Kendrick Johnson and the coming battle of expert witnesses regarding cause of death

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Good evening:

Although I have been away all day attending to various matters, my mind has never strayed far from Kendrick Johnson and the coming battle of experts regarding whether his death was accidental, which is the medical examiner’s opinion, or a homicide, which is the opinion held by the forensic pathologist Kendrick’s parents retained to determine Kendrick’s cause of death after his body was exhumed. The outcome of this battle will determine if the inquiry into his death will turn into a criminal investigation in search of a suspect or suspects to be charged and prosecuted or be closed on the ground that it was a tragic accident and not a homicide.

If the medical examiner loses the battle of the experts, I doubt the United States Attorney will prosecute the case because he lacks jurisdiction to prosecute a murder case unless it was a hate crime, which is the same barrier that the Department of Justice is facing in deciding whether to prosecute George Zimmerman. I think an independent special prosecutor will have to be appointed to replace the current prosecutor because his objectivity will have been been compromised by the position he took backing the medical examiner. I believe the same is true for the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that employed the medical examiner and endorsed his conclusions. To say that a lot is riding on the outcome of the battle of the experts is a vast understatement.

Without discovery, I cannot predict the outcome. Nevertheless, I know a lot about autopsies and how they are conducted, so I can provide you with an accurate idea of what to expect and a preview of the coming battle.

Right now the dispute appears to concern whether Kendrick sustained a blunt force traumatic injury to the right side of his neck. The forensic pathologist retained by Kendrick’s family concluded that he did and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s medical examiner apparently did not find such an injury. He and the GBI have reviewed the report of the second autopsy and they have issued statements saying they stand by his original report.

The dispute likely will be about the detection of subcutaneous bruising in an African American male. Bruising is easier to see on a white person because the skin is a lighter color. The darker the skin, the more difficult it is to spot bruising. In any case where blunt force trauma is suspected, it’s a good idea to cut into the skin with a scalpel and visually examine the tissue beneath the skin for evidence of broken blood vessels. If you find it, the next thing to do is to photograph what you found and attempt to determine the boundaries and shape of the bruised area. Then section the tissue and prepare slides for viewing with a microscope.

Although the medical examiner’s office did the right thing to section organ tissue on slides for preservation and viewing, he may have screwed up by not doing the same thing with Kendrick Johnson’s neck tissue. This will likely be the hotly disputed issue with the medical examiner claiming that the so-called evidence of blunt trauma was really due to a post mortem impact or an advanced state of decomposition, or both.

The loss of Kendrick’s internal organs is inexcusable. If the medical examiner was responsible, that will severely hurt his credibility

The manner in which he conducted the autopsy will be fair game. You will want to check and see if he followed standard operating procedure. For example, the body must first be placed on butcher paper to prevent the loss of trace evidence and then x-rayed to spot bullets, assorted shrapnel and the like, objects in pockets and broken bones.

Then the body must be visually examined and photographed from head to foot, face up and face down, before the clothes are removed and visually examined for evidence of an injury, such as a bullet hole, puncture or cutting and bleeding. Underwear should be examined for ejaculate and discharge. Clothing should be dried if wet and packaged in brown paper bags sealed with the exhibit number, date and initials of the person who packaged the article written across the seal. This is done to document chain of custody and to discourage tampering.

The photographic process is repeated after the clothes have been removed with special attention given to any injuries, including bruising.

It’s vitally important to follow this procedure during every autopsy to avoid missing something important. Nothing should be assumed and every possibility must be considered before it is ruled out.

The failure to spot a significant injury, even if it did not actually cause death, is inexcusable and is the sort of mistake that could result in an erroneous conclusion such as accidental death due to positional asphyxiation instead of a homicide committed by blunt force trauma to the neck disabling the victim followed by rolling the victim up in a mat and stowing it in an upright position with the victim upside down inducing death by positional asphyxiation.

Right now we have a battle between two forensic pathologists. No doubt each side will attempt to sign-up at least one and possibly several experts who will support the conclusion reached by its expert. Does this mean we are likely to hear from Dr. Vincent DiMaio again?

I sincerely hope not, but only time will tell.


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152 Responses to Kendrick Johnson and the coming battle of expert witnesses regarding cause of death

  1. crazy1946 says:

    Question for entire group!!! After a suggestion that I could get a list of team players on the various sports activities at Lowndes High School, I went on their web site, only to find as I attempted to access anything that was not on the main page I received a “404” message (site not found). Not to be defeated by that I started to look for other ways to find a list of team members that Kendrick played with on their school teams. I did find the site that I will give the link to at the bottom of this article. One problem, no where on any rooster (varsity football) from the time frame that he would have played, has his name listed. Now to the question, are we sure he played football and was it on the varsity team? Could/would they have a reason or means to remove his name from even external sites? If he did play varsity football as indicated in some of the articles, why is he not on the rooster, or could he be listed under another name? Could he have been on the Junior High Team and not on the High School team? I’m at a dead end and asking for help in understanding why I’m not able to find his name listed on the rooster for the team sports he was supposedly a participant in?

