Time to re-investigate Kendrick Johnson’s death

Friday, October 11, 2013

Good afternoon:

Lady2soothe posted three comments yesterday regarding the suspicious death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia. His body was discovered in a rolled-up wrestling mat on January 11, 2013. The mat was in an upright position behind some bleachers. Kendrick’s body was in an upside down position.

Kendrick’s father, Kenneth Johnson, reported him missing the night before when Kendrick failed to return home from school.

After a four-month investigation, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that Kendrick’s death was an accident. They said he got stuck inside the rolled-up mat while attempting to retrieve his gym shoe and died as the result of positional asphyxiation.

I find that very difficult to believe. How did the shoe get there and why would he have attempted to retrieve it by crawling headfirst down the tube?

If he attempted to retrieve it while the mat was rolled up on the floor, why not just unroll the mat?

Was he alone in the gym and if so, why?

If he was not alone, why didn’t someone help him?

There are other disturbing questions involving blood. For example, the medical examiner said Kendrick’s head filled with blood, due to gravity, and some of it spilled onto the floor beneath him. However, that would indicate a bleeding wound that suggests the possibility of an assault.

Here is a grisly photograph of Kendrick’s swollen face. Impossible for me to tell from the black and white photograph whether the swelling was caused by being struck multiple times in the face with a fist or blunt object or caused by gravity. Sure looks like he was struck in the face multiple times and that would account for the blood. I would need close-up color photographs of the face and cross-sections of the tissue beneath the skin to determine the presence or absence of bruising.

The shoe he was supposedly attempting to recover did not have any blood on it and it was below his head.

Red stains that look like dried blood on one of his gym shoes that was recovered under the bleachers supposedly did not test positive for the presence of blood, but the shoe was discarded into the trash making it impossible to retest.

An apparent blood stain on a nearby wall tested positive for the presence of blood, but supposedly did not match Kendrick.

Finally, Kendrick’s internal organs from his body cavity and his brain were disposed of in the trash and replaced with newspaper prior to his internment.

Harold Copus, a private investigator and former FBI agent has been working on the case. He believes Kendrick “met with foul play” and the police conducted “a shoddy investigation.”

Based on what I have read, I agree with him.

Michael J. Moore, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, is looking into the case to determine whether to commence a criminal investigation.

Contact Mr. Moore to urge him to take a look at Kendrick’s case:

Mr. Michael J. Moore
United States Attorney
Middle District of Georgia
Post Office Box 366
Albany, Georgia 31702-0366
(229) 430-7754

Benjamin Crump announced yesterday that he is joining the fight to reopen the investigation.

111 Responses to Time to re-investigate Kendrick Johnson’s death

  1. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Kendrick Johnson’s parents wage public war for answers
    Yamiche Alcindor, USA TODAY 9:06 a.m. EDT October 26, 2013
    The mysterious death of a Georgia teenager found in a high school gym has pitted his family against the Georgia Bureau of Investigation


  2. riisey007 says:

    My son is a wrestler and I have attended many wrestling matches. Those mats are made mostly of foam and although appear to be extremely heavy they are not heavy enough to not tilt over if a  human body tried to crawl in. Also those mats are wrapped tight as my son has stated, he says they never leave open space in the mats and that they tend to look like cinnamon rolls tightly wound once they roll them up, so how did a shoe fall in? This was murder!!

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      From Part 5 of the Ebony article:

      “KJ’s feet stuck out from one end, his face and upper chest from the other. He wore no clothes from the waist up. His face looked like he had been beaten. “

      So, his shoulders were to large to fit in the tube of the mat?

      Was this how he was first found?

      This would mean that someone had wrapped him in the mat!

      Someone help me with this, please.

      • fauxmccoy says:

        @yahtc who says

        This would mean that someone had wrapped him in the mat!

        Someone help me with this, please.

        i posted something to this effect towards the very end of this article — knowing what i do about wrestling mats and their storage, this seems the most likely scenario to me.

        • Malisha says:

          From simple physics: He was killed, wrapped in the mat, and stashed. The killer(s) probably worked out the cover story with the cops prior to the “discovery” of the body.

          • fauxmccoy says:

            inclined to agree, malisha. i can see no way anyone would ‘dive in’ to such a space for any reason and it would be beyond laborious for a dead body to be placed in that position once mats were rolled and stored. there is more than 1 person who knows exactly how this kid wound up dead and in that position.

            on the bright side (yeah, i know, it’s hard to find one) when you have more than 1 person involved (likely 3-4 i would guess) secrets are much harder to keep, aren’t they?

