The parents of Kendrick Johnson have continued to fight for answers in their son’s murder, and that fight is going to cost them $300,000 for the legal fees of the ones they accuse of killing their son and covering up his death.
On January 11, 2013, the body of Kendrick Johnson,17, was upside down when it was discovered inside a rolled up wrestling mat in the gymnasium of Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia, where he was a student. The medical examiner found that the cause of death was accidental and was due to “positional asphyxia.”
His parents, Kenneth and Jackie Johnson, were not satisfied with the answers they were receiving and pressed hard for justice. They had his body exhumed and examined by a hired forensic examiner and the discoveries were shocking, It was found that Kendrick Johnson suffered blunt force trauma to his body, reported Rolling Out.
The family issued statements saying evidence was found of blunt force trauma to the right side of Kendrick’s neck, near the jaw, and the manner of death was not an accident. Also hemorrhages were found to the jaw line area not detected during the GBI autopsy. Johnson’s internal organs were also missing and his body was stuffed with old newspapers.
“I feel outraged about them stuffing my son’s body with newspaper,” Jaquelyn Johnson said, according to CBS.
This crazy evidence gave the case national attention and a federal investigation started. Unfortunately for the justice seekers, one of the people implicated in the murder was the son of an FBI agent.
Implicated in Johnson’s death were Brian Bell and another unnamed person of interest, possibly his brother. The trial rocked the community of Valdosta and uncovered deep racial divides in the city. Because Bell’s father is a former FBI agent, many judges in that district recused themselves from hearing the case because of their friendship with the Bell family. More than 70 witnesses were called to testify about their knowledge of the case and the list included prominent and powerful residents. In June 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office found “insufficient evidence” to charge anyone with Johnson’s unusual death and the case was closed, reported Rolling out.
Even though the case was closed with no one being punished for murdering their son, the Johnson family pursued a $100M lawsuit against the GBI, county and school officials as well as Rick Bell and his sons Brian and Braden.
Now, for their efforts in seeking answers and justice for their son’s murder, a judge ordered the Johnsons to pay $300,000 in legal fees for those they accused of murdering their son.