Kendrick Johnson’s autopsy photographs posted by internet troll UPDATED

October 30, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Good morning:

Autopsy photographs of Kendrick Johnson were posted on a website named renewsit-dot-com, which is owned and operated by an internet troll named Vicki Pate. She is a malevolent right wing racist who believes the First Amendment gives her a license to lie, harass and stalk people.

Here is an example of how classy she is:

KJ’s mother, Jackie Johnson, who had already blocked her on twitter for harassment, told WCTV News,

“My sister was going online to look for the shoe; what KJ was alledgedly looking for, and she scrolled over and there was a picture of Kendrick’s autopsy on the page”, says Jackie Johnson, Kendrick’s Mother.

Johnson says she blocked the website’s host on Twitter after constant harassment, and doesn’t know why the webmaster is attacking her family. She adds, “It’s hurtful, because that’s still my child at the end of the day, and who that has a heart could do something like that?”

Pate and the person who gave her the photograph(s) could be in legal trouble because autopsy photographs are exempt from disclosure under Georgia’s open records act pursuant to Ga.Stat. 45-16-27(d) and she and the person who leaked them to her can be sued for the tort of Outrage or intentional infliction of emotional distress and potentially obtain up to $250,000 in punitive damages pursuant to Ga.Stat. 51-12-5.1(g).

I hope KJ’s family sues Pate because a substantial punitive damages award is probably the only way to silence her.

UPDATE

I updated this post at 12:51 pm on 10/30/2014 to add the two statutory references in the next to the last paragraph and deleted references to the state and federal investigations. These sentences appeared in the original draft:

However, the Georgia authorities seem about as interested in pursuing the matter as they were in investigating his death and God only knows what the FBI is doing. The US Attorney’s investigation appears to have stalled out, so I do not have much hope that they will interrupt their busy schedule trimming their nails and keeping us safe from terrorists.

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New development in Kendrick Johnson case EDITED BELOW

March 21, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Good afternoon:

Based on documents provided to CNN on Monday pursuant to a FOIA request, Victor Blackwell of CNN has discovered that state investigators in the Kendrick Johnson case received an email from an anonymous person “claiming an ex-schoolmate reportedly confessed to killing Kendrick Johnson.”

The anonymous person did not claim to have been present when the ex-schoolmate made the confession. Instead, the anonymous person claimed to have heard about the confession from someone else. The anonymous person identified four students in the email.

The email is dated January 27, 2013 which is 16 days after Kendrick Johnson’s body was discovered in the rolled-up gym mat.

Pursuant to the FOIA request, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office provided CNN with a copy of an incident report dated January 28th in which investigators contacted two of the four students and interviewed them. Both admitted knowing Kendrick but denied being involved in his death.

Apparently, the investigators did not contact the other two students.

A prosecutor also attempted to determine the identity of the anonymous person who sent the email by contacting Mediacom, the internet service provider the anonymous person used to contact the sheriff’s office. In the ordinary course of business, Mediacom would have insisted on receiving a subpoena before it would identify the anonymous person.

Blackwell states,

Chief Assistant District Attorney Bradfield Shealy issued the subpoena to Mediacom Communications Corporation on January 28. The New York-based cable, phone and Internet provider was ordered to provide the Lowndes County grand jury with subscriber information associated with the e-mail sent through the Lowndes County sheriff’s office’s website or submit the documents to the district attorney’s office or Lt. Jones before February 26.
According to a Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the subpoena was faxed to Mediacom on February 7. The company intends to comply with the order. However, a Mediacom employee told CNN by phone Wednesday that Mediacom has not received the subpoena.

In other words, someone dropped the ball. Either the ADA did not fax the subpoena to the correct number or the custodian of records at Mediacom forgot to obtain and send the requested information. This sort of thing happens occasionally. The ADA should have followed up on his request when he did not receive the information he requested. If he had, Mediacom probably would have sent the information.

If Mediacom had refused, the ADA could have applied to the court for an order compelling Mediacom to provide the requested information. That did not happen.

Therefore, we have yet another example of a failure to thoroughly investigate this case.