  3. fauxmccoy says:

    i am more familiar with high school wrestling mats than your average woman. my dinky little high school had an amazing, multiple state championship wresting team — to say it was ‘big’ at my area is a massive understatement. my jr high principal was a state champion, my brother was a wrestler and i attended many meets and practices. i watched the mats being washed thoroughly after practice and then stored upright — it is a massive feat.

    i cannot imagine, given the size of these things, that anyone tried to crawl down one for any reason. it seems far more likely that this poor boy was killed on the mat and then rolled up in to to conceal the fact for at least a few hours and even that was done poorly.

    wrestling mats require a few people to roll up and store. i would bet money that more than one person knows how a body wound up rolled into a wrestling mat. i remember reading about this event when it happened and those were my first thoughts.

    now reading about actions of the local coroner, LE and DA convinces me that there is much more going on here. i hope that B Crump is able to help out because something stinks in valdosta,GA and it ain’t the onions from vidalia.

  4. YAHT – I’m available to assist you as well. I’ll email the professor my email address to pass onto you.

  5. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    The same High School lost another student (age 17) the year year before:

    Ed Hooper
    The Valdosta Daily Times

    VALDOSTA — The Lowndes High School community lost another member Thursday as Jacob McCook, 17, died at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, according to an announcement by Carson McLane Funeral Home.

    McCook’s death came just five days after he suffered a head injury from falling out of a truck in Lake Park. At the time, McCook was riding in the back of a pick-up truck when unsecured cargo fell out, knocking McCook out of the truck.

    The Lowndes native was taken to South Georgia Medical Center and later flown to Tallahassee and placed on life support.

    McCook was a rising senior at Lowndes and was “figuring heavily into playing quite a bit, if not starting,” said James Brown, Lowndes’ offensive line coach, Sunday evening in an interview with The Times.

    “(Jacob) was a great kid, with a great heart, he worked hard on and off the field,” Brown said Thursday. “His most outstanding contribution to the team would be his will to win. He would do whatever he could or whatever we asked of him in order to win.”

    Brown said McCook’s will to win will carry on, as he was an organ donor.

    “Even with his passing and his death, his will to win goes on,” Brown said. “Because with his organs, one, two or maybe even three people are getting the gift of life.”

    Thursday’s passing marks the third death related to the Lowndes football program this off-season. Former offensive lineman Ed Christian was shot and killed in Auburn, Ala. on June 9. During basketball season, the team’s manager, Dominque Crenshaw, died after a long fight with cancer.


  6. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Valdosta Daily Times
    January 22, 2013

    Lowndes basketball to face Brunswick tonight; games against Tift moved
    Ed Hooper 
The Valdosta Daily Times

    VALDOSTA — The Lowndes varsity basketball teams will host Brunswick tonight, making up games originally scheduled for Jan. 11 at Lowndes.

    Games will begin at 5 p.m. tonight, with the boys’ game beginning at 6:30 p.m., due to travel distance for Brunswick.
    The Jan. 11 games were postponed when Lowndes student Kendrick Johnson was found dead on campus, and were moved to tonight after Lowndes rescheduled its basketball games against Tift County.

    Lowndes was supposed to host Tift County tonight, but the Blue Devils were invited to play nationally seventh-ranked Saint Anthony’s (N.J.) Friars’ in Massachusetts on Monday morning.
    Those games against Tift County have been rescheduled for Feb. 1 at Lowndes High School.

    Updates for tonight’s games will be available on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.


  7. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    This link will take you to a video page on Kendrick Johnson:


  8. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    From local newspaper on April 11, 2013:

    “Family Wants Answers in LHS Case”
    Quinten Plummer
    The Valdosta Daily Times

    VALDOSTA — For a second day, downtown commuters have been jolted into their mornings by posters bearing a gruesome photo of a deceased Lowndes High student, but family members and supporters have stated their intent to continue waving images of Kendrick Johnson’s blistered and bloated face before motorists until the investigation into his January 2013 death has concluded.

    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s inquiry into the 17-year-old’s death is still open and the autopsy is not yet complete, but for Kendrick’s family and friends, the wait has been too long and they’re looking for answers. The family and supporters have been waving signs bearing an image of his face post-mortem labeled with slogans such as “Honk your horn for KJ” and “Justice for Kendrick.”

