CNN Covers The Latest Evidence On Kendrick Johnson

| October 9, 2013

Yesterday, October 8th, CNN aired a report regarding the death of LHS student, Kendrick Johnson.  Their report focuses on a newly released video and pictures taken on location at the Lowndes High School gymnasium on the day that Johnson’s body was discovered.

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26 Comments on "CNN Covers The Latest Evidence On Kendrick Johnson"

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  1. Valdostan says:

    OMG! So sad for this family! I am almost embarrassed to live in Valdosta. Truly makes the sheriff and investigators look like a bunch of idiots!

  2. michelle baker says:

    If this was my child I would stop at nothing to find the answers to what happened to him . This is not a white black thing people this is parents that lost a child to murder that is being covered up for some reason I would like to know why !!! I have children and grandchildren someone needs to be held accountable for ending this boys life .

    • rayray says:

      when it is clearly a white or black thing do you still say it’s not? are you man or woman enough to call it what it is and deal with it from that perspective? do you believe we live in a color blind society. we are now dealing with the children of their fathers Jack, john, and Jim bob Crow. Rayray out of Miami.

  3. Cara Jo O'Brien, PhD says:

    Born and raised in Valdosta, I left at 17 to go to university, and never returned to live in the south. Small town Southern politics did not sit easily on my shoulders even as a child, and as I grew up, I made my plan to travel . This morning, i watched both CNN and HSN show the clip of the very fine southern Lowndes County sherriff, who typified every non-southerner’s steroetype of the fat, lazy, white, racist southern sherriff.
    I believe this child was the victim of a hate crime and was bullied to death. i further believe that a murder is being covered up by authorities. I pray for the family and say this to them: Your son was a beautiful child; anyone can see that. i am praying for justice for you and your son. i will watch this case closely, hoping for the truth to be told……

  4. Lowndes Viking Parent says:

    Its a terrible accident that happened to Kendrick and his family but that’s all it is. Its terrible for any parent to have to go thru but they need to listen to the authorities and quit wasting taxpayers dollars by buying false doctored testimonies from paid experts. Maybe if his parents had paid ten dollars for a school locker their child would be alive today instead of making him hide his shoes in the gym.

    • Cara Jo O'Brien, PhD says:

      That’s a very cold suggestion……………..

    • Concerned MichiganderDetroit says:

      Lowndes Viking Parent – my goodness!! You’re a parent? I’ve been watching this from the north and i’m completely shocked. Which authorities should the parents listen to? The Sheriff who didn’t bother to call the coroner the way you’re supposed to you find a body? The authorities who wouldn’t even allow the parents to identify their son’s body until 2 days had passed? You might think $10 dollars can prevent tragedy from befalling your family but should you find out that this is not necessarily the case – I hope you find more compassion in your community than you have shown with your hurtful comment.

      And stuffing bodies with newspapers? Is that really what yall are doing down there? God help us!!!!!!!

    • To all who have questions about the death of Kendrick Johnson here in South Georgia just google the “Week of Terror in Brooks-Lowndes County Georgia in May 1918.” We all may learn what some human beings are willing to do in order to maintain their self level of pride as they understand it should be maintained.

      Moreover, Google the Mary Turner Lynching; Quitman police Officer Earl Evans; Ed Denson; the Wooten; Juan Edggerton and many other Blacks that were killed and murdered without any outcry from even the Governor of the State of Georgia after a list of murderes were given to him or them.

      In the Black American Community and White Right communities here in South Georgia we maintain a historic record of what took place in the past. Yet, our parents (Blacks)and grandparents told us about other deaths and murders that only the Black Community maintains in their archival records within the brain. This includes their White sisters and brothers living here in Valdosta-Lowndes County Georgia of mixed blood that lives among the Black Race (speaking of family values).

      Therefore, we must not focus on what we hear others speak of out of their hears; minds and soul that our forebears faced and endured without hating others.

      In conclusion, within our communities across the board both people were informed about Saint John 8:32; Luke 4:18 and Galatians 6:7., and forgive give me if this does not make sense to anyone where in South Georgia. However, I can only speak what is within me as a human being. God Bless us all in times like these!

