of Anthony Weiner. Like all good sociopaths, he never admits defeat. That's the part I don't like. 

Crime Bulletin: Another Gang Rape in India

     On Friday night, March 15, 2013, a Swiss couple on a three-month vacation in India were camped out in the forest 400 yards off a road near the town of Datia in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The couple had ridden their bicycles from the temple town of Orchha. In the morning, they planned to bicycle to the city of Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. (A British woman in Agra visiting the Taj Mahal four days later had to jump from her hotel balcony to escape being raped by the hotel owner. The tourist injured her leg.)

     The Swiss woman and her male companion, that Friday night in the Indian woods, were set upon by seven or eight men. The intruders beat them, tied the man to a tree, then gang-raped the woman. After committing these crimes, the gang stole the tourists' mobile phone, laptop computer, and their money. ($188) The woman received treatment for her injuries at a hospital in the nearby city of Gwalior.

    In December 2012, as a result of six men gang-raping and killing a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus, the Swiss government issued a travel notice warning of the dangers of being raped in India. Historically, the police in India have treated rape as a victimless crime. That attitude, in the wake of the New Delhi case and other recent high-profile crimes against women in the country, might be changing. New laws and tougher law enforcement policies, however, will not, among large portions of India's male population, change the culture of rape in that nation. It is still a dangerous place for women.

     On March 17, 2013, the police in Datia arrested six men in connection with the Swiss tourists case. The next day these men were charged with rape, assault, and theft. All of the suspects are poor farmers from villages near the scene of the crimes. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Criminal Justice Quote: Prison Overcrowding

On average, drug prisoners spend more time in federal prison than rapists, who often get out on early release because of the overcrowding in prison caused by the drug war.

Michael Badnarik

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crime Bulletin: Harlem Mother Jumps to Her Death Holding Infant

     Cynthia Wachenheim lived in an high rise apartment building with her husband and 10-month-old son on Broadhurst Avenue near 147th Street in Harlem, New York. A city employee on maternity leave, the 44-year-old was being treated for postpartum depression.

      Neighbors, at noon on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, heard Wachenheim and her husband arguing before he left for work. At three-thirty that afternoon, the depressed mother, holding her baby in her arms, jumped from her eighth-floor window. She landed on her back, cushioning the baby's fall. The boy bounced off the dead woman's body and rolled onto the street crying. The infant arrived at the Harlem Hospital in critical but stable condition, and is expected to survive.

     The distraught mother left behind a 13-page handwritten suicide letter in which she acknowledged that she had been making her husband suffer. "You're going to think I'm evil," she wrote. 

Terrilynn Monette's Unexplained Death

     Terrilynn Monette grew up in Long Beach, California. After attending Wilson High School, she graduated from Cal State San Bernardino with a degree in elementary education. In 2011, the 24-year-old, pursuant to a program called "teachNOLA", moved to New Orleans to educate disadvantaged students. Monette ended up teaching second graders at Woodland West Elementary, a low-performing school in a poor section of the city.

     On Friday night, March 1, 2013, Monette and a few friends were drinking at Parlay's Bar in the Lakeview section of New Orleans. Later that night, at three-thirty in the morning, the bartender decided Monette had enough to drink, and cut her off. Telling her friends that she planned to sleep a few hours in her car before driving home, Monette walked out of the bar shortly after the barkeep refused to serve her any more alcohol.

     The school teacher, wearing a pink and yellow sweater and blue jeans, was last seen at five that morning sleeping in her black 2012 Honda Accord in the Harrison Avenue bar's rear parking lot. Some time after that, she and her car were no longer behind the bar. Terrilynn Monette simply disappeared.

     Deputies with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office searched a bayou located between Parlay's Bar and Monette's apartment. They found no signs of her or the vehicle. The Louisiana license number to the missing Honda was WUN 494. The missing woman was black, five-foot-eight, and weighs 180 pounds. She had shoulder-length hair and a tattoo on her left leg. The authorities had no suspects in her disappearance.

     The body inside a car found by a diver in Bayou St. John on Saturday June 8, 2013 was identified as the remains of the missing school teacher.

     Following the autopsy, the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office ruled Monette's cause of death as drowning. The forensic pathologist found no evidence of foul play. Moreover, the victim had not been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Members of Terrilynn Monette's family believed she had fallen asleep at the wheel.