  2. acemayo says:
    The FBI table 43(2011) seems to be the reason why some say you can shot and kill if a black you think they are going to do wrong. Were are 28.4 percent of the population and the Blacks kills 49 % but the whites are 69.2% of the population and the whites kills 48% of the total of people kill.
    There’s some the areas where Whites was Assrest more than Blacks
    For Violent Crime White was arrests 1.55 times more than blacks
    For Property Crime White was arrests 2.32 times more than Blacks
    For Burglary Crime Whites was arrests 2.10 times more than Blacks
    For Larcency-theft Whites was arrests 2.38 times more than Blacks
    For Vandalism Whites was arrests 2.95 times more than Blacks
    For Other Assaults Whites was arrests 2.06 times more than Blacks
    For Driving under the influence Whites was arrests 7.07 times more than Blacks
    For Drunkenness Whites was arrests 5.27 times more than Blacks
    For All other offenses (except traffic) Whites was arrests 2.14 times more than Blacks
    For Drug abuse violations Whites was arrests 2.11 times more than Blacks
    Murder, Robbery, and Gambling are the arrest Blackss are more arrested
    For Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter Blackss was arrests1.03 times more than Whites
    For Robbery Blackss was arrests1.29 times more than Whites
    For Gambling Blackss was arrests2.24 times more than Whites
    Is the same living condtions the same as the blacks as for the whites in the areas of arrest

  3. Lynn says:

    They say his body tumbled out. Did they say the shoe tumbled with him? Because there is NO blood on the top of the shoe from a very drippy body. I believe the shoe looks to have been kicked into the puddle of blood. There were shoes everywhere belonging to lots of people. Amidst all the shuffle to knock down all those mats, couldn’t someone have tripped over it and it ended up in the puddle of blood? Only thing bloody on it is the shoelaces.

  4. Drew says:

    This case and the reaction to it makes me sicker and sicker by the day.

  5. Drew says:

    It’s amazing how many internet commenters blame the victim (he was stupid and fell). Or his parents for wanting justice (a payday). Or the lawyers for costing the taxpayers money (they’re craven grandstanders).

    The NAACP, Black Panthers, and Obama are also to blame, apparently, as is “their” culture (they want a handout – in this case, the handout is… free justice? I’m not quite clear on that).

    • crazy1946 says:

      Drew, Isn’t it strange that this “Free Justice” has forced Kendrick’s family to borrow money on their home to pay for legal bills to pursue this case.. Free Justice is not to be found in this nation! You have a much better chance of finding a sasquatch in downtown Miami than you do of find Free Justice…

    • MDH says:

      I hate those ass wipes with a passion.

      Seriously, as a man who has gone to the gym on a regular basis for almost 30 years, anyone who tells me that black people are lazy, not self motivated, and looking for an easy way out is a person who has never made pain their friend.

      What next?

      The Asians are not strong BS?

      Tell that to our Thai guy who can bust out reps ass to ankles on the front squat with a rather massive amount of weight.

      The point of this rant is that racists ass wipes never give black or any non-white people any credit for work. Their whole world revolves around “in the blood” based stereotypes.

      If a black person excel at sports, the retort is “its in the blood”. Never mind that Barry Sanders did reps with 600 pound on the back squat are part of his routine between games.

      If they excel in the professional world, the retort is “affirmative action” Never mind that Paul Robeson could bury one of their intellectual heroes such as Newt Gingrich in a debate wherein he beats Newty in about five languages.

      I used to be good natured and let it ride.

      Now, as far as I am concerned, the good {will} is gone.

      Look at their hero – Rush Limbaugh.

      Arguably he does have a very high IQ and, yet, being born into a wealthy family with a judge as a father, he failed to get a degree in any institution of higher learning. IOW, the facts show that he is intellectually lazy. A motivated, intelligent man with the start in life he got would have become a Senator or, maybe, even the President – like JFK or BHO.

      His physique is what we who deal with lawyers like to call a prima facie case of physical laziness.

      And yet he likes to make remarks about Michelle Obama, a near 50 year old women with upper arms that most pursue but never attain.

      His cognitive dissonance is a window into mental state of racist ass wipes.

  6. Drew says:

    He tumbled right out when the teacher pushed it over, yet he was lodged so tightly in there that he couldn’t move and smothered to death.

  7. crazy1946 says:

    Some thing just occurred to me, (don’t laugh too hard, I do think occasionally!). Do school team sports still have programs that have the names of the members of the team listed? If so, any guess where one might find them on line?

    • Girlp says:

      I’ve seen some I don’t know about Kendricks shool however.

      • crazy1946 says:

        Girlp, If anyone here can find them, see if you can find someone with the last name of “Carter” or “Alexander”, thanks in advance..

    • Girlp says:

      My high school has a roster for all sports varsity, Freshman and JV this year.

      • crazy1946 says:

        Girlp, I would be willing to bet Kendrick’s school does/did as well, but with my slow, limited band width internet connection, I can only do tedious search’s like that late at night… That’s one of the draw backs with living so far back in the boonies that they have to pipe sunlight in…

        • bettykath says:

          I did a search a few days ago. The school web site includes the names of teachers and the coaches and team members for various sports. I posted the results of my search on a previous thread. iirc, there were no names of interest but a new search by new eyes wouldn’t be out of line.

          “they have to pipe sunlight in” gotta remember that. 🙂

          actually, my aunt and uncle lived in a valley and got sunlight just a very few hours a day, even in summer. They could have used some of that piping it in.

          • crazy1946 says:

            bettykath, Thank you for that information, hopefully it will go back to not only the time Kendrick was MURDERED but to the year before as well. I will attempt to access it late tonight when traffic on the net has slowed down.. If you happen to look again, what I am looking for is a name of “Carter” or “Alexander”, either on the football team or basketball team or perhaps as a cheer leader.. I’m not looking at the fight that Kendrick was involved in, because I suspect there is a girl and or her brother, cousin, boy friend involved! I will probably get a rock thrown at me for saying this, but my guess is a white girl was involved with Kendrick and her family intervened physically and it got out of hand… The fight between Kendrick and the other foot ball player won’t work because he was already graduated from school at the time of the murder. One point you may not be aware of is that this school is a quasi segregated school, doubt me? Take a look at the county racial demographics and then the school demographics and then go to Valdosta High School and look at theirs! The figures don’t lie… Any one who thinks segregation is a thing of the past, needs to take a look at what I am talking about.. Do you think that might have a little impact on why no one has come forward with information?

          • aussie says:

            The Norwegian town Rjukan is in such a deep narrow valley, it got ZERO sunlight in winter. They installed giant mirrors on the suitable mountain, and now, for the first time, they have winter sunshine.


            The Italian village Viganella installed a polished metal mirror for the same purpose in 2008.