      Another death; killing or murder? (Please check it out and in)

      • LHS MOM says:

        Mr. Rhynes, you are as eloquent as ever. You speak the truth about South GA. And for those of us that did not grow up here. It’s difficult for us to wrap our minds around what STILL goes on in the South. It’s truly no wonder there is such sterotyping.

    • Andrea VSU STUDENTS says:

      Did you really just say that a “LOCKER” if anything that should of been free but that still doesn’t amount to him being killed! !!

  5. Randy Hudgins says:

    my daughter came home and said that all the kids at school says that sheriff prines granddaughter was seeing Kendrick Johnson, and it was or is a race issue, so the truth will come out when someone gets mad at PRINE, we will see justice then im sure !

    • Peaceful paticipant says:

      I don’t think that Chris Prine has a grandaughter that old yet. I used to live down the street from his daughter and son-in-law and they only had a infant baby boy. I’ve heard that it was Wes Taylor’s daughter (Who was the best principle and superintendent that the school was had in my opinion). There are so many rumors going on about this case that it could take months or years just to sort everything out.

    • FACTS says:

      You should check your facts! Prine has 2 grandaughters, both of whom are in ELEMENTARY school!!!!!

  6. Leigh Touchton says:

    The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department closed this case and released the case file once the GBI medical examiner diagnosed Kendrick Johnson’s death as accident due to positional asphyxia. Sheriff Prine and his family have been vilified on social media, they’ve been the objects of slander and libel. Numerous people associated with the Johnson family claimed on the RIP Kendrick Johnson facebook page that the sheriff’s son/grandson/nephew killed Kendrick Johnson (he does not have a son or grandson and his nephew practices law in another city). I don’t blame Sheriff Prine for not talking to the CNN reporter. No one in law enforcement is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, Sheriff Prine admitted to me and many others who investigated this case that he made a mistake in not calling the coroner right away and he took responsibility for that mistake and said it would never happen again. I blame the coroner for making a series of extremely volatile public statements which were not totally accurate and which caused the public to mistrust the Sheriff’s department. Let me be clear, the coroner does not collect forensic evidence and has no training in such beyond the short course for Georgia coroners. Coroners are not medical examiners, and our coroner is not a medical expert in any field.

    Regardless of the coroner’s ill-advised statements, the sheer enormity of evidence collection and witness testimony is indicative of due diligence. If you get the case file (it’s about 400 pages and will cost you $35, it was released to the public when the case was closed) you can see directly the attempts that were made to gather witness testimony, the hard drives that were pulled from video surveillance and entered into evidence, the blood on the wall in the CNN report was swabbed and run through CODUS and they did not get a DNA match. They did not do DNA testing on 3,000 students at Lowndes High. The logistics of such were untenable, in my opinion, because the body did not show any obvious signs of trauma, a fact borne out in both the GBI autopsy and the William Anderson autopsy. Nor was Kendrick’s blood found anywhere except in the pool underneath his body, therefore it did not appear that he was attacked anywhere in the gym, immediately outside the gym, in a store room, or bathroom. The video surveillance, I am told, shows this, and this video has been available to the family attorney for 9 months!

    The case file records steps taken to put the video hard drives into evidence. The reason this video has not been made public is because it shows students’ faces, and therefore it is protected under a federal law called FERPA. The video in the CNN piece was shot the day his body was found, since it doesn’t show students’ faces, the family has had access to that this whole time and I am at a loss for why CNN thinks it’s “new” videotape evidence.

    Depending on the death scene, it may or may not be appropriate for all the investigators to wear booties. Immediately prior to the discovery of Kendrick’s body, there was a phys ed class in the gym, and students climbing on top of the mats, and in the 24 hours that he was evidently in the mat, dead, students were all over the gym, there was even night practice for the winter color guard. It would be impossible for that very trafficked area to have been kept pristine in regards to collection of DNA, please imagine 3,000 students in a school system and the numbers of kids using the gym in a 24 hour period prior to the discovery of his body. Investigators shooting video and not wearing booties is minor given the traffic that came in and out of the gym when Kendrick went missing.

    When his body was found,the 2 school resource officers (who work for the LCSD) rushed to the gym and they kept other people from entering. The scene was processed with what appears to be due diligence, don’t take my word for it, go get the case file and read it yourself. Did I mention it is over 400 pages?

