Three troubling questions and a theory about Kendrick Johnson’s death

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CAUTION: Graphic images. Advance the tape to the 3:44 mark to see the Nike shoes in the video

Good afternoon:

I write this afternoon about the Nike shoes Kendrick Johnson was wearing the day he disappeared and the pair of Adidas shoes that he was attempting to retrieve from inside a rolled-up mat. I have three troubling questions and a theory about how he died.

According to Russ Bynum at the Huffington Post:

The Associated Press obtained the 522-page case file through an open records request and reviewed it, along with security camera footage and crime scene and autopsy photographs, for this story.

Three students told deputies that some classmates kept gym shoes stashed behind or beneath the gym mats, especially if they didn’t rent school lockers. One said he and Kendrick shared a pair of Adidas shoes and that after class the student always would “go to the mats, jump up and toss the shoes inside the middle of the hole.”

When Kendrick was found, the Nike shoes he’d worn to school were tucked behind his legs inside the mat. A science textbook and a folder containing his class schedule and latest report card lay on the floor near the mats. Also on the floor was an Adidas shoe. Deputies found its match pinned beneath Kendrick’s arm and head.

Medical Examiner Maryanne Gaffney-Kraft found no wounds except for a scrape on the back of Kendrick’s right wrist and three small injuries on his right pinky. She determined he died accidentally from “positional asphyxia,” meaning his body was stuck in a position that prevented him from breathing.

(1) Why are KL’s Nike shoes “tucked behind his legs inside the mat?”

Evidently, he took them off before he attempted to retrieve the Adidas shoes. I do not see how he could have reached them and pulled them into the hole behind him. Did someone toss them into the hole behind him after he was already stuck.

(2) Why is one Adidas shoe found outside the mat and the other one inside?

Apparently, he had retrieved one shoe, but not the other. Why was he able to retrieve one shoe, but not the other? Also, given the shoe-sharing arrangement that he had with the other boy, I am not seeing any reason to believe that either boy had experienced any difficulty retrieving the shoes in the past. Why all of a sudden did Kendrick have a problem this time?

(3) Assuming Kendrick reached into the tube with one hand while he held on to the mat with his other hand to keep from slipping into the tube and to pull himself back out of the tube after he grabbed the shoe, aren’t the “scrape on the back of Kendrick’s right wrist and three small injuries on his right pinky” consistent with someone prying his fingers loose so that he could not extricate himself from the tube?

I suspect this is how Kendrick Johnson died.

The person responsible for his death seized the opportunity to loosen his fingers and then tossed his Nike shoes in after him so no one would notice them next to the hole and take a look. The Adidas shoe remained with Kendrick’s books and report card on the floor where he left it after retrieving it.


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38 Responses to Three troubling questions and a theory about Kendrick Johnson’s death

  1. ktay says:

    I believe the killers are seen entering the gym behind kendrick on one of the survelliance cameras. Heres why. The white kid clearly passes two things to the black kids in the small group. They see kendrick coming down the hall. He is avoiding them. As he passes by, one of the black kids looks to slip something on his fingers. Brass knuckles? He then turns and stares kendrick down for a second. Kendrick goes into the gym.he is followed by three black kids. Don’t know where the white kid is. The next camera frame shows kendrick for a few seconds. He is running and appears to look over his shoulder. I believe these kids are chasing him. They beat him and rolled him in the mat. That tape needs to be enhanced and studied frame by frame.Those boys need to be interrogated seperately. I’m sure one may crack.

  2. jimmyxxx says:

    A new narrative on Valdosta news forums is that KJ wore low pants.

    Get ready for the smear campaign.

    Racists are priming a self-defense narrative for the news to latch on to.

    KJ was a vicious thug just asking for death!