    “We want justice for Kendrick Johnson,” said his mother Jackie Johnson at the rally Wednesday morning on the corner outside of the Lowndes County Judicial Complex. She wouldn’t reveal how the family obtained the image or share its source.

    “I want the people to know that my son was murdered at Lowndes High School,” she said, “and we will not stop until we have justice. We’ll be out here everyday until someone gives us some answers and the people responsible are behind bars.”

    Half a block down from Kendrick’s mother, two of his aunts, Tesha Tooley and Stacy Rho, were encouraging horn honks in support of the group’s efforts.

    “This is not a racial thing. It’s not about black and it’s not about white — it’s about justice,” said Tooley. “We want justice. Even if it happened to a white child, we’d be out here supporting that white family. So it’s about justice and not about race. My sister sent her child to school to get an education, not to be murdered.”

    The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office has concluded its investigation, noting in January that authorities suspected no foul play in the student’s death. The sheriff’s office has been assisting the GBI when asked, Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine said Wednesday.

    “We just sent the GBI a second blood sample to look at it again and make sure everything is like they say it is,” said Prine. “We’re just cooperating with them and getting them anything they need. Of course, we always work deaths similar to this one as a homicide investigation until it’s been proven accidental — and that’s how we’ve treated this investigation.”

    Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson has been in contact with the GBI regarding Kendrick’s autopsy, he said. But the Coroner hasn’t enjoyed the same level of cooperation from the sheriff’s office as the GBI, said Watson, who also stated he wasn’t contacted when Kendrick’s body was first discovered.

    “This was not fair to the decedent, his family, and the citizens of Valdosta and Lowndes County, Ga. And it’s wrong as rain,” Watson said in January when he spoke to The Times. “You may not want me on your crime scene, but it’s a law. It’s not something you can change your mind about.”

    As appalling as the image of Kendrick’s post-mortem face may be, it’s up to the GBI’s medical experts to determine if the lacerations and bruising were the result of positional asphyxiation and elapsed time, or if it was the result of foul play.

    “The unofficial ruling from the crime lab was that it was certainly an accident and there were no signs of foul play, whatsoever,” said Prine. “Once we get the final results back from the autopsy, that information will be made available to the public. I feel very badly for the suffering that family has to go through, and of course, our hearts and prayers go out to the family. It was a terrible way to end a life and we’re doing everything we can.”

    Kendrick’s family has reportedly hired an attorney, backed by a pair of retired homicide detectives conducting their own investigation, but The Times’ phone calls to the reported attorney weren’t returned.

  9. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    “Johnsons meet the press on Kendrick’s birthday”

    Adam Floyd
    The Valdosta Daily Times
    October 11, 2012

    VALDOSTA — On what would have been his 18th birthday, Kendrick Johnson’s family took to the steps of the Lowndes County Judicial Complex Thursday to announce a push to obtain the school surveillance videos of the day their son died.

    “I walked into his room this morning, and I kissed his picture to say ‘happy birthday, Kendrick.’ His dreams and memories will always be with us,” said Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father.

    Supporters from what has come to be known as the KJ Movement marched to the judicial complex chanting their desire for justice in the death of Johnson, a Lowndes High student whose body was found January inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in the school’s old gymnasium.

    Chants subsided as Johnson family attorney C.B. King addressed the gathered crowd.

    “At this point in this investigation, there is one eyewitness we know is available. It is the video recording of the surveillance cameras in the gymnasium where his body was found,” said King, “For some unknown reason, that tape has been withheld despite repeated requests by the family and myself to view the tape.”

    Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, anything that contains “personally identifiable information” concerning a student is considered a student record, including images and videos of students. Student records are protected under the act and are prohibited from being disclosed unless ordered by a court.

    “The tape, we believe, would greatly resolve many of the issues including how his body entered the gym if there is no tape or image of him entering the mat. That, of course, would identify possible suspects or persons who might have been involved in his killing,” said King.

    Attorney Benjamin Crump, who recently joined the KJ legal team, claimed the withholding of the tape is a part of a cover-up.

    “You have to ask yourself why wasn’t that tape turned over to attorney King and the family,” said Crump, “That’s the real question here. Why are they trying to cover up for the murder of Kendrick Johnson?”

    According to FERPA guidelines, students have the right, along with their parents, to access their own records, but they are not allowed to access the records of other students. Parents are permitted to view images or videos of their own children, but without a court order, they are not allowed to obtain anything, including surveillance video, pertaining to any other student. If a school violates the act, they are subject to legal action, including the removal of federal education funding.