    Sheriff Prine attempted to assist the Johnson family on the day of the discovery of Kendrick’s body as well as in the days following, and has only been attacked for it. He went to Mrs. Johnson and Kendrick’s sister after the death scene had been processed by his investigators and the 6 GBI agents, he tried to explain to them that it did not appear that Kendrick had been beaten. School officials heard this conversation, and their take on it was that he sounded like a compassionate father trying to render comfort to a grieving mother by saying it did not appear that the child was beaten or traumatized. Somehow the family turned this moment into: “The Sheriff ruled it wasn’t foul play before the investigation was even complete!” THEN the family asked if they could view the body at the crime lab, something that is typically not done when a child’s body is badly disfigured/decomposed. Sheriff Prine made an executive decision to allow the father to view his son’s body, again, something we as compassionate and caring human beings would do for a grieving father who was begging to be allowed to see his son’s body. As a result, the family NOW claims that this viewing corrupted the evidence collection and they blame the Sheriff for allowing it. It appears to me that Sheriff Prine has tried to do right by the family and has been attacked for it at every opportunity. If I were in his position, I would absolutely not speak to any reporters, as everything he has said has been twisted and used against him.

    The GBI medical examiner, Dr. Maryanne Gaffney-Kraft, concluded the GBI autopsy as accident due to positional asphyxia. Dr. Gaffney-Kraft is no stranger to controversy, she also rendered the autopsy of the young black woman who was found dead in a Valdosta State University dorm. The VSU police said the death was due to natural causes but Dr. Gaffney-Kraft said it was murder due to strangulation. The young woman’s boyfriend was arrested and charged.

    For 14 years I’ve been a civil rights activist here in Valdosta, I started as a civil rights activist when a black man named Willie James Williams died while in custody of the Lowndes County jail (under former Sheriff Paulk’s administration). The same GBI that said Kendrick Johnson’s death was an accident also said that Willie James Williams’ death was a homicide. I reject the idea that there is a vast murder cover up conspiracy with Sheriff Prine at the lead to allegedly cover up the murder of a child. Such a conspiracy involves dozens of men and women, black and white, who are incredulously all saying the exact same thing. I have never been willing to lie for white people and have always been public about civil rights issues regarding law enforcement. Likewise, I am not willing to keep silent when I think someone who happens to be white is getting falsely accused of covering up a murder. Such accusations are quite simply ridiculous.

    • Mekennah Redding says:

      Thank you. All I can say is thank you. For making statements that are informed, thought out and not based on racism. I don’t know all the facts of the case except all the rumors that are floating around and as such, I’m not going to form an opinion based on that. The fact that you went out of your way to purchase a case file and review it diligently just makes my faith in humanity a little stronger, that someone will fight to have an informed opinion and not fall under peer gossip. Thank you.

      • Concerned MichiganderDetroit says:

        Just to clarify, are you saying the video footage in the old gym has been available to the attorney for 9 months? The footage from one of the cameras that shows Kendrick entering the gym?

        Also, did Sheriff Prine say why he failed to call the Coroner the way he usually does?

        And are you saying that you think it’s possible that the person who performed the 2nd autopsy DID NOT see a bruising consistent with blunt force trauma on the side of Kendrick’s neck?

        And, I have to ask – does the report say what they did with his organs? Or why they didn’t keep his body in the proper temperature?

    • LHS MOM says:

      While I appreciate your well thought out statement. There are still things that do not add up in regards to this case. My child was there, in the class that found him. If there were mistakes that were made during this investigation then admit them. We are all human. However, I distinctly remember that day reading the headlines that Sheriff Prine said “no foul play”. You can’t issue that type of statement without a full investigation, which in your words, took 4 mos. I will reserve my, for lack of a better word, views. Until the DOJ reviews this case.

    • FACTS says:

      God bless you for doing your research and not relying on rumors or hearsay. The accident was tragic, but what has happened since is just as tragic. The Sheriff’s Office and GBI provide facts. The family and others can only provide rumors and inuendo (sp?). The only ulterior motives I can find in this whole terrible case is from those “supporting” the family for there own personal gain.

    • Cara Jo O'Brien, PhD says:

      As long as your statement is, it is short on facts and full of heresay. Regardless of your insistence that all is above board, i think not. There are facts you don’t know, or are disregarding. Now that Valdosta is in the national news, we may finally get some truthful answers from science. Science doesn’t lie and is not racist.