  3. Lynn says:

    My vision/theory is this.
    The second autopsy showed acute hemorrhage in the neck tissue, acute hemorrhage in the jawbone (a bone bruise-usually from blunt force trauma), and acute hemorrhage at the split at the carotid. (a picture link is in the reply.) Injury on the wrist and knuckles would make sense too.
    This could have been a planned attack or a workout spotter mistake to which the kids freaked and tried to hide.
    The wrestling room was directly across the hall from where the body was found. I’m not certain if the weight room was directly in the gym, but one police statement says that someone entered the gym and went to the weight room area.
    I find the April police statements most conflicting. The kids interviewed go from, ‘we heard nothing and saw nobody’ to ‘heard loud noises (that they checked on) and seeing janitors, students, parents, basketball team, color guard, coach’s husband, the lone stranger and the wrestling team.’
    Times switch from basketball practice ending at 5:30 or 6pm. Color guard says they were practicing from 5 until 8:00, 9:00, or 9:45 depending on the girl. One said coaches left at 9 but they practiced until 9:45.
    They mention the stranger being let in at 8-9pm. they speak of the wrestling team briefly coming in and then exiting the gym. Yet others interviewed said there were no one there outside of the Winter Guard.
    When checking on noises (described as a back door) that only some girls heard (and a mom), they found a lunch room door up and another mentions a roll-up outside door that is usually opened only when it rains. It was suppose to be closed at night during the time they were there. They saw the janitor and figured he was making the noise.
    Some people saw people on the rolled up mats, others said no one was on the mats that day. One person even said the coach’s husband was hiding in the mats and jumping out and scaring kids. I guess there were two areas of mats? Yellow, red, blue. Who knows.
    These kids weren’t interviewed until months after the fact. What if they had a clue or a lead? Months???
    One guys says he got a text a few days from a local Valdosta Verizon number after the finding of KJ asking to call CNN and demand justice for KJ. When asked what he had heard, he mentions several rumors. Two guys beat him up, he got stuck reaching for a shirt, and that he rolled himself up in the mat.

    No one’s story matches, but the injuries don’t lie. Blunt force trauma. He was hit hard.

    • Malisha says:

      To me one of the most suspicious facts is the six blood drips on the wall that the crime scene forensic team does not even identify and that the official says simply is “not Kendrick’s blood.” Oh no? Whose was it? Maybe the guy whose blood would also appear under Kendrick’s fingernails in defensive wounds? Could we get a picture of that poor victim’s head with the dripping blood, please, ABC? Hey — are you listening?

  4. bettykath says:

    fuzzy, not fussy, videos

  5. bettykath says:

    Interesting theory but, as you point out, it doesn’t explain the shoes on top of him. It doesn’t explain the lack of blood on the shoe below him. Other questions: missing and fussy videos, missing organs, missing clothing. This wasn’t a Kendrick did it to himself case. At least one other person was involved in the gym and multiple others were involved in the disappearing videos, organs, clothes. And, what to say about the sloppy crime scene work, the lack of coroner notification.

  6. colin black says:

    Sad fact is I don’t even see this cover up as a conspiracy.
    To qualify as one people in places of power would have to conspire.

    An none was needed not even a nod an a wink as raceism is so ingrained in this case.
    It was par for the course that this unpleasantness was going to be brushed under the mat.

    • Malisha says:

      Winks and nods are the conspiracies of the very powerful.
      Only the halfway powerful have to sit down together and plan it out; the very powerful just realize they need to protect each other and they do it without really planning. The more haphazard and idiotic it gets, the more they avail themselves of the prerogative to change the story, lie about more, and bring in more liars to back up their lies. In the end they bring in uncles to identify screams that voice experts were prevented from opining on.

  7. Danita says:

    Yes thats possible but what about the blow the right side of the neck cant be wished away. The case is fowl and will probably never be solved because video footage has been modified edited and even fuzzed out. There is no doubt this case stinks to high heaven but the most important pieces of this puzzle have been put away far enough that no none can find them. His parents will never find out who what and why their child died such a horrible death.I really dont believe that Kendrick reached into that mat at all. Maybe he was confronted after he turned his back when the shoe was thrown into the mat, hit from the right turned around and began a fight he wasnt going to win because its was more then one person. Remember his fingernails were clipped as well.This case has made me crazy because its so horrible when you look at his face.