    Crump does not believe that the surveillance videos fall under the definition of school records.

    Warren Turner, attorney for Lowndes County Schools, sent a comment on the school’s responsibilities under the privacy act, which considers visual depictions as part of the educational records of a minor child.

    Turner cites the Georgia Code that information required by a federal act to be protected must remain so; and the Code of Federal Regulations, (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1232g) which defines a record as “any information recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche.”

    Additionally, the Code of Federal Regulations stating that if a record contains information on more than one student, the parent can only request and review the specific information about that student.

    In other words, KJ’s parents, under the laws, but only KJ’s parents, have the right to view the portion of his student record, including the video footage, as long as information about any other student is protected, redacted or removed.

    During the press conference, King introduced Crump, the Tallahassee, Fla., lawyer who was part of the legal team that represented Trayvon Martin.

    “I am here, quite simply, because Kendrick Johnson was murdered, and we are going to get to the truth of what happened to Kendrick Johnson,” said Crump. “These parents sent their son to school with a bookbag, and he was returned to them in a body bag.”

    Johnson’s family has maintained since their son’s death that foul play was involved, but the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that his death was accidental.

    “It is tragic that the coroner and the government officials would insult our intelligence by telling this family that the manner of death was an accident,” said Crump.

    A second autopsy commissioned by the family was conducted by Dr. William R. Anderson, a for-hire pathologist in Florida. Anderson examined Johnson’s body and tissue slides of his organs and concluded that the cause of death was “apparent non-accidental, blunt force trauma.”

    Johnson’s family and legal team believe the differences between the first and second autopsies point to a mishandling of the case. Crump claimed that investigators with the Sheriff’s Office and the GBI failed to collect and examine evidence from the scene of Johnson’s death that could have contained trace evidence, including DNA.

    “We think it is, at best, total incompetence and, at worst, an attempt to bury the truth,” said Crump.

    In a segment aired by CNN on Wednesday, it was reported that Johnson’s organs had been removed and that his body and skull had been stuffed with newspapers, a fact that elicited outrage from Crump.

    “You can imagine the pain the family experienced once it was revealed to them the condition of the body once it reached Orlando and was opened up by Dr. Anderson. I think that, as you think about this idea that all of his organs were removed, you have to wonder why,” said Crump. “Why would his organs have been removed?”

    During an autopsy, internal organs must be removed by the medical examiner, but are generally returned with the body for burial. It is not clear why the organs were not returned when the body was transported from the GBI crime lab to Harrington Funeral Home, but the Valdosta funeral home took extreme exception with the CNN report Wednesday that called their embalming process into question.

    Harrington’s attorney, Roy Copeland of Copeland, Haugabrook & Walker, released a letter to The Times Thursday afternoon addressing the allegations about how KJ’s body was treated before burial.

    The letter states that both Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson and a Mr. Bryan with the crime lab confirmed that the “viscera” or internal organs “were disposed of, due to decomposition of the same. Again, the intent and purpose of this letter is to dispel any notion that Mr. Harrington or Harrington’s Funeral Home were involved in any manner with the disposition of this young man’s internal organs.”

    The second autopsy report conducted by Anderson notes that the organs were not included with the body. However, the report does not indicate that Anderson opened the body for examination and does not include any mention of how the body was embalmed. The autopsy report notes that Anderson’s assessments of the internal organs were made from microscopic examination of slides provided by the GBI crime lab from the initial autopsy.

    Copeland, on Harrington’s behalf, also takes issue with the statement in the CNN report that the body was stuffed with old papers “like he was a garbage can.”

    In the letter, Copeland states that the manner in which KJ’s body was prepared for burial “complies with the standard of care employed when there has been a significant decomposition of a body and the internal organs are missing.”

    Disputing statements made by CNN experts, the letter quotes “The Principles and Practices of Embalming” as stating that in cases where all of the viscera has been removed at autopsy and has not been returned to the body, the treatment would include drying the chest cavity, dusting it with a hardening compound or embalming powder, and filling it with dry, clean sawdust or cotton mixed with a hardening compound or embalming powder.

    Copeland states that KJ’s body was treated as all decomposed bodies with missing internal organs would be treated, according to the established principles and practices.


    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      Correction to date of article 2013
      October 11, 2013

    • aussie says:

      I call BS on all this “decomposing” nonsense. He was not dragged out from being 2 weeks in a river or 7 weeks buried in a forest.

      He was dead less than 24 hours when the body went to the coroner. That is not time to decompose to the point of not being able to bag the organs.