            (change the hxxp to http; we can only post 1 link her comment)

  8. Malisha says:

    Perhaps he asked some upstanding high school citizen (patrolling the gym to protect other students) something like, “Hey man, why’re you following me?” That would make it self-defense.

  9. Malisha says:

    He might have been late for class when he was beaten to death and stuffed into a mat. He might have been carrying a blue book and a yellow folder when he was beaten to death and stuffed in a mat. These are the mysteries. I’m sure there are more mysteries like them. Exactly what was he doing before he was beaten to death and stuffed into a mat?

    • Drew says:

      Essentially it could be his own fault, because we JUST DON’T KNOW what he did prior to being murdered.


    • Lyn says:

      There is no indication on either autopsy that Kendrick was beaten to death. In fact, a lack of trauma was noted on his face. Dead bodies are very difficult to handle. Would be impossible for anyone to stuff a dead body into a rolled up mat.

      • Drew says:

        You say this despite the fact that one of the autopsies actually did say that he died after being struck in the neck and having cardiac arrest.

        Please troll less shittily.

      • MDH says:

        The second autopsy indicated a massive blow to the neck that resulted in death. I did not know that, in the English, the verb “to beat” can only apply to blows to the face. I guess I learned something new today.

        What I did learn in Zimmerlish:

        MMA beatdown – a series of very hard blows in the range of 20 to 30 that take advantage of the remarkable Negro gene that allows the striker of the blow to have no marks on their knuckles and the magical Afro-Peruvian gene that allows the recipient of said blows to have only on two minor injuries on the face that received the blows.

        Zimmerbot – a person who believes anything law enforcement or a shooter of black people tells them like the word of God, if it pertains to a characteristic of black people that, if applied to any other human, would be regarded as bunk*.

        *For example, Bill Gates was able to explain why black men were dying in statistically far higher numbers than people of other colors when subject to a chokehold by the LA PD by stating they have a neck structure different than other humans.

      • crazy1946 says:

        Lyn, I suspect you have never been in the militaryand involved in a combat situation and seen a body bag, if you had, you would realize how invalid your statement about “stuffing” a body was…

        • Lyn says:

          No time in the military, but 45 years as an RN in the Emergency Department.

          • crazy1946 says:

            Well then you should be well aware that he well could have be put on the mat and the mat rolled up with little difficulty. That would be much easier than using a body bag…

      • Malisha says:

        My firm belief is that Kendrick Johnson was beaten to death and stuffed in a mat.

        • crazy1946 says:

          Malisha, I agree that Kendrick was beaten and placed in the mat, but not positive he was dead at that point.. One problem is that we don’t have any true knowledge of where the beating took place, or how he made it to the mat. Because of the absence of blood splatter all over the place, like you would have in this type of beating, the culprit either did a darn good job of cleaning the area, or the beating took place at another location, perhaps in the locker room in the shower area where blood is easy to wash off? That however is just a guess! I have heard some suggest it was not at the school or was here or there, but the problem with most guesses on that part is how did they get the body back to the school and into the mat before rigor mortis set in? Time is the enemy in those scenario’s. So here we have the dilemma, if during the school day, there were a lot of potential witnesses, same with early evening, leaving later in the evening, so, did they restrain him and then kill him later? Why no marks on his arms or legs if he was tied up? Perhaps he was with someone, a girl maybe, after the activities in the gym that night and someone caught him with her and the fight began? Again that is just a guess!

          • gblock says:

            My belief is that after Kendrick was dead or unconscious, the perpetrators unrolled mat, put him in it, rolled him up in it, and pushed it behind other mats.

            I suppose it is possible that Kendrick had stayed on at school for an evening activity and the beating happened then. That would be consistent with the report that says the parents first called the police fairly late in the evening. But it doesn’t fit other claims that he was missing from his classes after about 1 PM.

            If he was put in the corner of the gym in the rolled up mat hours later, I think that the beating took place soon after he disappeared, and his body was kept somewhere else or hidden until the gym was empty. Assuming that he was tied up or otherwise restrained for hours while still conscious seems to introduce unwarranted complexity.

    • crazy1946 says:

      Malisha, As silly as it may seem, the final location of the yellow folder could hold a link to his final location prior to the mat.. Could he have a class that required the yellow folder and he took the blue book with him when he left that class? Many times it is the little details that causes the story that was given to collapse and reveals the truth! Most of the time even a smart person will miss the little things… I wish we had access to a list of the people that he shared classes with…

      • Drew says:

        Trying to find inconsistencies is still better than what the local investigators did.

        Random blood on the wall? DNA didnt match KJ, so forget about it! It’s nothin!

        In fact, all this evidence here? Let’s just toss it – we already KNOW it was an accident.

        • crazy1946 says:

          Drew, Actually I’m surprised they did not rule it a suicide! Let’s see, hmmm, first he climbed on top of the mats, placed his head partly into the opening then hit himself on the side of the neck with a hockey stick, he then fell into the mat, and the hockey stick flew up and out an open window and was picked up by the grounds keeper and burnt with the trash.. Ok, case solved, next one…

  10. crazy1946 says:

    Question… If Kendrick was carrying a yellow folder when he entered the gym, was it found and if it was where was it located in relation to where the mat he alleged fell into?

    • Lynn says:

      They say he had a blue physical science book found on scene separate from the yellow folder. Each of the scenes with KJ carrying the folder shows no blue in sight. His grip looks to be just of a folder. Was physical science his next class and he forgot the book? Went in to retrieve it and explains why he was running in? Late for class?

  11. Malisha says:

    Where are the shoes and whose shoes and which one and when are all distractions. A kid does not beat himself up and wedge himself upside-down into a rolled up mat and die there. Period. End of story. New lie? Coming soon to a courthouse near you…

    • endlessummer76 says:

      From the Grantland link above: “Pieplow sprinted across the room. When he pushed the mats onto their sides, a black male’s body from the waist up tumbled out of one of them”

      So according to the official story, Kendrick dove or fell into the mat and was stuck so tightly he couldn’t breathe so he died, but when they pushed the mat over, Kendrick came tumbling out of the mat. But the mat was still rolled up.