    

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Criminal Justice Quote: Mass Murder

On the night of November 14th, two men broke into a quiet farmhouse in Kansas and murdered an entire family. Why did they do that? Two worlds exist in this country: the quiet conservative life and the life of these two men--the underbelly, the criminally violent. Those two worlds converged that bloody night.

Truman Capote regarding his book In Cold Blood about the 1959 murder of the Clutter family

Friday, March 15, 2013

Crime Bulletin: Getting past TSA with Fake Bombs

     Recently, a TSA undercover inspector with a fake bomb in his pants got through two checkpoints at the Newark-Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. He was actually cleared to board a plane.

     Had the bomb been real, it would have been powerful enough to blow a large hole in the aircraft which could have knocked the plane out of the sky.

     In a New York Post expose, a former TSA officer revealed that many TSA employees don't have high school degrees, and were employed by the TSA because they weren't qualified for decent jobs in the private sector. Some, according to the Post article, have criminal records. Not only that, these federal employees entrusted with our safety consider the TSA job a joke. Many hope to use the job as a stepping stone to a better federal gig.

     According to the whistleblower, undercover TSA inspectors carrying fake bombs and other weapons regularly get through security while security agents are patting down old ladies and harassing children in wheelchairs.

     Trusting government employees to keep us safe from airplane bombers is like relying on meth addicts and pedophiles to babysit our children. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Criminal Justice Quote: The Electric Chair

I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison.

W. C. Fields

Crime Bulletin: Accused Pedophile Mark Berndt's $30 Million Settlement

     In January 2012, Los Angeles detectives, after a year-long investigation, arrested Mark Berndt, a 61-year-old Miramonte Elementary School teacher in the Florence section of the city. The case came to light after a drugstore photo technician discovered images of children who had been blindfolded. Many of the students' mouths were covered with duct tape. A Los Angeles County prosecutor charged Berndt with 23 counts of lewd conduct which included allegations that he had spoon-fed semen to the blindfolded children as part of what he called a tasting game. The teacher also stands accused of feeding his students semen-tainted cookies, and placing cockroaches on their faces.

     Berndt has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is incarcerated in the Los Angeles County Jail in lieu of $23 million bail.

     The Miramonte school teacher had been the target of a 1993 criminal investigation triggered by a female student's claim that he had fondled her. Investigators dropped the case due to insufficient evidence.

     On March 12, 2013, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles United School District announced it will pay $30 million to settle the claims filed by the Miramonte parents of Berndt's violated students.

     When talking about the cost of public education, politicians never mention how much pedophiles cost the American tax payer. (See: "Mark Berndt: The Elementary Teacher From Hell," February 8, 2012 and "Pedophile Teachers in California Easier to Prosecute Than Fire," August 26, 2012.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mafia

I don't think I will do a Mafia character again. I want to get away from the violence a little bit, because it is starting to bother me personally.

James Gandolfini aka Tony Soprano. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Criminal Justice Quote: Casey Anthony

I've thought about adopting, which sounds weird to me saying it, but there are so many children that deserve to be loved.

Casey Anthony

Pedophiles Run Free in California Because Jails and Prisons Are Full

     There is a lot to dislike about California. The state is broke, taxes are too high, politicians live like kings and queens, and the public school system is one of the worst in the country. California is home to so many street gangsters, drug dealers, carjackers, drug abusers, wife beaters, rapists, burglars, and armed robbers, there is not enough room in its jails and prisons for the vast number of pedophiles who live and offend in the state. California is not a good place to raise children who are not from upper-middle-class or rich families. (That doesn't mean that the children of Hollywood celebrities are doing that well.)

     In 2006, citizens of the Golden state, aware that they were living in the pedophilia capital of America, got behind a law that required all "high-risk sex offenders" (pedophiles) who had served their time or had been released early on parole, to be tracked for life with GPS monitors. These fiber-optic cables that transmit signals to private contract monitoring centers, are attached to sex offenders' ankles with rubber straps. Whenever a GPS-monitored pedophile enters a forbidden area such as a school zone or a playground, the ankle device is activated. Monitoring personnel, upon receiving an alarm signal, alert the appropriate parole authority through text message or email. The ankle device will also go off if tampered with or removed. (While I don't object to tracking convicted child molesters the way zoologists monitor chip-embedded animals, the ideal solution would be to lock these perverts up for life.)

