Touchton Says KJ Death ‘Accidental’

| October 21, 2013
Family Photo

Family Photo

VALDOSTA, GA — Leigh Touchton, the former president of the local chapter of the NAACP, said during an interview on The Morning Drive with Chris Beckham that she believes Lowndes student Kendrick Johnson’s death was an accident and that accusations of a cover-up of murder are not substantiated in fact.

 Touchton has reviewed the case file and done many interviews for the last several months and came forth with her findings and her frustration with many parts of the case.
Hear her interview in its entirety here:
Part one:
Part Two:
Source: WVGA
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125 Comments on "Touchton Says KJ Death ‘Accidental’"

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  1. Jusin Igger says:

    Well she looks at facts. It’s a shame that the community she tries to help is going to light their torches and come after her now.

    • Nicole Lee says:

      Would you feel that way if he was your son??

      • Elle says:

        If he were my son, I would feel better about it being an accident rather than a murder. It’s like they WANT it to be a murder. I don’t understand that…

    • Leigh Touchton says:

      Probably some people will, but when I was calling out white officials in Valdosta over the death of Willie James Williams, I had my house vandalized, received numerous hate letters full of threats, I lost my job at VSU, and certain influential white men made sure our family was denied important contracts. So yes, it is probable that some people in the black community may act just like some people in the white community.

      The best civil rights leaders and groups cooperate with everyone who wants to work for truth and justice. Truth and justice are not specific to any one race. I learned a long time ago that there are white supremacists and black supremacists and the only thing they have in common is hate. I work with people who don’t hate.

      • Mahdi Abdul says:

        Leigh, we know this child was murderd,we dont need you in our affairs,you are of your father a trouble maker , by the way you talk you were put here to clear things up for LCSD

        • Leigh Touchton says:

          I guess you have as much right to your opinion as I have to mine, the difference is I spent 10 months researching the facts.

          • DeLisa Smith says:

            @ Ms Touchton

            10 months of “investigative research” when the case is actually barely 9 months old???

            Date Kendrick Johnson’s body was found: January 11, 2013
            Georgia Bureau of Investigation releases Original Autopsy for Kendrick Johnson: May 02, 2013.

            I am certain that you were not privy(or at least you should not have been privy to ANY(as you put it)public documents regarding this case until AFTER the GBI had given their official Autopsy report(again 5/02/13)thus this case was not closed until after that date…therefore your erroneous/bogus claim of “10 months” of “Investigative Work” seems to be a sham.

            And I do have one particular question to a comment you made in one of your posts….

            you made this very telling comment:

            ” If you want to see a white child convicted of murder absent any proof except “I heard that so-and-so did it because….” then we shall forever be on opposite sides.”

            1. What relevance does the child’s guilt have to do with their race(i.e., would it be more credible had the guilty child in question been, say, black?)

            2. You are readily assuming there is “absence of any proof”…there is such a thing as circumstantial evidence…you also assume that what “so-and so” said or did” is in fact mere “heresay”….if there is an actual witness(s) to the event to give testimony of guilt, then what will you have to say

            Either way, I find it curious your level of certainty that there is “absence of proof”…it seems a bit premature…

            the Truth Is On the Horizon Ms Touchton….I eagerly await it as I am certain you do as well…

            one final thought….what I gave you above are actual facts regarding this case…what you have been spouting now, for what I’ve encountered anyways, is absolute conjecture…start stating facts(and not opinions on how you feel the family and the father lied to you)

          • Kiara says:

            Leigh research the missing evidence then. Missing clothing untested blood missing organs missing finger ect. Some coincidence. Explain how the laws of physics were broken when the shoe he was reaching for some how manage to dodge his blood. research why hours after the sheriff ruled it an accident

        • TOM ONEAL says:

          Mahdi Abdul says, “Leigh, we know this child was murderd,we dont need you in our affairs,you are of your father a trouble maker”.

          Now that certainly clears matters up. Kj was murdered. Every one knows you can prove what you say beyond doubt. So tell all. Tell all just how you know what you know. And I do not mean the Anderson Autopsy. Give us the real reason you know.

        • Noelle says:

          What an insult to our intelligence!

      • Real Investigation says:

        A real investigation is not just talking to the authorities and accepting what they say without question. Ms. Touchton boosts of the many times she talked to the same people within these authorities, yet just accepts their answers without any skepticism at all.

        She made one point about the GBI and the peer review. A true peer review is by peers outside of the GBI. The peer review she sights are all GBI personal. Contradicting VSU police is not really some big deal as Ms. Touchton seems to think and the comparison to VSU police and contradicting her own within the GBI is frankly silly.

