Originally Posted by MP0WER
speculation by who? The investigators have stated they don't think it's a hate crime.
Just people who I've talked to so far, however there is no precedent for a hate crime against gays in Mississippi so they wouldn't be able to call it that.
Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-307
Penalty may be enhanced where the offense was committed by reason of the "actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, national origin or gender of the victim."
The fact that they brought up hate crimes is likely because the victim was black, and there has been a lot of controversy about that going on here lately too:
I plan to call Coahoma County SD when I get home and ask if they will clarify.