    • Yes, the blow to the right side of the neck presents a problem for my theory, unless the condition of the soft tissue at the time of the second autopsy complicates the interpretation.

      With his head down and his right arm extended toward the upper entrance to the tube possibly grappling with someone attempting to pry his fingers loose, perhaps he sustained a hyperextension or stretching type injury.

      I would want to consult with an independent expert and compare the two autopsy reports and photos before reaching a conclusion.

  8. Malisha says:

    Chris Martin tweeted:

    Black kills black, it’s gang, black kills white, it’s rarely seen in the news, white kills black, it’s a hate crime and the whole world hears.”

    Wrong. This is the right one:

    Black kills black, perp arrested and easily convicted; Black kills white, perp arrested and easily convicted and high likelihood of death penalty; white kills Black, it’s easily covered up and idiot story like “fell on his head” or “thuggishly tried to kill neighborhood watch guy, causing his own death by self-defense” is widely “believed” [read “conveniently promulgated by huffy drunken impotent males and starstruck trashy females”] by resentful, racist, paranoid losers who spend months and even years tweeting and commenting about their terrible victimization at the hands of appropriately deceased African Americans.

    • I don’t disagree with you. According to my theory, any kid in the school, white or black, boy or girl, could have done it alone. That would include the kid you have in mind or someone attempting to impress him.

      It could have been done opportunistically without any planning, or it may have been planned with malice aforethought.

      It also could have been a practical joke that resulted in an unintended consequence.

      Teens do stupid things sometimes.

      There is a reason why the shoes he was wearing were found in the tube and I doubt he placed them there.

      He was so used to retrieving shoes stashed in the mats that I doubt he slipped-up without “assistance” from someone. It’s possible he didn’t see the person who pried his fingers loose.

    • MDH says:

      IMO, when a black kills either another black or white, then any other black can be the perp easily convicted, regardless of the evidence.

      IOW, all blacks must pay for the crime of an individual black.

      The racist rationale being that they are all the same anyhow.

      One need only look to the Central Park Five case to see that in action.

      In the case of a white – either by admission or by overwhelming evidence – killing a black, there is a presumed guilt on the part of the black victim that they committed acts that brought about their demise that must be disproven beyond a reasonable doubt.

      This point was driven home by all the “reality based” legal experts who came to the defense of GZ at the “progressive” Daily Kos.

      All my simple mind knows is that anyone who says the USA is post-racial is F’d up in the head big time.

    • jimmyxxx says:

      I find the last part almost as troubling as the murders.

      There are dudes who troll every story about Kendrick / Trayvon just to mock the kids and their family.

      Surprised they haven’t showed up here more often.

  9. Malisha says:

    I don’t really understand why we should use, as a starting point, the “shoe retrieval story” at all. I don’t think it holds water and I don’t think a healthy kid Kendrick’s size fell into a rolled-up gym mat, period. I think the “shoe retrieval story” is a red herring and I think the suggestion that his activity was shoe retrieval is illogical enough to be discarded unless all other MORE likely scenarios have been definitely ruled out or “most probably” ruled out. That has not happened, if I remember correctly. Some serious interviewing should be taking place, especially about missing video footage, before we entertain a “missing shoes story” at all. Frankly would go ahead and interview every single kid in that school before I would rule out “more likely explanation” in favor of the shoe retrieval story.

    • Except Kendrick shared the Adidas shoes with another kid who confirmed the story. He said they stashed the shoes in the mats and retrieved them when they wanted to wear them.

      Other students knew that as well and it would have been easy to ambush him when he was retrieving the shoes.

      • I prefer simple explanations over complicated conspiracies with lots of moving parts.

        Occam’s Razor.

        • Aunt Bea says:


          After all you and your bride have experienced, witnessed, felt and still feel the sting of?

          Shaking my head, for sure.

          • Don’t be so hard on me, Aunt Bea. Nothing I said rules out a cover-up with a conveniently out-of-focus camera and the missing film, which could be the result of persuasion by an influential parent.