        I do give Ms. Touchton credit for calling for a federal investigation. Sheriff Prine should be the leader in calling for this federal investigation also. Not only for the benefit of the community but for the sake of the good men and women of the Sheriff’s department. If there is nothing to hide, then why should he hesitate?

    • Barbara Stratton says:

      I applaud Leigh for her efforts to investigate and supply the facts as she sees them. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. I was most impressed with the information that KJ was found with one arm leading above his head and the other arm following beside his trunk. This would certainly alter the plane of the shoulders and decrease their width as well as be indicative of someone reaching forward to grasp something which has been identified as his gym shoes. Again we are left to assume this is fact. In light of the many lingering questions I believe the community would have been served from the beginning by a video of a taped re-enactment like the live demonstration Leigh says she was provided. After all the case was ruled closed immediately, so there was no worry about jury pool poisoning or change of venue necessities.

      Many rumors still prevail about student witnesses present when the body was discovered as well as students who entered with him. Review of the camera tapes would have quelled those also and there are legal ways for allowing review of those tapes. Ordinary buddy system protocol would warrant finding the last person(s) who knew of his actions in the gym.Legal liability for the privacy of minors should also be leveraged along side school liability for the safety of all students. Parents and other concerned citizens deserve every possible assurance that every student is safe within a school environment, not the lingering questions now present. I’m wondering exactly how much undisclosed camera footage can possibly be withheld for future occurrences making a school environment not as safe as we would like to believe.

      In the presentation of her truth Leigh discredited several persons including family members and the private autopsy contract person. Since that was considered professional disclosure I would like to submit my opinion of the Southern Poverty Law Center which she affirms to represent. The George Soros backed SPLC is a hard core progressive left institution. My sources advised me during the local sheriff race last fall a sizeable amount of progressive backed funds were funneled into the community to assure a Democrat Party win. Progressive ideology means the progressive advancement of Socialism/Communism which has been on going since Woodrow Wilson. That does not mean that any candidate or policy supported by progressives shares their ideology. But, it does mean that they seek to advance the environments that they feel will best foster their progressive goals and the Democratic Party is their party of choice for that intent. Having studied the SPLC modus operandi for years it would not surprise me to find their interest being served to protect their investment if they did indeed funnel monies into the local sheriff race. Again, I am not making any accusations, but I am allowing that special interest groups tend to protect their interests so as to not be totally objective. I have even found the SPLC willing to be at odds with the NAACP when Progressive interests are threatened. That being said I think we’re right back to a he said/ she said dilemma of uncertainty.

      I have no firm opinion about the issues other than my firm belief that law enforcement has the duty to insure the community where they serve is not asked to exist in a aura of doubt. Again, some of the facts presented by Leigh were eye opening and much appreciated. I still put my vote toward a judicial investigation with full disclosure and processing of any possibility of inculpatory knowledge that was never allowed to surface through judicial deposition proceedings.

      • Fact checker says:

        PLEASE: Southern Poverty Law Center is NOT engaged in this case. You thought you meant SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Council. PLEASE PEOPLE. Be sure you know who you are targeting with your supposed oaths of approval. You all have our deepest and sincerest best thoughts and wishes. May God bless you and your families’ today and forever….At least 100,000 area supporters of the Kendrick Johnson family.

      • Barbara Stratton says:

        My apologies – I hear bits & pieces of interviews between showering, walking the dog, & feeding my horse so I relied on someone else’s input that Leigh associated her investigation with the SPLC. The SCLC is not as far left as SPLC and I have much, much admiration for the King family. However, all organizations eventually become infiltrated and SCLC is moving farther left toward Progressive views as are other Christian churches and organizations. Daughter, Bernice, who is very conservative stepped down from her SCLC presidency because she felt the organization’s changing views did not align with the original goals of her father. My opinion, which is what I am stating, still maintains that any group may not be fully objective when presenting their conclusions. The many rumors and questions warrant the need for impartial,open, full disclosure under legal deposition procedures.

        Was it not the Lowndes SO who stepped in to demand inquiries when they questioned the handling of a previous VPD murder/suicide crime scene. Obviously that scenario was not dismissed under the assumption law enforcement doesn’t make mistakes.

        Part of the reason for state Sunshine Law is to move away from the current mindset that elected officials are above scrutiny and do not have to answer questions when doubt is present. In a representative Republic citizens have both a privilege and a responsibility to ask questions and pursue answers.

