*My god. Position yourselves people, because it’s going to be hard to wrap your brain around this one. Do you recall the tragic 2013 story about a teenage boy’s body that was found rolled up in a gym mat at Lowndes High School in Valdosta? Well the case was just closed and they were no closer to what may have been the truth on how Kendrick Johnson ended up in that mat. But here’s the thing: after all was said and done, a judge has now ordered the dead teen’s parents to pay the legal fees of the two brothers they suspect murdered him!
Kenneth and Jackie Johnson pointed to Brian and Branden Bell, saying they killed their son, and filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the brothers, who had alibis and witnesses to back it up.
In March, the Johnson’s withdrew their lawsuit.
The feds got involved and Michael Moore, former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, brought on lawyers and investigators from the Justice Department, District of Columbia police officers, U.S. marshals and the FBI to investigate. All of this personnel claim that nearly 100 interviews were done and, according to a statement by the Justice Department, “tens of thousands” of emails and text messages were reviewed, along with surveillance videos from Lowndes High School, where Johnson’s body was discovered on Jan. 11, 2013.
Still, no evidence to substantiate the parents claims of coul play.
The Johnson’s accused everyone involved in the investigation of covering for the alleged murderers. A claim that didn’t seem so far off when it became known that the brother’s father is an FBI agent, and the alleged conspirators are the daughters of the school’s superintendent, Wes Taylor, who by the way discovered the body.
Seems tainted to me. But who am I?
Johnson’s body was discovered on Jan. 11, 2013, in the old gymnasium at Lowndes High School. The state medical examiner ruled the 17-year-old died of positional asphyxia after he got stuck in the mat, presumably reaching for a pair of sneakers.
There were so many moving parts to this case, which became so controversial and racially divided over its three year investigation that its mind-boggling. Now, at its close, investigators conclude:
“After extensive investigation into this tragic event, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone or some group of people willfully violated Kendrick Johnson’s civil rights or committed any other prosecutable federal crime,” a statement from the Justice Department said Monday.
But the Johnson’s are still not buying it.
“They couldn’t tell us what happened,” said Kendrick’s mother, Jackie Johnson. “They know something happened, but they couldn’t prove it.”
Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father, said prosecutors “confirmed our belief that something happened to Kendrick.”
The Bell family has no intention of moving forward and have now filed a countersuit against the Johnson’s.
“It is a tragedy that the federal government under this administration spent all this money and time and manpower on a hoax,” said Karen Bell, Brian and Branden’s mother. According to Bell, the family had spent more than $215,000 on attorney fees to defend themselves against civil lawsuits filed by the Johnsons and deal with the federal investigation.
The families are in court on Monday, where a hearing is set to determine exactly how much the Johnson’s will have to pay. The sum of $900,000 is floating around based on motions filed by the Bells, the Lowndes County sheriff, and school system.
Jackie Johnson commented via a post on Facebook saying Thursday’s ruling was just the latest attempt to “forever silence (Kendrick’s) parents.”
The Johnson’s are urging supporters, which they still have many, to “pack the courthouse” on Monday.