      This is a huge inconsistency in the official version. His body tumbled out of the mat, but he was stuck so tightly in the mat he could not breathe.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      : /

  12. Danita says:

    When Kendrick entered the gym he had as someone said above a yellow folder. There were no sneakers in either hand. What if someone else placed the extra sneakers, what was the delay with the coroner did they need time to plant the shoes or did someone else plant the shoes.But my biggest question is the evidence that was missing in order for the case to be complete.What was that I wonder……

  13. Boyd says:

    I got it now, the Police came up with their theory after watching either the Final Destination movie series, or the Omen series, when strange things unfold leading to death.

    Valdosta Police blame the kid, if he only had heard the scary ominous music in the background he would have left the gym quick.

  14. endlessummer76 says:

    There is so much strange about this case. I have 2 big questions: 1. I have read that there was a shoe at the bottom of the mat (I am guessing below Kendrick’s head, sitting on the floor) but that it may not have been his shoe. If it was not his shoe, why would he go into the mat for it? 2. The crime scene photos show Kendrick head down in the mat with his feet, clothed in socks, at the top of the mat. His shoes, not on his feet, are on top of him around his legs. So how did his shoes get like that? He either went into the mat wearing the shoes and someone took them off, or he managed to slide his shoes off (to what purpose?), or someone threw his shoes in after him.

    How could it be that he could manage to remove his shoes while encased in the mat, but couldn’t manage to wiggle out of the mat somehow? What is the “accidental” explanation for his shoes being on top of him like that? If his shoes are on top of him, how could he have gone diving into a mat to get his shoes? This does not make sense. If he went into a mat to get someone else’s shoe, where was that person, and why didn’t they help him get out of the mat?
    Does anyone here know more about this whole “retrieving his shoe(s)” scenario, because it makes no sense at all to me. His shoes are on top of his body.

    • Drew says:

      That all is a pretty good summary of why we’re all here.

      It’s all pretty inexplicable, like you said.

    • bettykath says:

      He had two pairs of shoes. One pair was for class and the other for the field (?) The shoes next to his feet were the ones he was wearing. The others, one was near the mats (considering the crime scene contamination it’s not clear where Kendrick left it.) The other is the one they were claiming was at the bottom of the mat. However, it looks to have been thrown in sometime later b/c it was on top of the blood with very little blood on it.

    • Xena says:

      On the video, Kendrick entered the gym only carrying a yellow folder. He had no back-pack, and was not carrying shoes. That is why the story about him putting shoes in a mat is ridiculous.

  15. Boyd says:

    The strongest similarity I see in the Zimmerman case is the story line. In this case the premise is the kid went after his sneaker. Zimmerman’s case was he was following a suspect.

    The only basis to create this shoe retrieval story was to fit the desired conclusion.

    “Accidental death. yeah that’s it, the kid tried to retrieve his shoe and got stuck, yeah, that’s the ticket”

    • Drew says:

      “You got a problem, motherfucker?”

      • Boyd says:

        He couldn’t decide if homie or motherfucker sounded better so he tried both

        • Drew says:

          It worked!

        • Malisha says:

          THe whole reason I initially trusted Serino was that the first story Fogen told was that Trayvon Martin had “emerged from the darkness” and said, “You got a fuckin’ problem, homie?” Then in Serino’s interview (I think his second one), Serino is asking one question and interrupts himself to say, “And, … did he say the word ‘homie’?” Fogen says, in his low “challenged and don’t like it” voice, “I don’t remember.”

          To me, if you hear, “You got a fuckin’ problem, homie?” you DO remember. And if you don’t hear “homie,” you’re making up a sentence you think a thug would say. Only two ways it goes.

          That was one of the first things I sent to the prosecutor’s office during the summer of 2012. “The one-time use of the word ‘homie’ is proof that Zimmerman was lying about the contact he had with the victim.”

          • MDH says:

            The “homie” line was, for me, a tell as clear as a bell that Zimmerman was a lying ass moth**r F*cke* who had little or no real interaction with black youth beyond re-runs of Living Color or Juice that he watched on TV.

            I am still waiting on those mentored virtual black children.

          • Drew says:

            At the same time, as blatantly obvious as it was to us that the “homie” line was made up, I bet you that this line was a key dog whistle for racist white conservatives. Every time they heard it, they donated twenty bucks to the defense fund.

  16. Boyd says:

    what gets under my skin is law enforcement so easily believes this kid put himself into that situation. “I’m going to crawl into this thing head first and never ever think how I back out.” That’s an insult!

    And they speak about his weight lifting prowess, I would think he would toss the mats to get his shoe and not crawl down into one head first.

    • Rachael says:

      exactly. the crawling in makes NO sense whatsoever.

      • Drew says:

        Maybe he reached in and then lost balance and fell.

        • Two sides to a story says:

          Even so, wouldn’t it be possible to knock the mat over while inside it?

          • Drew says:

            The racists (and I say this because I have really yet to see an online commenter who DOESNT say something vaguely or blatantly racist while supporting the shoe theory) all say that the mats are like 500 lbs.

            I still think even it if were heavy, because of it’s height and the angle that it could be toppled with all of your body weight.

          • gblock says:

            I read something that gave a weight in the 120-150 pound range, which seems more likely to me. Something else that occurred to me – if someone were going to reach into the mat to try to retrieve an object, wouldn’t he tend to go in up to about the waist, with the bottom half of his body sticking out? If he still couldn’t retrieve the object, wouldn’t he then try to get out, instead of going in still further? Of course, even that’s only after ignoring or getting past the father’s objection – that he wouldn’t go in past the head because his shoulders wouldn’t fit.