      The stuffing-with-something procedure might be quite true for decomposing bodies… but Kendrick’s WAS NOT.

      So, what did they do with the organs? what do they do with the organs of everyone else who is autopsied, but whose family doesn’t end up getting the body re-opened?

  10. Mary Davis says:

    Thank you. Talk to you soon.

  11. Mary Davis says:

    @YAHTC. First, I want to comment you for your hard work against injustice. Second, if you need help in any way, I’ll help you. You can contact the professor to get my e-mail. Please don’t think it is too much. Whatever it is, if I can, I will be more than glad to pitch in, even if it is only input.

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:


      Mary, I just emailed our professor for your email and asked him to also give you my email.

      • Mission accomplished. Check your email.

        I love and support what you are doing and I will help any way that I can.


        • You all have thoughtful comments says:

          Thanks, Professor.

          I wish I were more savvy in Google search.

          When I search “January 2012 Kendrick Johnson”, I only get 2 or 3 from January and the rest are from October.

          Is there a way to have Google only produce January or February articles and TV news reports?

          It did help a bit when I put in “Valdosta Daily Times”

  12. Mary Davis says:

    I know what happened in Trayvon’s case knocked the sails out of us, but we can’t stop now.

  13. Mary Davis says:

    Good morning everyone. I don’t know who remembers this but, many years back Wayne Johnson from Atlanta Georgia was luring and killing black male children. My son was in the fourth grade at the time. I was a total wreak. I couldn’t eat or sleep because I knew I had to go to work. I though something would happen to my son and I wouldn’t be there to protect him. At the time I was thinking about a copy cat. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and moved to California. I can just imagine how some parents in Valdostor feel. They must be terrible afraid. Oh, if some of you only knew what parents of black male children go through.

    It is even worse now because we have a justice system that is corrupt and don’t seem to care what happens to our black children. Yes, I am talking about black children. I am not playing the race card. I am simply speaking the truth. If this child was white, can anyone here say that this would have been handled the same way.
    If you actually think so, I can only say that you have been privileged enough to have not been in this situation or you have your head buried in the sand. Now I know sometimes my posts are taken the wrong way but, I mean no harm or disrespect to anyone on here. I am just venting.

    I don’t think peaceful marches, or petitions (although I signed the petition), will do us much good at this point. After all, what good did it do for Tayvon?. I think at this point in order to save our children, we need and must go international. I read this on one of the blogs. I am ready and quite willing to give my support for an international appeal. I don’t know just what an international approach entails, but I recall reading about it on one of the threads. If anyone can remember the thread, please be so kind to mention it.

  14. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    From January 2013:

    January 11, 2013

    “VALDOSTA — Breaking News: News Reporter Brittany D. McClure goes on scene to talk to students who were inside Lowndes High School when a body was found.”

  15. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Here is the January 13, 2013 original autopsy news article:

    >Sheriff: No signs of struggle found

    Dean Poling
    The Valdosta Daily Times

    VALDOSTA — A Lowndes High School student apparently climbed on top of rolled, upright wrestling mats last week, fell into a center opening of a rolled mat, became lodged inside, upside down, and died, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office Monday.

    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner’s Office’s autopsy appears to support investigators’ conclusion of no foul play into the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, whose body was found Friday morning, Jan. 11, in Lowndes High’s old gym.

    Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine told The Times that the autopsy, his investigators and GBI investigators found no signs of struggle.

    “During that exam, no indications of injury that would have caused the death of Kendrick Johnson were found,” according to a Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office release. “Investigators found no signs of a struggle having taken place.”

    Even though investigators do not believe foul play was involved in the case, the sheriff said Monday he and his investigators will continue interviewing students and friends who have additional information.

    Based on hours of investigation Friday by Lowndes sheriff’s investigators, assisted by GBI agents, authorities believe the sophomore entered Lowndes High’s old gym and climbed on top of the mats which were standing upright. Prine said it is possible Johnson may have been reaching for a shoe that had fallen into the mat; a shoe was found at the scene.

    “At some point, Kendrick Johnson either reached into the center of one of the rolled mats or fell into the center opening of the mat and became lodged,” according the sheriff’s office statement.

    “We feel like he was trying to reach a shoe that was down that hole,” the sheriff said, “but no one knows (why he reached into the mat) but him and the good Lord.”

    The student was upside down in the mat, with blood rushing to his head and upper extremities, causing him to pass out, the sheriff said. Keeping a human body upside down for an extended period of time can be deadly, causing hemorrhaging, stroke and heart failure.