Apparently, a decision was made to close the investigation before investigators identified the anonymous source of the email and interviewed the other two students identified by the anonymous source.

This information provides additional evidence that the investigation by state authorities was incomplete.

EDIT: The anonymous email was sent January 27, 2014 (not 2013).


Witnesses are testifying today before grand jury in Kendrick Johnson case

March 13, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Good afternoon:

Victor Blackwell and Devon Sayers of CNN are reporting a new development in the Kendrick Johnson case.

Kendrick Johnson’s former schoolmates and their parents have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating the Georgia teen’s 2013 death, according to sources with knowledge of the subpoenas.

Among those seen entering the federal courthouse in Macon on Thursday were current students at Lowndes High School and current and former students at Valdosta High School, also located in Lowndes County.

/snip/

Outside the federal courthouse Thursday, U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said, “We’re working methodically, and sometimes we remember we’re running a marathon instead of a sprint. So, we’re working on it. It’s better to get it right than to get it fast. I’m satisfied that the FBI is moving forward at the appropriate speed, and they’re doing a fine job.”

This is an encouraging development.


Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office did a lousy job of investigating Kendrick Johnson’s death

January 11, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Good morning:

Kendrick Johnson’s body was discovered in a rolled-up mat in the Old Gym at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia one year ago today. The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office concluded that he died accidentally in an upside down position stuck inside a rolled-up gym mat while attempting to retrieve an athletic shoe. I do not agree with their conclusion.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office failed to conduct a competent professional investigation. They should have identified, contacted and separately interviewed all potential witnesses within 24 hours after Kendrick’s body was discovered. This is a basic requirement that every homicide investigator knows because witnesses absolutely must be interviewed while their memories are fresh before they become polluted by information obtained from the media or conversations with others.

There are no exceptions to this rule unless a witness cannot be located.

The first responders and the paramedic who noticed bruising on Kendrick’s jaw and considered the gym to be a crime scene should have been interviewed as soon as possible, but they were not interviewed until April 17 and 18, more than 3 months after Kendrick’s body was discovered. The janitors who cleaned the gym after the police finished their investigation at the scene were not contacted and interviewed until April 26th.

Victor Blackwell of CNN reports,

CNN examined the 522-page police file and found that investigators spoke to 111 people. Eighteen of those interviews occurred the day Johnson’s body was found, and another 15 people were interviewed later that month. Investigators then spoke to five more people in February and March before conducting interviews with 72 people in April, about the time media coverage of Johnson’s death gained momentum. One person was interviewed in May, according to the investigative file.

I can only imagine how frustrated and disgusted the FBI must be right now with the way the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. They certainly should have known better and their failure to carry out their responsibilities in a competent and professional manner suggests at best incompetence and at worst participation in a conspiracy to cover-up a homicide.

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This is our 847th post in 26 months.

We received one donation yesterday for $25 for which we are very grateful, but we had 807 visitors to the site and 1,459 page views. This sort of response to requests for donations is extremely frustrating and depressing. I realize it’s easy to assume others will step in and contribute, but that type of thinking doesn’t work when everyone does it. We’re not trying to get rich here, but this just isn’t working out for us.

Fred


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

January 8, 2014

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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Critically important video in Kendrick Johnson case is coincidentally missing

December 20, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Good Morning:

CNN reported yesterday that Michael Moore, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, issued a grand jury subpoena to seize the original hard drives of the video surveillance system at the Lowndes County High School.

Victor Blackwell of CNN demonstrates on Anderson 360 why they are important during this interview of Grant Fredericks, a forensic video analyst hired by CNN “to analyze more than 290 hours of material from all 35 cameras inside and outside of the gym. Fredericks is a U.S. Justice Department consultant and contract instructor for the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.”

VB: CNN has hired Grant Fredericks and his team at Forensic Video Solutions to analyze the hundreds of hours of surveillance from Lowndes High School, Although he does not believe the jumpy video is the result of editing, he says there are some other major problems.