    • truthteller says:

      what do you mean by the community? what the Black community? Race is defiantly not the issue here. the fact is( and do your research)How many deaths has there been in the jail here alone, It’s always some type of cover up. And for Mrs, Touchton…..If you read the newspaper articles and all other stories put out since this happened not one of the stories been the same as the first. so yeah maybe if they all stick to the same story it’d be no questions asked. you got crime techs in street cloths n boots in the pics. SO UNPROFESSIONAL
      So a suitcase wash up to shore with a body inside do you say they obviously put themselves in there and rolled in the water and died from suffocation or do you treat if like a homicide until other wise?

  2. Viki says:

    Leigh first stated it was a accident but later in her interview, Part 1, she said it was murder… Which is it?

    • Chris Beckham says:

      Viki, she misspoke at the beginning of the interview when she said he was killed. That’s why I asked her to clarify that and she said she believed it was not a murder. It was just a mistake on her part and that’s what we wanted to make clear. Thanks.

      • Viki says:

        Thank you Chris. I’m going to listen to the interview again because I heard something different. I do appreciate Leigh speaking out but I think this brings up more questions on both sides on how this has been handled.

      • Leigh Touchton says:

        Thanks Chris. I was trying to say “when he was killed by being stuck in the mat” I didn’t convey what I was thinking, I mispoke. Later on when I said “murdered” I meant “the investigation into whether he was murdered”. Everyone makes mistakes and we all mispeak at times. Giving a radio interview is like getting in front of a television reporter, it’s difficult and the mistakes made when speaking cannot be re-typed as they can in this format.

        • DeLisa Smith says:

          Freudian Slip perhaps with regards to your comment Ms Touchton regarding KJ “being killed” vs your later clarified comment “when he was killed by being stuck in a mat” comment???

          At any rate, I am curious as to your true motivation regarding this case? If you are TRULY interested in “Truth and Justice” as you have so ardently claimed time and again, why not allow things to play out? Or are you acting on behalf of the Civil Liberties of the LCSD?

          Did LCSD allocate you as their spokes person regarding this case? Or is this a truly insensitively opportunistic play on your part to place your self in the lime light? I have thought over and over again as to why you feel so compelled to continue to comment over and over and over again on this case and to what avail?

          Ok, we all are aware….you have made it quite clear that you do NOT agree with the Johnsons take on this case.

          You’ve expressed your God given opinion on that many times and pretty clearly….so why are you still actively commenting on this case? When you break it down…folks who are continuing to advocate on behalf of this family….I understand their continued input on the case…

          But you, Madame….what is your goal….what are you trying to achieve?

          Several things you have yet to clarify…the additional blood splatter in the gym on the wall and the lack of gathered evidence, the rush to call the scene an accident when there were obviously questionable elements present at the scene? If there was actually a surveillance camera(actually four total)why was the footage not only utilized as part of the investigation but once it was obviously not utilized by the investigation team(if there was one)readily available to the family’s attorney? And yes, I am aware of the laws regarding privacy, however, if there was no other student present other than the deceased, where would the need for privacy from the parents arrive being that they were the parents of the student at question? That is, if in fact he was the only person present why keep the gym footage private from the parents.

          You cannot have all of these unanswered questions Ms Touchton and not expect there to be a desire for answers. If you can rationalize each of the questions posed to you with legitimate answers then perhaps there could be some level of credibility to your argument/claims that this was unquestionably a terrible accident.

  3. Viki says:

    So we’re does the blood on KJ face, sneakers, floor, wall and the mat come from?

  4. reggaeman says:

    Yea right, whatever.. Justin I done had enough of your comments.

  5. Reba Leigh says:

    So, If you know so much.Then why is the family still not understanding the reason why their son is dead? I dont think she knows anything.She is just trying to keep the Black people quite. Who knows the truth.

  6. Shanderlin Watkins says:

    I am wondering if the school attorney said he was not alone then where is she getting her information, after changing the sheriff change their statements on several occasions. Like she said earlier her family was denied contract for speaking out against foul play before whose to say that there holding that over her head to get the black community to back down. . I have sat and listen to the information. All i have to say is your the former president of the Naacp. So what does the president say. Secondly when the truth come completely out and your wrong. What will you say then. Aren’t you and Floyd Rose are friends. What is really her motive?

  7. TOM ONEAL says:

    Crime scenes aren’t as cut and dry as one might think. There are many variables and each one should be carefully identified, searched, documented, and processed correctly. The process doesn’t flow like the television shows or movies would like us to think.