    In Johnson’s case, the medical examiner’s office is also running toxicology tests, which can take weeks to complete, before determining the exact cause of death. The sheriff said he does not expect to see a full report on the cause of death for at least a month.

    Johnson’s family reported him missing Thursday evening, Jan. 10, after he did not return home from Lowndes High School, the sheriff said. On Friday morning, Jan. 11, Johnson’s body was discovered in the school’s old gymnasium.

    Authorities began their investigation as Lowndes High students texted and posted on Facebook regarding the death. For a period, no one could enter or leave Lowndes High. Numerous parents arrived to pick up their children. Classes continued throughout Friday and parents were eventually allowed inside to pick up their children.

    Sheriff’s and GBI investigators initially worked the scene as a suspected homicide. The sheriff’s office and Lowndes County School System issued a statement of suspecting no foul play by Friday night.

    Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine asks that anyone with information about this, or any other incident contact the Sheriff’s Office, (229) 671-2950; or on line at http://www.lowndessheriff.com. Anonymous tips can be left at (229) 671-2985.


  16. Not sure if anyone might be local or not but Kendrick’s family will be hosting a celebration his life today in Valdosta from 9 am – 4 pm. As you recall, Kendrick would have celebrated his 18th birthday this week.

  17. I think we need to keep on this dirty case. Disclaimer: I was out sick yesterday and have not read through all the comments, but massive evidence tampering in this one. How do they get away with it? It always boils down to corruption and I am sick and tired of it.

    I am really fit to be tied about this stuff. So, Georgia now. The South, and once again, the victim is black.

    /endrant (for now) off to read, hope everyone is okay today!

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      Love you, Crane!

      Just reading your last two comments….you really know how to TELL IT!

    • You are not alone in your disgust. As angry as I was about Trayvon’s case, I believe I am even more angry about this one for the simple reason that the authorities in Valdosta want us to believe one of the most ridiculous stories that’s ever been told. I’m not even mentioning how I feel about his body being stuffed with newspapers. I’m appalled at the way this family and this child have been treated.

      • I did not appreciate being played like a tune in Trayvon’s case, and I don’t appreciate it in this one. Kendrick’s case deserves justice, and it’s so in-your-face, that the misconduct is of a mocking nature: ‘see, you see what we can do do these black people?’…

        Here’s my theory for now. Sheriff was [insert name of white girl here]. Kendrick found out, possibly through the sheriff’s son,, and was going to run it in to the authorities so the Georgia ‘authorities’ decided to ‘teach him a thing or two.’ Because they can. Because nothing’s changed in The Racist Corrupt South.

        Color me tin foil hat, but for now, that’s my tentative speculation.

  18. MDH says:

    Police logic 101:

    A head can be slammed repeatedly on concrete and leave a couple of abrasions.

    One can self inflict massive head trauma by squirming around in a wrestling mat that is designed to not cause it.

    • I know, huh…

      If their brains was gasoline, they wouldn’t have sense enough to run a pissant’s Go-Kart around the inside of a donut.

      • MDH says:

        I think they know what they are doing.

        Because a large segment of our society glorifies them, they get a carte blanche to have any form of BS logic they spew accepted as fact to cover their bias.

        If a Vulcan came down to Earth and observed both of these cases, they would logically conclude that the police do not give a shit about the life of a black male and feel inconvenienced by having to work, rather than hang out at Dunkin ogling girls, to respect any claims made of the behalf of them {black males}.

        This disturbs me, greatly.

        “If the police break the law, then there is no law, just a struggle for survival.”

        – Billy Jack

        • Think I lost a comment. Anyhow, the corruption extends from the bottom all the way to the top, and it is really disgusting. Courtrooms are supposed to be a venue for truth. Now, they are anything but.

          This place is going straight to hell, if you ask me. Sad.

    • Malisha says:


      And how did he lose his shoe in that mat?

  19. a2nite says:

    His organs are in someone, probably. It’s a big biz. The white power structure can exterminate us & make money.

  20. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Hat tip to SouthernGirl2:

    HLNtv discusses Kendrick Johnson’ death photos

  21. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    “Ignored News or unreported from a public Rally for Kendrick Johnson”

  22. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Kendrick Johnson would have been 18 tomorrow.