  17. Drew says:

    This guy is very willing to accept the narrative presented by investigators and even more willing to dismiss racial elements.

    I really don’t know what to say to people who “play the race card” by accusing others of “playing the race card”. It’s mind-boggling.

    To me, the racial bias occurred in the investigation, while any racial connection to the crime itself has yet to be proven (at least as far as I know from the evidence given – it’s possible once the murder is properly investigated, that some kind of racial angle develops).

    It is deeply naive and wilfully dishonest to claim that a non-black student’s body / crime scene / autopsy / evidence would be treated in the way that Kendrick Johnson’s was treated.

    • Rachael says:

      Drew, you say: “It is deeply naive and wilfully dishonest to claim that a non-black student’s body / crime scene / autopsy / evidence would be treated in the way that Kendrick Johnson’s was treated.”

      While I totally agree with you – the thing is, if “they” say they’d have done the same it had been a non-black student, there is still a big problem. The whole thing was handled wrong regardless of what color the student was, however, it was handled wrong IMO *because* he was black.

      • Drew says:

        Oh absolutely. It’s bizarre if moving bodies and chucking evidence is their standard operating procedure.

        I assume it’s not, which is why this case smells fishy.

    • bettykath says:

      “It is deeply naive and wilfully dishonest to claim that a non-black student’s body / crime scene / autopsy / evidence would be treated in the way that Kendrick Johnson’s was treated.”

      Social or political power of the perpetrators could result in coverup treatment. And that may be the case here. Of course, if the victim were the one with the social or political connections the investigation would be done quite differently.

      • Drew says:


        Some more stuff here:

        To me, all of that, on top of the ridiculous nature of the “accident” story, is what makes all of this a story. Because, since all the evidence was compromised, it’s really hard to tell from the “facts” what happened. Without real, uncompromised evidence (including raw, unedited surveillance footage, which I do not believe we have seen yet), we’ve only got the inconsistencies to hang our hat on.

        Kind of like with Zimmerman. The crime scene was botched, witnesses were tampered with and coached, medical and toxicology reports blown, among other things, which all resulted in the “facts” being a he-said/she-said thing. We had all the lies and inconsistencies in his story that really caused us to dig deeper and expose a lot of “facts” that made no sense. But those who bought into Zimm’s lies due to racism, color-blindness, or blind deference to authority tended to see the case as lacking in evidence.

        • Lynn says:

          A well put together article. Explains the chain they were suppose to follow and the chain that they did instead.

          • Drew says:

            To me that warrants consideration regardless of whether or not you believe the accident theory.

          • Lyn says:

            Watson had nothing to do with the GBI chain of custody. He is a nobody in this case. He is not even a Doctor. His job was to come and say the body was dead and call or not call it a homicide. GBI was already investigating this as a homicide until proven differently. The Doc who did the autopsy is a Board Certified Forensic physician.

          • aussie says:

            Lynn, Watson is not a “nobody”. He is a person who has to be called, IMMEDIATELY, BY LAW. The issue is not how much light he could have thrown on the case. The issue is, it is yet another step in this case in which legally required processes were not followed.

  18. ROBINPOSTELL says:

    Reblogged this on KENDRICK JOHNSON: The Boy Who Never Came Home and commented:
    Interesting to hear from others who are for the most part “neutral” and clearly unbiased. Thanks Frederick Leatherman.

  19. Lyn says:

    Who is “they”?

    • colin black says:

      They I M O are the culprits involved in this young mans murder an the on going cover up.

      The boy he allegedly bested in a fight his father an possably the family of the white girl he was dateing..

      The mind set that led to Emmet Tills Lynching is still flourishing in jerkwad U S A..

      An many other so called western civilisations.

  20. colin black says:

    It seems really strange to me that a parent would get involved in that particular way, although I guess it happens with some parents. Do you have any idea why this was such a big deal to the father

    Its called testosterone mixed with machismo an ignorance.

    Males are geniticaly programed to be agresive more so than Females.
    It was advantageous back In the day when we were hunter gathers an men had to be warriors to defend there own kith an kin.

    An hunters to secure food through hunting game but also competition for sources of fruit berries an fungis edibles when in season would lead to conflict with other tribes wanting the same resourses.

    So today theres a type of male were violence has an inflated importance In there make up.
    Even although the days of fighting aggressively for food or land has passed

    They live under the Ilussion that violence is Important an gives them an inflated sense of ego .

    They are also bullies whom use there love of violence to intimidate an there mistaken belief that respect is also bestowed up on them by those they bested in a violent incident
    Or those they victimised with there aggressive an threatening attitude.

    They have no self insight an no concept that there victims far from respecting them.

    In reality despise them..
    Doesn’t happen .

    Never in the History of Humankind has a recepitant of vilonce pain inflicted on them by another thought .

    Wow what an assume person you are I respect an get you now.

    No all they get is loathing an rightfully so because they are loathsome creatures.

    An when one of thease bullies macho men face the humiliation of getting bested by another.

    They cannot handle it .

    Does not compute even if its a defeat by proxy .

    Say your son gets his come uppance.

    The humiliation is unbearable the sense of shame an humiliation is way way over board for its a sensation they have never felt before.

    So off course the Father wants arematch an not even a fair rematch as the victor was being invited into his back yard to have this do over.

    An that’s exact;lly what the plan was to get Kendrik done over for having the audacity to beat up this kid.

    An make them feel all thease strange emotions

    Of course Kendrik declined but he was only postponeing the inevitable

    He was marked for execution an his murder was going to be swept under the mat an no one need ever no .

    An they would no longer have to endure that feeling every time they saw his smug face or jaunty walk down the halls an street.

  21. Brandy says:

    Fred, I read here all the time but rarely comment. Love your blog and appreciate the time and work you put into bringing us all reliable facts, info and commentary. I will be happy to make a donation on the 15th.

