LGBTQ Agenda: Former police officer accused in Mississippi homicide of ex-boyfriend

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday April 23, 2024
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Carlos Collins was killed in Mississippi in what's believed to be a domestic violence incident. Photo: Courtesy Clem Howard<br>
Carlos Collins was killed in Mississippi in what's believed to be a domestic violence incident. Photo: Courtesy Clem Howard

A Mississippi man is in custody after being arrested on charges he killed his ex-boyfriend.

Carlos Collins, 25, was fatally shot April 9 at the Tapestry Northridge Apartments in Jackson, according to the Jackson Police Department.

Clem Howard, a San Francisco resident and straight ally who knows Collins' family, said that Collins lived at that apartment complex, and was a registered nurse.

Hinds County inmate records show Marcus Johnson, 33, was arrested two days later on two charges — one of homicide and one of shooting into a dwelling house. He was denied bond after a court appearance April 12.

Johnson also allegedly used an ax in the attack, WOSM-FM reported, and was arrested in Louisiana after crossing the state line during a chase.

"It was very dramatic," Howard said.

Jackson police stated that to the B.A.R. that "Marcus Johnson was employed with the Jackson Police Department for eight months in 2013. He was separated from JPD pending disciplinary actions leading up to his immediate termination. He resigned just prior to his termination."

Johnson has had a history of trouble with the law, WOSM-FM reported: he resigned from the police department after being arrested for careless driving and without proof of insurance. He was later arrested on charges he impersonated a police officer, seeking sex during a fake traffic stop.

Mississippi state Representative Fabian Nelson (D-Byram) — a gay man who won election in 2023 to become the first openly LGBTQ legislator in the Magnolia State's history — told the B.A.R. that Collins had a restraining order on Johnson.

"The community is just heartbroken," Nelson said in a phone interview. "People are sad; they're upset. He was a young man with a bright, promising future, and people fell in love with him. It was a senseless murder and shouldn't have happened."

Nelson said that domestic violence is a major problem. Over a recent 76-hour period Collins' alleged killing was one of two believed to be related to domestic violence, and there was a third where domestic violence was possible but needs further investigation, he said.

Nelson said he had introduced legislation, House Bill 842, to form a domestic violence fatality review team. It would have created "a multidisciplinary team created to review the deaths resulting from suspected domestic violence and/or suicide. The review of a domestic violence incident may include a review of events leading up to the domestic violence incident, available community resources, current laws and policies, actions taken by the agencies and individuals related to the incident and the parties, and any other information considered relevant by the team," according to the bill's text.

However, "the bill died. It never made it out of committee," Nelson said.

The Republican Party controls both houses of the Legislature.

He said the legislation may be revived in the future when legislators have ironed out the details of "what agency we'll put it under."

Both Howard and Nelson hail from Collins' hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi.

"The family, of course, is still trying to process it and gain understanding about what happened," Nelson said.

Nelson did not return a request to speak with a member of Collins' family.

Equality Mississippi did not return a phone call or a Facebook message seeking comment.

This is an ongoing investigation, according to Jackson police, who asked anyone who has any additional information relating to the case to call Crime Stoppers at 601-355-(TIPS) 8477 or to contact the Jackson Police Department at 601-960-1234.

If you are experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence, information and help are available at the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

LGBTQ Agenda is an online column that appears weekly. Got a tip on queer news? Contact John Ferrannini at [email protected]

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