GF: Those files are not original files. They’re not something that an investigator should rely on for the truth of the video. They’ve been altered in a number of ways, primarily in image quality and likely in dropped information, information lost. They’re also a number of files that have been corrupted because they have not been processed correctly and they’re not playable. I can’t say why they were done that way but they were not done correctly and they were not done thoroughly. So, we’re missing information.

VB: Fredericks says that’s probably due to how a investigators acquired the surveillance video.

GF: Right now, what they’ve done is they have left it up to the school district to define what it is they want to provide to the police, and I think that probably is a mistake.

VB: According to Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office incident reports, a detective watched a portion of the surveillance video the day Kendrick Johnson was found. Then he asked the school board’s information technology worker for a copy of the surveillance video for the entire wing of the school with the old gym for the last 48 hours. Five days later, that IT worker provided a hard drive and, according to the incident report, the detective said it contained the requested surveillance video.

GH: The investigator’s responsibility is to acquire the entire digital video recording system and then have their staff define what they want to obtain. You don’t want somebody who might be a party to the responsibility to make a decision regarding what they will provide to the police.

VB: And after hours of analysis, Fredericks questions whether Lowndes County Schools provided all of the surveillance video from the old gym to investigators.

GF: There is a hole of time where none of the cameras provide any of the record that I’ve been provided.

VB: Fredericks has all of the cameras and all of the angles and all of the video released by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

GF: There are 4 cameras in the gym that record motion from the time lights turn on in the morning until when the lights are turned off at night, except for the area of interest.

VB: The moment before Kendrick Johnson enters the gym. Look at what happens to the recordings from these four cameras in the gym. The time is recorded with the video.

The first camera captures images from the start of the day until 12:04 pm, then, nothing. It picks up again at 1:09 pm.

There’s consistent surveillance from the second camera until 11:05 am. Then it stops and picks up more than two hours later at 1:15 pm.

The third camera also drops at 11:05 am. It picks up again at 1:16 pm.

And from the final camera, there’s surveillance until 12:04 pm. No recording for more than an hour. Then it picks up again at 1:09 pm.

GF: I would absolutely expect there would be some record of that activity and we don’t have any here.

VB: Here’s why Frederick would have expected the motion activated system to record during that time. During that hour and five minutes, several students can be seen walking into and out of the old gym from the surveillance camera just outside the gym door.

We count seven male students and three of them walk into the gym within three minutes prior to Kendrick walking into the gym.

GF: I can’t tell you whether there was no information recorded in the video system or whether somebody made an error or whether someone made an error and didn’t capture it or whether somebody just didn’t provide it.

VB: When surveillance in the gym resumes at 1:09 pm, we can see just these few frames of Kendrick Johnson running in the gym.

Here’s that moment from all of the cameras in the gym, although there’s a record from only two, and the camera just outside the door. Notice the hall camera time stamp appears to be 10 minutes behind and there’s no confirmation that either camera matches the exact time of day. It is the last time his image is captured on video. For the next hour, there are multiple gaps in the video surveillance for the gym.

And that is crucial, It’s a really important time.

GF: Well, it really is the only option to answer the question of what really happened.

VB: And there’s no video showing the initial discovery of a body in the gym. The next time we see Kendrick Johnson is the following day when he’s being wheeled out of they gym in a body bag.

Do you believe that it’s a coincidence that that time period in the gym is missing?

GF: Oh, boy. Investigators are always suspicious, and should be suspicious it’s suspicious that that time period is not there, so yes, I would be suspicious and until I have the digital video system in my hands and I can say or an investigator can say everything is intact, this was what was recorded, I would still be highly suspicious of this.

VB: So after fighting for months on a city street corner and in the county courthouse to get the surveillance video, Kendrick Johnson’s parents still do not know who was in the gym before Kendrick ran in, nor who, if anyone, was there or what happened in those moments afterward.

We also know from previous reports that video recorded from the only camera aimed at the area where Kendrick Johnson’s body was discovered is blurry.

The probability that all of the missing and blurry video is coincidental must be vanishingly small.

There appears to be something rotten in Lowndes County, Georgia and the corruption runs deep and sloppy.