  22. Lyn says:

    Fred, my Social Security check comes on the 4th Wednesday of the month. Will send donation then.

    • Rachael says:

      I was supposed to take my dog to the vet today, but it cost $19 and I only have $18, but I get paid on the 15th too and I just got a new job so I can have something on the 15 and hopefully in the future.

  23. bettykath says:

    I previously indicated a report said that Kendrick was exposed to his rib cage. I interpreted this to mean that his rib cage was actually exposed, as in, he wasn’t wearing a shirt. This was a misinterpretation. I now believe it meant that his clothed body, head to his rib cage, was outside of the mat. Rib cage was used to indicate body position, not his state of un/dress. That same report indicated that he was wearing shorts. Not true. He was wearing jeans and shirts.

  24. bettykath says:

    Police report, page 19 at the bottom, a witness saw Kendrick in lecture hall at 3 pm and had a 15 minute conversation with him. Police say this interaction is not on the surveillance video.

    • gblock says:

      I thought that school attendance records had showed Kendrick as not being present in his classes after 1 PM. Is this just a mistake on the part of the witness?

      • Rachael says:

        Might explain why no interaction is seen.

      • bettykath says:

        Could be a mistake by the witness. Could be the lecture hall is not where his class was held so he would be absent from his class but still in the school. Not enough info imo.

        • Drew says:

          I would hope attendance records are being analyzed and used as part of the investigation. Although I suppose there wasn’t much of an investigation.

          This is one reason why attendance records are important and shouldn’t be an afterthought.

  25. dianetrotter says:

    It is worth a measly $5 a month to get up-to-date, accurate information and discuss it like the intelligent people that we are.

  26. dianetrotter says:

    It is considered grave robbing if a person takes something from a grave. How can someone get away with remove organs and stuffing the body with paper?

  27. Boyd says:

    I was not following this case, I just started. I began by asking the first question and I cannot find the answer. Who rolled up the mats?

    • Boyd says:

      oh, I see they said the kid climbed in there. Therefore I expect they did a reenactment, right? I find it very doubtful some kid would climb into a rolled mat and die. What about the blood?

  28. Drew says:

    Is there something about this case that makes George Zimmerman supporters suddenly side with the decisions of law enforcement?

    • bettykath says:

      The links in this report contain the actual police reports, redacted.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Yes, GZ supporters run on auto-brain, automatically assuming that black parents only want to make money from their dead children and that their children all had it coming.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Oh, then there’s the other type, that is sooo, sorry for the deaths, but it’s all justifiable homicide or an accident, and the BGI (black grievance industry) simply blows everything all out of proportion, thus erasing 400 years of history. There’s no racism in America any more, don’t ya know!

        • Drew says:

          They fight so hard against something that they cannot even begin to understand, and does not even apply to them anyway.

    • Lynn says:

      Yes, these are @RZimmermanjr followers. The blog is like reading the nuthouse all over again. The whole blog is wrote in this fashion…find a bit of evidence that is damaging…make up the silliest excuse for it…go to the next piece of evidence…repeat.
      i.e. (summarized) So he got his first shoe and threw it out…then the next shoe was a few inches further so he fell in…he tried kicking off his shoes to get attention…and they fell back in on him and he died.

      How can people just say okay, sounds good to me? I tend to question everything and try to think things for myself. Hmmm…like, wouldn’t he have to scissor his legs or bend his knees to remove his shoes like that if he was squished tightly down in the mat? Not rocket science.

      • Drew says:

        Re: the Zimmerman angle, why, though? Do they really hate blacks so much that they would deny that a murder occurred at a school, where kids are supposed to be safe? I think they’re really crossing a line into subhuman surreality when they more or less support kids dying at schools just because OMG BLACK AL SHARPTON OBAMA.

        Re: the shoes / mat tightness… On one hand, they’ll argue the mat was rolled VERY LOOSELY, which allowed this young man to (implausibly) fall in there despite the width of his shoulders being too large to fit. But then… on the other hand, it was SO TIGHT that when he fell in, he couldn’t get out, move around, or even cry for help.

        Maybe it constricted like a boa once he got in there. And then the three shoes were ejected out of the top somehow. Yup.

    • gblock says:

      I don’t think there is any “suddenly” about that. The standard narrative among GZ supporters is that the police realized that the shooting of Trayvon Martin was self-defense and Zimmerman was only charged when political pressure forced them to do so. So why would they doubt the decisions of law enforcement in the case of the Kendrick Johnson death?

  29. bettykath says:


    Another strangeness. The body went to Macon for autopsy on Monday.

    “On Sunday, he did. Kenneth drove to the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory. He met two deputies and a crime scene technician, who escorted him to the room where the body was held. The temperature inside the room was surprisingly warm, Kenneth remembers. ‘I thought to myself, When they open the drawer, it will be cold.’ Only, according to Kenneth, it wasn’t. Instead, he says, hot air rushed upward from around his son’s body.?

    His finger nails didn’t make to the autopsy.

    “Kenneth wanted to memorize the body he saw now — the body that didn’t look like his son’s. He noted some scratches on Kendrick’s hands and discoloration in his face. He even checked the fingernails. They looked like they’d been clipped. This was strange, Kenneth thought. Kendrick always kept his nails long.”

    Kendrick’s clothing disappeared between the time his body left Valdosta and when it arrived at the funeral parlor.

  30. aussie says:

    If they called parents for every schoolyard fight,the parents would have to live there. If a kid is injured, sure,notify the parents. If a kid dies, the parents would be told the hospital he was taken to. I imagine they’d NOT want the parents at the murder/accident scene with all the blood and gore.
    Once the police were there ( and yes, they’d be the FIRST to call, not the parents, as at the police stage they body had not even been identified) then it is up to the police to do the notifications.

    But the school’s idea of notification is strange all the same. The police were not called by a teacher but by one of the students.

    • Drew says:

      In our school, we notify parents of violent incidents immediately, namely to cover our asses in the event that they say it was not addressed.