            I’m focusing on how the crime may have happened rather than working backwards from a cover-up.

      • kllypyn says:

        No one will try to climb into a rolled up mat.they will knock it over unroll it and get the shoe or they would reach in to get the shoe. that story is bull crap. I know bull crap when i read it see it or hear it. I believe he was beaten up and stuffed into that mat in some way. I also believe more than one person was involved. I do not buy that ACCIDENTALLY SUFFOCATED THEORY.

        • You may be right. My theory is just a theory, but just so there’s no misunderstanding, I didn’t say or suggest it was an accident.

        • gblock says:

          I agree with Kelly. Most likely, when the shoes were tossed into the tube, they usually went in only a little ways and could be retrieved just by reaching in. I just don’t see someone choosing to get himself into the upside-down position with his legs sticking up, or even being able to.

          In addition to the issue of the shoe not having blood on it, as mentioned by others, there is the issue that the mat was not rolled up as tightly as the others when Kendrick was found. This suggests that the mat had been at least partially unrolled.

          • Three students told deputies that some classmates kept gym shoes stashed behind or beneath the gym mats, especially if they didn’t rent school lockers. One said he and Kendrick shared a pair of Adidas shoes and that after class the student always would “go to the mats, jump up and toss the shoes inside the middle of the hole.”

            Unless the kid was lying, sounds to me that it would not have been uncommon for the shoes to have fallen to the bottom of the hole and KJ had already retrieved one shoe.

            Seems like both boys had developed a way to retrieve the shoes that would have involved reaching down with one arm and placing the head in the tunnel in order to extend the arm a little further. The other arm would have been used to prevent slipping into the hole and to back out of it after grabbing the shoe. I imagine both boys were able to accomplish this easily and other students would have noticed.

            Unfortunately, they were vulnerable to an attack while reaching for shoes with their head in the hole and a malicious person looking for an opportunity to attack Kendrick would have noticed.

          • gblock says:

            Yes, this much of your theory makes a reasonable amount of sense. However, while reaching in this way, they would be bent over, with their legs still down, generally with one or both feet still touching the bleachers. I doubt that they could easily get into a completely-inverted position with their legs sticking up.

            If one or both shoes fell completely to the bottom or nearly to the bottom, they would reach it by moving the mat or leaning it to the side.

            When Kendrick’s body was discovered, wasn’t the gym shoe inside the mat, rather than all the way at the bottom?

          • I believe there were rolled-up mats stood on end surrounding the mat that KJ was in.

            He would not have been able to move it without moving other mats out of the way, which is what had to be done before his body could be retrieved.

            The Adidas shoe he was apparently trying to reach was photographed on the floor next to or partially covering a small pool of KJ’s blood. The shoe is on its side and does not appear to have any blood on it. Don’t know about the other side of the shoe.

            The position of the shoe in the photograph together with the absence of visible blood on it suggests that it was placed there after KJ’s body was discovered.

            We have to be careful interpreting the evidence, however, because we do not know if the shoe was in the same position before the mat was moved to recover KJ’s body.

            We also need to consider the volume of blood on the floor, the probable source and the rate of flow. I suspect it’s dripped blood, possibly from the mouth, that accumulated slowly.

            When a drop of blood falls as a result of gravity into a pool of blood, it creates a little splash. I would want to know if such a splash might have been expected to impact the shoe.

            A blood spatter expert should be consulted to interpret the evidence.

    • Aunt Bea says:

      This is it in a nutshell.

      DOJ is on it…..big whoop.
      Same song, same dance, bigger venue.

      No one would lead this investigation better than the parents.
      I would have to see, personally, every minute of every video in and around that school.

      I hope the parents have the gumption to look at each and every photo taken. Crime scene, autopsy (both of them)
      Get them lab reports.
      Read the statements. Ask the obvious questions.
      Nobody will care more about the truth than the parents, ever.

      I doubt they will ever get a defendant, though.
      It seems many things are gone forever…..

  10. Federal investigation time.

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