In this case, I can confidently conclude that absence of evidence is not proof of absence.

Let’ts hope the missing evidence has not been destroyed and can be retrieved from the original hard drives.


Benjamin Crump and Kenneth Johnson speeches at Wednesday rally for Kendrick Johnson

December 13, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Good morning:

FYI: While surfing the internet for new information on the cases that we have been following, I found this local CBS site in Atlanta that has links to speeches by Benjamin Crump and Kenneth Johnson at the Kendrick Johnson rally on the steps at the Georgia Capitol building on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, with a botched crime-scene investigation and so much evidence missing (i.e., KJ’s fingernails, trachea and vital internal organs including his brain), it’s going to be difficult to identify and convict the perpetrator(s) unless people who know what happened step forward and tell the truth.

Even then it may be difficult to convict someone without a voluntary confession.

The loss of his fingernails is a terrible shame because any foreign DNA present (not KJ’s), as one might expect to find if he were attacked and fought with his attacker, could have been amplified and typed.

I don’t believe the accidental death theory.

I do know that kids are not very good at keeping secrets, so let’s hope for a break in the case.

Let’s also hope for some honest, diligent and experienced FBI agents working the case.

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This is our 796th post in two years. Think about how much time and effort that involves.

Writing articles and maintaining this site requires many hours of work every day and we rarely miss a day, including weekends. Sometimes we publish several articles per day. Yesterday, we published four articles.

And that is not all that we do. For example, we get about 1,000 comments per day of spam. I have to review each comment before deleting it because occasionally legitimate comments from our readers are mistakenly diverted into the spam folder. You would not believe some of the filth I have to wade through. One person actually expressed regret that Crane and I were not killed by a tornado that barely missed us. Many are celebrating our financial situation.

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Rally to honor Kendrick Johnson on Wednesday

December 8, 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Good morning:

CBS News in Atlanta is reporting that members of Kendrick Johnson’s family are special guests of the Ebeneezer Baptist Church this morning.

The family, along with attorneys Benjamin Crump, Chevene B. King and Ebenezer Baptist Church senior pastor Dr. Raphael Warnock, are expected to address the media after services Sunday morning.

CBS Atlanta will provide video later Sunday.

A rally in Kendrick’s honor is scheduled for Wednesday from 11 am to 2 pm at the Georgia Capitol building. The Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Martin Luther King III and radio personality Rickey Smiley will be speaking at the rally.

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Kendrick Johnson and the importance of collecting and preserving evidence

November 23, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Good afternoon:

The disagreements about the videotape evidence in the Kendrick Johnson case demonstrate the importance of establishing and following procedures regarding the acquisition and preservation of evidence by law enforcement personnel.

Acquisition of Evidence

Evidence can consist of real (land) and personal (things) property. Personal property includes statements, documents and photographs as well as audio and video recordings and the hard drives of computers and cell phones.

Personal property can be acquired from a person, business or organization by abandonment, consent, plain view seizure, Terry patdown, plain feel seizure, search incident to arrest, search authorized by warrant, inventory search, subpoena duces tecum.

Abandoned property is free for the taking. Anyone can seize it without the former owner’s permission.

Property may be seized from a person, business or organization by obtaining consent freely and voluntarily given by the person or authorized representative of a business or organization.

Police may seize any property they immediately recognize as evidence of a crime without consent or a search warrant, if it is in plain view and they have a right to be where they are doing what they are doing.

Pursuant to Terry v. Ohio, police may stop and temporarily detain a person whom they reasonably suspect has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime in order to identify the person and briefly investigate the suspicion. To protect themselves, they may also pat down the suspect’s outer clothing and seize anything that feels like a weapon or controlled substance.

Police may arrest and search a person, if they have probable cause to believe that he or she has committed a felony. This is a search incident to arrest.