  23. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    August 12, 2013
    By Fred Rosen


    >Kendrick Johnson was a 17-year-old student at Lowndes County High School in Valdosta, Georgia, where he was last seen in his fourth-period class on the afternoon of Thursday, January 10, 2013. After that, he never showed up to any of his other classes.

    And he wasn’t on the school bus home, as he always was at the end of the day.

    Worried like any parents would be, Kenneth and Jackie Johnson reported him missing to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department. Both in their mid-forties, Kenneth is a truck driver and Jackie, a school bus driver. They spent a long night wondering if their child would come home safely.

    Lowndes County High School is a complex of low lying buildings, built in a horseshoe shape around a large parking lot. The old school gym is a small building, sandwiched between two larger ones. There are surveillance cameras outside and inside the gym, where a student visited early the next morning following Kendrick’s disappearance.

    Wrestling mats were rolled up and standing vertically, as they usually were, in the back of the gym. Horsing around, the student noticed that one mat was different from the others. Someone’s bare feet were sticking out of the top of one of the mats. Was this some sort of practical joke? But it wasn’t Halloween, so what was going on?

    The student quickly left and called a teacher. When adults came to the gym and unrolled the mat, inside was the body of a male African American. It was impossible to identify him by sight; his face had been beaten beyond recognition. Paramedics were summoned.

    The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department arrived after, though the exact time which they showed up is unclear. Searching the body, police found a wallet in the pocket of his gym shorts. Opening it, the identification said, “Kendrick Johnson.” Inexplicably, County Coroner Bill Watson was not summoned until 3:45 PM, approximately five hours and forty five minutes later.

    When Watson got there, it was chaos. The entire scene around the body was trampled by everyone from curious coaches and teachers, to the cops themselves.

    To say the crime scene was contaminated is putting it mildly. Little evidence was gathered; no one was questioned; and no crime scene photos were taken. The body was eventually carted off to the Harrington Funeral Home, where an interested worker did snap the only photo extant of Kendrick’s face in death.

  24. Girlp says:

    The child was beaten and the PD is protecting someone’s butt.

  25. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    I am sending my caring support and prayers for Kendrick’s parents and loved ones.

    Another Black son who has not received justice.

    Another Black child with grieving parents who, with great strength and dignity, are seeking justice for their son.

  26. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Home Going Servics for Kendrick Johnson

  27. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Excerpt from this CNN linked article:


    On May 1, a judge granted the Johnsons’ request to exhume their son’s body for the purposes of a conducting an independent autopsy at their expense.

    That autopsy, conducted June 15, found BLUNT FORCE trauma to the right neck and soft tissues, “consistent with inflicted injury.” It was conducted by Dr. William R. Anderson with Forensic Dimensions in Heathrow, Florida.

    “This is unexplained — most very, very likely inflicted, as opposed to something he caused himself, inflicted by another — and therefore needs to be investigated as an open homicide investigation,” Anderson said.

    “I’ve never had a case that I can recall where the prosecution actually was told that this may well be a homicide — the prosecution being the state, the police and so forth — and then they didn’t bother prosecuting. It’s mystifying,” he added


    • Although he did not say that it was a bleeding injury, if it was, it could be the source of the blood that was discovered on the floor below Kendrick’s head.

      • MDH says:

        It could be possible that the murderer beat Kendrick unconscious and stuffed him head down into the rolled mat wherein he suffocated.

        The premise that Kendrick would crawl into a tight dark hole to retrieve a shoe flies in the face of common sense. If he did, then how could a tightly trapped body self inflict massive trauma against a surface specifically designed to prevent it?

        It is the GZ logic all over again.

        We must accept fantasy as a reasonable probability and throw common sense out the window.

  28. This quote by Bill Watson who is Lowndes County coroner has me pretty hot under the collar. This is the mentality that we are dealing with.

    Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson said many of Johnson’s organs were deemed too badly decomposed to be preserved and had to be disposed of before the body was sent to the funeral home. “It would’ve been during or immediately after the autopsy,” he said.

    “I’m terribly sorry for the family,” Watson said. “But I don’t think raising all this Cain down here is going to bring closure to them.”

  29. You all have thoughtful comments says:

  30. For those on Twitter, here is the official Kendrick twitter… https://twitter.com/JusticeForKJ

    Also, the official website…


  31. You all have thoughtful comments says:


    Would you consider making a video in the name of JUSTICE FOR KENDRICK?

  32. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Let’s join together on this, Everyone!

    Let’s go TEAM!


  33. Mary Davis says:

    This is so sad. Look what’s happening to our children.

