Michelle Brimhall, the 32-year-old mother of three who was in a relationship with hanged black North Carolina teen Lennon Lacy, broke her silence in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, saying that she believes Lennon was killed because of their interracial relationship.
Brimhall—who, in the immediate aftermath of Lennon’s August death, fled the small, predominantly white town of Bladenboro, N.C., for fear of her life—told the news site that she and Lennon were the targets of racist bullying.
“Neighbors had told me they were against interracial relationships and it was ‘not right’ me being with a black guy,” she told the Daily Mail. “We tried to keep it [our relationship] a secret. We would walk to the store together, but we never held hands or kissed or any of that stuff out in public.”
But in such a small town, 80 percent white and 20 percent black, the relationship was no secret. Brimhall recalled how the Ku Klux Klan would hold marches in the racially divided town, which black residents would refer to as “Crackertown.”
Lennon’s body was discovered around the end of summer hanging from a swing set in a trailer park. Law enforcement originally ruled his death a suicide, but the suspicious circumstances surrounding the 17-year-old’s death have since prompted demands for justice by his family and the NAACP, as well as an FBI investigation.
Initial reports showed that the swing set was too tall, with no other props surrounding it at the time, for Lennon to have hanged himself. In additional, the tools—believed to be a belt and a dog leash—used as a noose did not belong to the teen, the family insists. Last, the shoes he was found wearing—which were not transported to the medical examiner’s office with his body—were not his and were almost two sizes too small, the family said.
His mother told CNN that she believes her son was lynched. Brimhall is inclined to agree.
“I believe Lennon was murdered. The police ruled his death as suicide, but Lennon would never harm himself. He's got too much love for life,” she told the Daily Mail.
She admitted that Lennon’s mother was against their relationship because of the stark age difference, but insisted that she was always encouraging of the teen, who had dreams of playing in the NFL.
“A lot of the days after he died blurred together because I just locked myself in the house. I would send the kids to school and stay in the house,” Brimhall told the news site. “I knew that they found him hanging. It didn’t make any sense. If they beat him up, why did they have to hang him and kill him? Lennon wouldn’t hurt nobody. He didn’t do drugs; he didn’t mess around with any gangs. He went to school and played football. That was all he did.”
Brimhall herself has been subject to rumors that she is a drug addict (her estranged parents told the New York Daily News that she was an addict) and is partially the reason the young boy is dead. One rumor indicated that her ex-husband killed Lennon. Another stated that she was pregnant with the teen’s child.
Brimhall denied those claims. “I don’t know what happened, but I know my ex-husband would not get the bus down from Illinois to kill my boyfriend. And I’m not pregnant,” she said.
Read more at the Daily Mail.