Police suppressed coroner’s report criticizing police investigation in Kendrick Johnson death

November 8, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Good afternoon:

Victor Blackwell of CNN reported late last night that the original Coroner’s report regarding Kendrick Johnson’s death was extremely critical of the police investigation. In his January 22nd report, Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson wrote:

“I was not notifedi n (sic) this death until 15:45 hours. The investigative climate was very poor to worse when I arrived on the scene. The body had been noticably (sic) moved. The scene had been compromised and there was no cooperation from law enforcement at the scene. Furthermore the integrity of the evidence bag was compromised on January 13, 2013 by opening the sealed bag and exhibiting the dead body to his father.”

“I do not approve of the manner this case was handled. Not only was the scene compromised, the body was moved. The integrrety (sic) was breached by opening a sealed body bag, information necessary for my lawful investigation was withheld.”

Blackwell received a copy of this report recently from the coroner’s office in response to a public records request.

In May he was provided with a different version of this report by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. The critical language in the original was omitted and the report was not signed or dated.

Neither the sheriff nor the coroner will answer questions about the two reports.

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Fred


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