      The parents are not required to come in, but more often than not, both victim and perpetrator of violence choose to meet with school administration to discuss, complain, point fingers, etc.

      I’m not saying every school does this, or should. I’m just pointing out that in much more minor cases of accident, assault, or other incidents like theft or destruction of property, parents at the school I work in are notified fairly quickly.

      I would assume that death would be similar, not the five hour waiting period that’s apparently the protocol at Lowndes.

      Of course, with a “real” accident, the parents WOULD have been notified, even at Lowndes.

      The main point is that this was not a common accident occurring amidst the events of a normal school day. Otherwise it would have been dealt with and reported immediately.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        That school administration knew the death was fishy and seemed to do whatever they could to delay justice.

        • Drew says:

          That’s what I’m implying. Or that when police arrived, the investigators / officers at the scene were the ones who initiated the cover-up, and then the school administration was complicit.

          I know that if an accidental death (or homicide for that matter) occurred at my school, we would NOT hesitate to call authorities and/or parents of those involved. It would be the first thing.

  31. Drew says:

    This blogger brings up a good point. Why weren’t the parents notified immediately?

    If true, it is more grounds for suspicion. If a child in my school is assaulted (even something as “minor” as a slap from another student), parents are notified immediately. It would be a difficult phone call, but I imagine that in the event a child died on campus, parents would be called right away and encouraged to rush to the school.

    • Lynn says:

      The mother was on school grounds when the body was discovered. No need to call. She overheard. Sad.

      This is from one of the best written articles I have read. A great display of journalism. A must read.

      “Memories of the next day come in flashes. There’s Jackie in the school at 8:30 a.m., asking if anyone had seen her son. There were the text messages she received while sitting in the guidance counselor’s office: There are ambulances and fire trucks in the parking lot. No one can come in the entrance.

      Then there was the sentence she wasn’t supposed to hear, the one said to the guidance counselor, whose phone’s volume was turned up too loud. “They found a body in the gym,” the voice on the other end said, according to Jackie. The counselor left the room, and that’s when Jackie knew.”

      • Drew says:

        Ok I was misinformed.

        It was the coroner who was not contacted immediately.


      • Lynn says:

        Forgot to mention I noticed a new tidbit in this article that I hadn’t heard before. The transport company guy that brought the body to and from Macon to the GBI autopsy (which allegedly lost all of the clothes/personal items), was a former Valdosta police officer. The plot thickens.

      • Rachael says:

        OMG, what an awful way to find out! Not that any way would be good but…

      • aussie says:

        And what could they do? notify her before the body was even found??? never mind identified?
        There’s a LOT in this case that stinks, but let us try to be reasonable about when to lay blame.

        • Drew says:

          I’m not laying blame on anyone, my friend.

          I’m trying to look for inconsistencies with standard behavior.

          Standard behavior would be to notify parents and authorities; I was trying to say that if this didn’t happen that they were hiding something.

          Turns out I had the wrong info – it was the coroner who wasn’t called immediately, not the parents or law enforcement (on the other hand, because of the missing person report, both happened to be in the building anyway – I wonder if they would have been contacted had they not been right there).

          Still, regarding the coroner – clearly a breach of standard protocol – wonder why?

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Exactly. Schools generally call parents first thing in the morning when a student doesn’t show on the rolls.

  32. aussie says:

    Video shows a few rolls lying on their sides. Centre hole roughly8=10 inches, NINE layers of mat wrapped around. In fact they look tight enough you could put in a pair of shoes and they would NOT GO DOWN, only far enough to be not visible.
    The one Kendrick was in was only 6 layers around with much bigger central space. .A single rolled item MIGHT expand and loosen like that if you try to expand the centre. But NOT if it is squashed up against other heavy items, like this one was. That mat was rolled AFTER Kendrick went in. There was probably a bit of blood on other parts of the mat too. Did they look? (rhetorical question).

    They need to release all the gym area videos with the timestamps not edited off. From when he went in to when he was found. I’d bet some are missing or corrupted, except nobody here would take the bet.

    • bettykath says:

      Suggested correction: all tapes from when he went in until he left, maybe later. We also need to see what everyone did after his body was found.

      • Drew says:

        I would guess the cameras were turned off at that time, on purpose.

        They didnt realize that the most incriminating footage is the footage from the previous afternoon, when classes are being held at the same time a kid is dying in the wrestling mats.

  33. colin black says:

    Its beyond ridiculas.

    The human race are notable for there instinctive use of inanimate objects as tools

    A rock as a weapon a hammer or a blade if the right type of rock.
    Piece of wood to extend ones reach or a club or if lengthened an sharpened a spear or stabby stick.

    We are ingenious fuckers birds also use tools as do otters an chimps use tools to crack nuts twigs to poke into ants nests for a free buffet.

    An yet they expect us to believe an American high school student could find no other way to retrieve a wayward training shoe .Other than dive head first into a narrow hole..

    Come on you would simply fish it out using your other shoe an laces an drag it towards you .

    Or every school gym has high up windows an is lousy with them long wooden poles with the brass hook on top for opening an closeing high windows.

    An this was an old gym with no electronics so its probably got lots of them.

    But nope none of this ocoured to Kendrik an he went in head first puhleaaaase!.

  34. Kelly says:

    I so appreciate your blog posts. Sometimes I have to spend hours catching, but it is always a pleasure to support your work here.

    I did want to say I heard a few bloggers that also rely on donations looking at Patheos as they pay $100 for every 25,000 page views which I imagine is well within your volume.

    I know nothing about them or their features, I just wanted to pass along that I had seen this come up with other bloggers lately.

    My only comment on this is that I am so sick of this. I would like to say this is new, but the law enforcement are so inherently racist it is really no different than the town sheriff not “liking the look of you” in order for you to be “not worth the breath you take”. Of course, we all know this falls heavy and succinctly on the African American community nationally.