      • Leigh Touchton says:

        I have the 400+ page case file and it’s full of facts. Eyewitness testimony is not hearsay, I spoke directly to numerous people directly involved, and I’m reporting what I uncovered. Scientific tests like blood analysis and DNA analysis are very straightforward (DNA analysis does not occur at the Valdosta Crime Lab, although they are seeking that area of accreditation. Right now all DNA analysis is conducted by the GBI). The blood sample on the wall was too old to be part of the Kendrick Johnson case, investigators can determine this through forensic blood tests, blood tests are actually very easy and straightforward due to advances in forensic technology. The blood on the wall was determined not to be Kendrick’s blood, then it was run through CODIS and they did not get a hit. The red substance on the shoe in the CNN video was determined NOT to be blood (investigators think it’s paint). A person who looks at a red substance on a shoe that has been PROVEN not to be blood and says on national television “this shoe proves murder cover up!” is quite simply being irrational and in my opinion, is inflaming public opinion with untruthful sensationalism. I am the Lead Investigator for Valdosta SCLC, we meet every Sunday night at Academy of Excellence, I’d be glad to share my findings with anyone who is interested. I think I am probably the one civilian in Valdosta who has spent the most hours actually investigating the facts of this case. One thing that has really impressed me about our local law enforcement is that these men and women are driven to catch murderers, they absolutely have a passion for it and they pursue careers in law enforcement to lock up criminals so they can’t harm anyone else. There is simply no way that any rational person would believe that dozens of our local law enforcement (men and women, black and white) are involved in a murder cover up. Nonetheless, the preponderance of the evidence supports the GBI conclusion of accident, death due to positional asphyxia. Prior to working for the Valdosta SCLC, I was the president of Valdosta NAACP, elected to that position 4 times. So I am not sure what you meant by “science is not racist”. Insofar as civil rights, the DOJ has decided that it will not open a civil rights investigation into the Kendrick Johnson death. As I said publicly in mid-April as a spokesperson for the Valdosta NAACP, I hope the DOJ will come in and set the record straight, as their investigation will protect both the community and local law enforcement. If they find that there was a murder, then we can all band together to find the criminal. If they conclude that the investigation was conducted properly and that the preponderance of the evidence supports the GBI medical examiner’s autopsy, then our community can get closure.

        • Kagemni says:

          You are sympathizing mole who should have never been allowed in the NAACP. I could care less about your credentials. What does that have to do with the inconsistencies in the case? You used your position to undermine the NAACP, and you probably sent local African Americans on a reverse racism guilt trip to get the position. You do not have the best interest of our community in mind, and undermining those interest was your prescribed role as an infiltrator. Thanks for laying that bear for the African American community to see. You are a wolf in sheep’s clothing who cannot be trusted to do anything but serve the interests of those who look like you. Your passionate defense of incompetent Caucasian law enforcement proves where your allegiance lies. Your role as an infiltrator is to pacify the African American community when lynchings such as this happen.

          • Kagemni says:

            Also in reference to the blood being old. This is just tripe that you are using your “credentials” to help sell. Why would a school let fresh blood get old without cleaning and disinfecting the area? AIDS, and several other infections are bloodborne pathogens. That would be pure negligence from the principal down to the janitor. These are the same glorious officials who care about the students interests and privacy so much that they will not allow the surveillance video to be released. There is a stench coming from this situation and you are adding to it.

  7. Leigh Touchton says:

    LHS Mom, no, Sheriff Prine did not say that. It was REPORTED that he said that. There is a difference. In fact, although the newspaper reported that he said that, the newspaper immediately also said “the investigation continues.” There is a big difference between “it appears there was no foul play based on our initial investigation” and “it was definitely not foul play.” The GBI medical examiner AND at least 2 other medical examiners that she reports to and works with (her work was peer reviewed, unlike the second pathologist, Dr. William Anderson, whose findings were not peer reviewed)…at least 3 GBI medical examiners signed off on the GBI autopsy. That is one of the reasons I believe the GBI and not Dr. William Anderson.

  8. LHS MOM says:

    It appears that while you may say you repect other’s opinions, you’re still trying to convince or sway people to think your way. Based on my experience with the locals, I’ll wait and hear from Mr. Moore. Because there seems to be sour apples in every orchard down here.