     GPS monitored pedophiles and other sex offenders out on parole who were arrested for violating the terms of their conditional releases, used to sit in jail for months awaiting their parole revocation hearings. If found guilty of breaking the terms of their parole, judges sent these violators back to prison for up to a year. The system, designed to deter sexual deviates from reoffending, didn't work because there were so many of them they, along with all of the other criminals in California, overwhelmed the state's prisons and jails. 

     In 2011, justices on the California Supreme Court ordered state correctional bureaucrats to significantly reduce prison overcrowding. (Instead of this ruling, the judges should have issued a warning to criminals that said: if you don't like living with three or four other inmates in a cell, go straight.) Many judges on the county level issued similar mandates to reduce local jail populations. In October of 2011, Governor Jerry Brown and the state legislature, to carry out the judicial decree, initiated the so-called "realignment program". Pursuant to this new corrections policy, prison inmates across the state were released on parole early. If those being shown the door prematurely were pedophiles and other high-risk sex offenders, they were fitted with the GPS tracking devices. 

     Under the realignment program, sex offenders who were incarcerated to await their parole hearings, could not be held in jail for more than 180 days. Following the implementation of the new policy, many jails simply refused to take sex offenders arrested for breaking parole. Most parole violators were released from custody within hours of their parole violation arrests.

     As a result of California's realignment program, tens of thousands of paroled, GPS-monitored pedophiles were serving their sentences out of the jail and prison system. Because these offenders knew they could break parole and not be incarcerated because jailers and prison wardens didn't want them, parolees started removing their GPS ankle devices. Alarms went off, parole violation warrants were issued (3,400 since October 2011), but no one was put back behind bars. (In California, if you're a pedophile, it's easier getting into college than jail.) While California's jails and prisons are no longer crowded, pedophiles and sex offenders who have shed their tracking devices are re-offending.

     Government, almost by definition, is dysfunctional. But criminal justice dysfunction that comes to the aid of child molesters and rapists is unforgivable. At some point in California's corrections field, inmate comfort trumped the welfare of children. It's just amazing what parents in that state put up with.

     

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Marco McMillian: The Murder of a Mississippi Mayoral Candidate

     Marco McMillian grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi, a town of 18,000 in the northwestern part of the state. In 2001, he graduated from W.E.B. DuBois Honors College at Jackson State University. After acquiring a masters degree in philanthropy and development from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, McMillian, a community organizer, moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he set up his own consulting firm. (Basically, as I understand it, McMillian showed nonprofit organizations how to obtain federal grants.)

     Late in 2012, after Clarksdale mayor Henry Espy, Jr. announced that he was not running for re-election after more than 20 years in office, McMillian moved back to the capital of Coahoma County. In January 2013, the openly gay, 34-year-old black man announced his candidacy for mayor of Clarksdale. The democrat said as mayor he would tackle the town's high rates of crime and poverty.

     At eight in the morning of February 26, 2013, on U.S. Highway 26 near the Coahoma/Tallahatchie County line about 25 miles from Clarksdale, Lawrence Reed, while driving McMillian's SUV, crashed head-on into another vehicle. The collision injured the 22-year-old Reed as well as the two occupants of the other car. Paramedics transported Reed by air to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. The driver and passenger of the other vehicle were treated in Mississippi.

     Because Marco McMillian was not in his SUV, Coahoma County Sheriff's Office deputies, suspecting foul play, began looking for him. Thirty minutes after responding to the traffic accident, officers found McMillian's body lying in the woods near the Mississippi-Yazoo levee ten miles from Clarksdale. A set of tire tracks led to the spot at the edge of the woods where the corpse had been dumped.

     The circumstances of this case led to police speculation that Mr. McMillian had been the victim of a carjacking committed by a stranger, or had been murdered for some other reason by a man he knew. According to a sheriff's office spokesperson, investigators did not believe the murder had anything to do with politics or the fact the victim was gay. The Coahoma County coroner has not revealed the cause of death in the case.

     On February 28, 2013, according to a sheriff's office news release, Lawrence Reed, a black man, had been charged in Marco McMillian's death. While his current address is unknown, Reed had once resided in a Clarksdale apartment complex. The police have not revealed the motive behind McMillian's murder.