Upon a showing of probable cause to believe that certain property such as a vehicle, airplane, boat, residence or business, contains evidence of a particular crime, police may obtain a search warrant from a neutral and detached magistrate or judge authorizing them to search the property and seize that evidence. The Affidavit for Search Warrant in Philip Chism’s case, which was unsealed yesterday after a grand jury indicted him, is an example of an application for a search warrant and it reveals some, but probably not all, of the information obtained by police at that point in the investigation. Affidavits for search warrants are excellent sources for discovery material and, with the exception of a client’s statements, they are the only discovery a criminal-defense lawyer gets before trial in a federal case.

A search-warrant return is an itemized list of all of the property seized during the search authorized by a search warrant. Such a search is called executing the search warrant.

Inventory searches are routine searches of property seized by police, such as a vehicle or a wallet or purse, to itemize the contents. These types of searches occasionally result in a discovery of incriminating evidence. They do not require probable cause, so long as the police lawfully acquired the property being searched and inventoried.

A subpoena duces tecum is a subpoena (i.e., order to appear and testify at a hearing or deposition) to bring specified documents or property to the hearing or deposition.

Preservation of Evidence

With the exception of wet clothing or other wet evidence, every item seized must be maintained in the condition it was in when seized. Wet items must be dried to prevent contamination and possible destruction by fungus or bacteria. Each item must be separately packaged in sealed plastic or paper bags. Clothing and bedding should always be stored in sealed paper bags. Controlled substances must be described, weighed and packaged in sealed plastic bags. All evidence seized must be assigned a number, inventoried and stored in a secure area within the police department that is conducting the investigation.

Each evidence unit must maintain a log or record listing from whom and when evidence was received or to whom it was released and for what purpose.

Chain of Custody

Every item of evidence has a history beginning with who, when and where they seized it, who packaged it, who delivered it to the evidence unit and who logged and stored it away. Every time that item was examined, who examined it and for what reason must be documented in the log. If sent out for analysis and returned, the net weight of the item after testing must equal the difference between its original weight minus the weight of the amount removed for testing.

The chain of custody is the documentation of every human contact with a particular item in evidence. Police are required to document every contact so that defendants, lawyers, judges and juries can know that a particular item in evidence is in the same condition that it was when seized with any differences documented and explained.

A material break in the chain of custody should result in the exclusion of that item of evidence at trial.

The videotapes in KJ’s case

At this point, substantial questions exist regarding the videotapes, including whether they are complete and/or have been subjected to tampering.

I am especially troubled by the remarkable “coincidence” that the only camera focused on the area where the mats are stored and Kendrick’s body was found recorded an out-of-focus or blurry video.

Coupled with other evidence we have reviewed and the failure of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s deputies to immediately seize and preserve all of the videotape evidence, I believe I have a legitimate concern that evidence of a murder may have been destroyed or subjected to tampering in order to protect the person or persons responsible for KJ’s death.

Conclusion

Something is rotten in Denmark and the FBI has a duty to KJ’s family, we the people and to itself (since two sons of a special agent are potential suspects) to figure it out.


CNN reports that important video may be missing in Kendrick Johnson case

November 22, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Good evening:

Food for thought.

Here’s a late report from yesterday evening about the school video in the Kendrick Johnson case.

Victor Blackwell of CNN reports that CNN,

hired forensic video analyst Grant Fredericks to analyze more than 290 hours of material from all 35 cameras inside and outside of the gym. Fredericks is a U.S. Justice Department consultant and contract instructor for the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

CNN also provided Fredericks and his company, the Spokane, Washington-based Forensic Video Solutions, with hundreds more hours of video from 31 cameras in other parts of Lowndes County High School.

/snip/

What Fredericks wasn’t able to find was video showing whether there was anyone in the gym when Johnson was there — images that could prove vital in determining how the teen died.

“(The surveillance video has) been altered in a number of ways, primarily in image quality and likely in dropped information, information loss,” he said. “There are also a number of files that are corrupted because they’ve not been processed correctly and they’re not playable. I can’t say why they were done that way, but they were not done correctly, and they were not done thoroughly. So we’re missing information.”

/snip/

Fredericks told CNN he found it “highly suspicious” that an hour of video could be missing, especially considering how the material was acquired by police.

“The investigator’s responsibility is to acquire the entire digital video recording system and have their staff define what they want to obtain,” he said.


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