    I wish there was a way to “clean house” and stop this complete injustice. I am heartsick and worn out at the Trayvon Martin verdict and case and I can’t count the number that have hit the media reports since.

    I can’t imagine the number that have not.

    God Bless Kendrick’s family. I can’t imagine what they are going through.

  35. I can’t imagine that anyone believes that this occurred in the manner the local officials said. Who retrieves a shoe by diving into a mat? Wouldn’t you simply knock the mat down and unroll it? Apparently, I’m missing something. Thanks, Professor, for keeping us posted.

    • Drew says:

      Yeah, where are the other parents of students enrolled there?

      If this happened at my school, the parents would be up in arms blaming each and every individual staff member, to the point where it would be abusive and harassing.


    • bettykath says:

      What you’re missing is that the rolled up mat with Kendrick in it was not at the edge of the mats, it was blocked in by several other mats. He would have had to have moved several other mats to get to the one that presumably held his shoe. But that’s not the point. There are too many inconsistencies with the official story to believe the shoe-retrieval story.

  36. bettykath says:

    Dr. Vincent DiMaio – expert whore. He was hired to tell only the defendant’s story, not the truth. He doesn’t really expect to be paid except for additional notoriety.

  37. Malisha says:

    Cause of Death.

    Proper well-credentialed forensic pathologist: He was murdered and his body was rolled up into a mat.

    Corrupt County Expert: He got Black. His comorbid associated unhealthy thugness must have caused an accident that resulted in unknown manner of death and all like that. Can’t be helped.

  38. bettykath says:

    What’s interesting is that the fight on school bus was of such importance that the father of the boy who was bested got involved and invited a rematch at his home, a rematch that Kendrick declined.

    In the video that shows Kendrick in the gym moving from right to left, it looks as if Kenrick is running, at least walking very fast. Before he moves across the gym, it immediately cuts to a couple of other students. It doesn’t stay on Kendrick long enough to see if he was followed.

  39. Drew says:

    I hadn’t seen this story regarding specific students questioned in the weeks after the murder:

    Amazing how, were a black man connected to the victim in such a way, many hoops would be jumped through and many legal obstacles trampled in order to ensure an arrest.

    However in this case, this kid is left alone.

    I’m not saying Chris Martin the killer and maybe they have enough evidence to know for sure that he’s not, but come on, if this were reversed (white student dead, black student questioned) they’d be looking to pin everything but 9/11 on the black kid.

    To me this is an angle that should be pursued.

    For example, was this guy related in any way to the kid who, on Facebook, threatened (with racial overtones) to kill other black students who hung out in the same circles as Kendrick.

    Again, I can’t be sure of the specifics of that incident either, but I’m 1000% positive that if a kid at the school I work at threatened another student or staff member on Facebook, they’d be a) expelled immediately and b) facing criminal investigation if not certain charges.

  40. colin black says:

    Thing is a swift blow to front of a victims neck can if delivered with force ,
    Crush there thorax an cause death due to dry drowning inability to breathe.
    Death would be agoniseing for victim an take minutes to ocour an bruiseing would be evident.

    However to kill someone with a blow to the side of the neck left or right if far more difficult.

    There is no vulnerable spot such as the thorax its well protected by strong neck muscle.
    The only way to kill someone with a side stroke of blunt force trauma to the side of ones neck.

    Is to apply such tremendous force that the upper vertebrae neck muscle is severed from the spinal cord an death would be instantaneous.

    An no bruiseing would be present

  41. EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:

    Justice will not be serve and this is turning into another Trayvon Martin case. Guess the only way to help others is to continue working with the less fortunate and needy. At least, people can change lives that way and right many wrongs. Laws must be changed and everytime one of these cases appear who wins the criminal attached to powers-that-be.

    Looking at this new case of Renisha McBride whose face was partially blown off after knocking on a neighbor’s door possibly needing help after being in a car accident. What happens here another “lets get this shooter off.” Why do blacks have to rally and create a national scene to get justice? It is not fair. After gathering with my relative who deals in a lot of criminal work, my question is why people are so gun are happy, insecure and mean spirited these days. No person can give a rational answer, my entitled opinion “no self control and evil.”

    • Malisha says:

      “no self control” is actually almost moot when you regard evil. A person like Fogen does not have a problem controlling himself if he is doing something he WANTS to do and he believes (in this case, unfortunately, correctly) that he will not be punished for it. It’s like saying that a person failed to live up to expectations when, instead, he lived up to expectations that were evil. A Nazi, a racist, an abuser of any sort can always manage to control himself/herself when faced with greater power that does NOT want to allow him/her to do what he/she wants to do, regardless of right and wrong. These folks can control themselves fine when they have to. But when they get free-cards to do as they please and others whom they hurt lack the power to protect themselves, no self control is needed.

      That’s where our whole society is headed. Back there. We’ve obviously been there before and had only brief hiatuses (hiati?) when this was not the case.

  42. bettykath says:

    Lots of new information in this post.

    With power and politics involved, I’m not too optimistic about justice being served. There seems to be a rising tide of those who fear losing their white privilege. I’m thinking of the voter changes as well as the incarceration rates and the unresolved deaths of the poor and non-whites. White privilege has always been protected, but overt actions seem to be making a comeback. They don’t wear their white sheets in public, but the results, re: justice, are much the same. Let’s hope some enlightenment is available in the state.

    • bettykath says:

      Chris Hayes featured a mayor in Pasadena TX who pushed for changes the city districts from 8 to 6 plus 2 at-large seats so that whites would retain control over the Latinos. The current white majority passed the referendum. (I’m not sure about the number of districts but 8 to 6 is ball park.) This is exactly the situation in Syracuse NY where there is a lot of diversity within most of the city but it’s controlled by the outlying white population. Several district seats but at least two at-large seats that are always won by white candidates.

  43. EveryoneIsEntitledToTheirOpinion says:


  44. Two sides to a story says:


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