    I think I’ll just go to bed and think about this tomorrow.

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      Yes, this is tragic….that we have a society that allows such a cover-up. We must take a strong stand for justice NOW.

      Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons
      Is as important
      As the killing of White men, White mothers’ sons,

      We who believe in freedom cannot rest
      We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.

      –Ella Baker

  34. lady2soothe says:

    ME @ Professor Leatherman… Thank you Professor for picking up the ball and running with Kendrick Johnson’s atrocious and very suspicious death. Another child’s losing his life to dubious and farfetched circumstances is disturbing at best. The following by JIMLAMESA on HP is something I believe we should all be aware of.

    I have participated as an assistant in several autopsies. It is SOP to remove all organs and the brain for pathological examination. The organs are then dissected, examined. When the exam is completed, the organs may be packaged separately with the body, or sent to the mortuary separately. In either case, they will not be reinserted back into the body.

    Should you ever attend the funeral of a loved one who underwent an autopsy, do not attempt to look beneath the clothing or hair. You will not like what you will find.

  35. Mary Davis says:

    Thank you Professor for addressing this. We will never forget Trayvon, but there are so many unjustly murders of our children that we must advocate for, and this is one of them.

  36. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    Petition for Kendrick Johnson:


  37. You all have thoughtful comments says:

    “New Developments in the Case of Kendrick Johnson”
    October 10, 2013



    The Johnsons are pushing for a federal investigation into their son’s death.

    As for what comes next, they’re hoping to gain access to more evidence.

    In the incident report, which Grantland acquired through an open records request, most names are redacted. The sheriff’s department said it did this to protect the identity of minors.

    Likewise, the sheriff’s department and the school have not released surveillance footage, which they also say would reveal the identity of minors. The Johnsons are petitioning a judge to declare the redactions illegal, King said, and a hearing will be set in the next few weeks.

  38. bettykath says:

    Someone needs to be charged – for the very shoddy investigation and for what looks like a cover-up. Oh, yes, and the murderer should be found and prosecuted.

  39. MichelleO says:

    People who live in the area (Valdosta) are saying that Kendrick was involved in a love triangle with a girl that included the sheriff’s own son.

    • Let me guess . . . The girl and the sheriff’s son are white.

      • Sheriff Prine is definitely white.

        • That could be a motive to kill for the son and a motive to conceal the crime for the father.

          Would a police department participate in a cover-up?

          We know what the answer was in Sanford, FL.

          • Professor, we are dealing with another Steubenville here. Sports in Lowndes County/Valdosta, Georgia is EVERYTHING to the people who live there. Hell, in 2007, the high school spent $8 million on a brand-new, state of the art gym not to mention a brand new, (God only knows how much it cost) stadium. There are competing high schools in the county but both have had damn good football programs. Look up the Valdosta Wildcats and the Lowndes County Vikings on Google. It will give you an idea what I’m talking about. Steubenville Ohio ain’t got nothing on Valdosta, Georgia.

          • Rachael says:

            This has motive and cover up written all over it in HUGE red capital letters!!

      • Two sides to a story says:


        I figured that it had to be something of that nature. The police know exactly – or approximately – what happened and who did it and are covering it up. The DOJ needs to be all over this case.

        • Malisha says:

          What is this with police not investigating murders, and simply “accepting” some idiotic story that is per se unbelievable, over and over, so long as the victim is identified as powerless? OMG it’s as if the police have already been privatized and the run-of-the-mill citizen (and doubly so for women, African Americans, children) has no right to police protection! It’s really time for dirty police and dirty police departments to be shaken loose and then drummed out! Because my appallment is all used up!

    • Rachael says:

      I swear, this is one of the ghastliest stories I’ve ever heard. The death was bad enough – and TOTALLY suspicious, but now this? Oh, something must be done. There is no way someone doesn’t know something and something better be done about it.

    • You all have thoughtful comments says:

      Listen to the sheriff at timestamp 3:58:

      • You all have thoughtful comments says:

        Hat tip to SouthernGirl2 for this video.

        SouthernGirl2 wrote this:

        Sheriff Prine, why the ugly attitude? Why would getting to the truth about Kendrick Johnson’s death anger you?

      • Rachael says:

        Bunch of BS. Blood had been there an extended period of time. That is gross and unsanitary. You know that’s not true. Damn. Effn liars!!!!

  40. Thank you for taking time to blog about Kendrick’s case. We need to work to ensure that there is justice for this family and that Kendrick can rest in peace.

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