Mysterious Mississippi murder stokes suspicions bred by an ugly past

Beaten. Dragged. Burned.

The words leave attorney Daryl Parks’ lips like a barrage of gunfire in the sanctuary of Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church, where people have gathered not for prayer but for answers.

Some wear “Justice for Marco” T-shirts. They are enraged over the investigation into the death of Marco McMillian, a young black gay mayoral candidate, whose broken body was discovered dumped downhill from a Mississippi River levee on February 26.

Parks’ words suggest the most heinous of murders. Here in the Mississippi Delta, they conjure even more: a chilling history of racial hatred.

“Don’t stop; don’t give up,” Parks says. “Somebody will explain the burn marks on his body. Somebody has to explain the torture he went through.”

“Yes, yes,” responds the crowd gathered on this June day for an NAACP-sponsored town hall meeting on McMillian’s death.

It has been four months, Parks says. Four months, and the sheriff has not come to see McMillian’s family. Four months, and he has not responded to a letter from McMillian’s mother.

CNN