Many questions still remain in the death of Clarksdale, MS mayoral candidate Marco McMillian, whose body was found late in February near a levee after being dragged, beaten, and burned. The coroner has released an autopsy report that detailing “multiple areas of blunt trauma to the head that are consistent with a beating.”
The Press Register reports:
It’s a simple, apparently clear cause of death, but the report is filled with grisly details that leave more questions than answers. The report, released publicly Friday afternoon, said McMillian died from a lack of oxygen because of a conjunctuval hemorrhage in his right eye and multiple contusions of his tongue. Basically, blood vessels in one eye burst and McMillian apparently bit his tongue.
Even so, the report doesn’t indicate what might have caused the asphyxiation and the report says McMillian’s throat and neck showed no signs of bruising or trauma, although the state’s forensic pathologist, Dr. Mark LeVaughn, concludes McMillian’s asphyxiation was a homicide.
22-year-old Lawrence Reed has been charged with McMillian's murder. The police department says it has found no evidence of a hate crime, and no motive has been proposed.
The AP adds:
Without naming Reed, the autopsy report said the man who was in the wreck in McMillian’s SUV “admitted to killing Mr. McMillian and dumping his body near the levee.” Authorities have previously said that Reed was alone when he crashed McMillian’s vehicle. The report said McMillian’s body was unclothed.
The report also said there were abrasions and lacerations on McMillian’s head, back and legs and multiple “areas of second and third degree burns.”
The FBI has said it is investigating.
The family released a statement in early March: “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.”
A long-running battle over the Philadelphia property that the Boy Scouts have been occupying rent-free since 2008 has been settled, ABC6 reports:
A Boy Scouts of America group will vacate its city-owned Philadelphia headquarters in return for $825,000 under an agreement that settles a long legal battle over the organization's ban on gays, Mayor Michael Nutter's office said Friday.
The Boy Scouts Cradle of Liberty Council staff will leave its downtown Philadelphia headquarters of 85 years by June 30 and the retail store in the building will close by Oct. 31. In exchange, the city will reimburse the Boy Scouts for improvements made to the building, Nutter's office said.
The group's rent-free use of the building came under fire after the Boy Scouts of America barred gays from membership. The city unsuccessfully sought to have the chapter evicted for violation of Philadelphia's anti-discrimination policies.
Watch their report, AFTER THE JUMP...
Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...
Towleroad Interview: Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij [tlrd]
Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter on Facebook:
I travel a lot - this month I was in fifteen cities in as many days. I always like to learn a little bit about the place I'm going to play - that Chicago has the fourth largest GDP of any world city, or that Louisville is famous for a sandwich known as the "Hot Brown."
Today I was Grantham, Pennsylvania, at Messiah College, and as I was doing a little digging about the place I learned something that surprised and disappointed me.
Messiah College requires all students to sign a "Community Covenant" promising to, among other things, “avoid such sinful practices as…homosexual behavior….”
This policy, which I see as exclusionary and bigoted, could not run more counter to my personal beliefs. If I had done my homework, and read about Messiah's policies ahead of time, I would never have agreed to play there.
I did play at Messiah College tonight, and I chose to use the opportunity to talk to the students - to encourage them to seek openness and change. I spoke honestly about my personal views - that we should all have the right to love - and to marry freely, no matter what our sexual orientation. Everyone was respectful and kind, and it is my hope that they'll continue to demand a change to the Community Covenant.
I hope to have made the best of a difficult situation. I'm donating the fee I received from Messiah College tonight in its entirety to The Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org), the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
I won't play Messiah College again - not until they welcome, in word and deed, all members of their faith regardless of sexuality, and I urge my fellow musicians to do the same.
- Josh Ritter
We've written about Messiah College on Towleroad HERE.
A sample of Ritter's music, AFTER THE JUMP...
NYC City Council candidate Corey Johnson has come out as HIV-positive in a NYT article which casts Johnson's political pursuits in the footsteps of his predecessor Tom Duane, who was also out, gay, and HIV-positive:
Mr. Duane famously won the district that covers much of Manhattan’s West Side below 59th Street (currently represented by the mayoral candidate Christine C. Quinn) in 1991, during the height of the city’s AIDS panic, as one of the first openly H.I.V. positive political candidates in the country. Lending his friend his valuable endorsement, Mr. Duane told me he phoned Mr. Johnson not long ago to talk about the campaign, asking him first, “How are we going to handle your H.I.V. status? Have you told your mother?”
Times have changed since then, however, though not completely:
When Mr. Duane joined the Senate in the late ’90s, he said, there were people in Albany who would not shake his hand. He cries talking about a little boy upstate who was denied admission to his community pool because of his illness. “I’m the bearer of many people’s secrets about H.I.V.,” Mr. Duane said.
Mr. Johnson has many friends with H.I.V. who fear telling employers. “There’s still so much stigma and people don’t realize it,” he told me.
And there is still more to be done for those who do not share the advantages of white men living in Chelsea — budget increases for the city’s H.I.V./AIDS Services Administration, for example. Mr. Johnson is eager for a chance to have the fight.
Note: Johnson is Towleroad's former political director.
Former Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the anti-gay crusader who stepped down after being accused of "inappropriate acts" with other priests, and later admitted having a long-term relationship with one of the priests whose accusations led to him getting sacked, is being forced into exile by the Vatican, The Herald reports:
Friends of the cleric have said he has been told by Rome to shelve his plans to retire to a church-owned cottage in East Lothian and instead leave the country.
The Herald understands Cardinal O'Brien was given the news yesterday afternoon, three days after being photographed moving his personal belongings from his official residence in Edinburgh to the residence in Dunbar where he had been spending regular weekends over the past few years.
The parish priest in Dunbar, Canon John Creanor, is understood to have voiced upset at the Vatican's move against his "dear friend".
It is the clearest indication yet of the Vatican's unwillingness to let the matter drift and concern that the Cardinal's admission of gay activity over decades and allegations of abuse towards trainee priests continues to damage the Church.