Man accused of murdering mayoral candidate: 'I didn't know what his intentions were'

Marco McMillian murder trial Wednesday
Published: Mar. 11, 2015 at 9:44 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 12, 2015 at 10:50 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The man accused of killing Marco McMillian, who was an openly gay mayoral candidate in Clarksdale, Mississippi, is claiming he did so in self defense.

Lawrence Reed defended himself in the courtroom, saying he blacked out sometime after McMillian drove him to a dark, deserted road instead of a party.

"I didn't know what he would do if I ran," Reed said in court. "I choked him because he grabbed me and I didn't know what his intentions were."

Reed claimed he tried to revive McMillian by putting him into some standing water nearby. The Mississippi medical examiner could not confirm whether it was the choking or the water that killed him.

McMillian's family is represented by Darryl Parks, who represented Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown's families.

"In the beginning of this case, information was not as forthcoming and so that's why they had questions and so that's why they welcomed help," said Parks, who got involved because of claims the gay mayoral candidate tried to rape Reed. "When the issue was raised about this possible sexuality issue, the sexual orientation as a defense in a murder, then that calls for a, then those are civil rights, human rights issues and so that's how we got involved in the case."

Prosecutors believe Reed is guilty of murder but may have to wait one more day to learn what a jury thinks.

Closing arguments for Lawrence Reed's trial will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday.

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