    You don’t get a chance to scream, “Do over!” like we did in the playground when it comes to criminal investigation. You only get one chance at it, so you have to do it right. Sometimes, doing something right is about learning what not to do. Crime scenes are so fragile that just about anything you do can cause crime scene contamination. The moment that the first uniformed officer enters the scene, it is contaminated.

    Investigators must be ready for that question on the stand, “Was the crime scene contaminated before you arrived?” The answer to this question is always an unequivocal, “Yes, it was counselor, ” followed with an explanation if allowed. Crime scene contamination is unavoidable in law enforcement’s quest to render aid to the victim or obtain evidence.

    So, in Kendrick Johnson case not only was the crime scene contaminated it was destroyed by all the children and others long before Law Enforcement arrived.

    Many so called experts/new media have set on the side lines speculating. Yet, not a one of them can prove what happen. All they have are empty words and accusations. Could they do any better? The answer is no. As the crime scene was destroyed. Not Pristine!

  8. Unbiased Citizen says:

    @Reba Leigh…because you can sometimes explain things to people all day long and until you are blue in the face, but you simply cannot understand something for someone else. Also, sometimes money makes people do crazy things.

    @Leigh Touchton, I admire you as I know this will potentially gain you very negative things, and feel that you are trying to make the truth known to this community. I think it would benefit the general community if there were some kind of forum in which people can submit things that they have heard and then have someone to bunch them into categories and have rebuttals published with the public’s questions. I know that rumors have spread to the max and that hinders people from deciding for themselves which side to believe. However, you telling about what your investigation yielded has started to clear up many of these items floating around, but there are still more out there. With those cleared up, people can maybe put this behind them.

    For instance, there have been several rumors that some relation of Chris Prine was involved in hurting KJ (a nephew, cousin, friend’s child)and that’s why they think there was a cover up. But I have also heard that Chris Prine has no relation that goes to Lowndes High, i.e. has no nephew, etc.

    Basically maybe this would give an opportunity for someone with so much knowledge of the case to take things that have been taken out of context and give them context to help the community understand better.

    Like about the coroner not being called. If people understood more (even though you touched on this briefly) that he would not have gotten to go in any faster no matter what time he was called….

    I have also heard that KJ’s parents were upset that they could not go into the gym to see Kendrick. But on the flip side I have heard that they were not the legal guardians of KJ (that he lived with his grandparents and had little or nothing to do with his parents)and that is why they couldn’t go in to see/identify the body (side note: not saying that if this is the case that the parents are just nobodies, however law stipulates certain policies and procedures)And of course they would have had to wait for the scene to be cleared.

    There are many, many rumors and maybe someone with your knowledge (or a collaboration effort of multiple people’s knowledge)this mess can be sorted out, no matter what the end result….just a thought.

    • DeLisa Smith says:

      @Unbiased Citizen…I can attest to you unequivocally that Jackie Johnson raised her own children. This woman comes from a very strong matriarchal line of not only strong but God fearing women. Whom ever is spreading such ridiculous rumors should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. This woman was and continues to be a VERY active part in ALL of her children’s lives. Not that this is even something a Mother of a deceased child should even have to defend..and honestly, I am appalled that you would even repeat such a rumor with out doing some level of research prior to commenting on this very serious/very sensitive issue.

      It seems that in this case, your title “Unbiased Citizen” doesn’t exactly fit the character

      • Unbiased Citizen says:

        Unbiased simply means that I have no connection personally to the either side and so I have no preference one way or the other. And if I were his mother and this rumor was going around, I would defiantly would want to hear about it so I could clear it up for various reasons (one being that if it were true (that he was not under her legal guardianship) people may question her motives now) and if it’s not true they wouldn’t questions her motives. As a mother, that rumor would probably hurt hearing, however, I would want to hear it to clear it up more than not hear it ans let it be spread more and possible hurt progress in getting justice. This rumor was heard day one when his body was found, so this is a very rumor that if is untrue needs to be addressed (which you did). But at the same time, people hear all kinds of things, that need to probably be cleared up to help the progress, and how can they be cleared up if no one knows that they are circling around. Just because I heard something, doesn’t mean my character should be called into questioned…don’t shoot the messenger,just saying.

  9. Concerned white citizen says:

    Truth is…I don’t know what the truth is. But I don’t believe much of what Leah Touchton says because; she showed unprofessional and unethical behaviour in attacking the family. That’s just wrong. She’s accused person’s of lying yet does not say what they lied about. Also she sure does like to blow her own horn with her “accomplishments” while downplaying and even pretty much saying others just don’t have the qualifications for the jobs they do. This is so frustrating!!!!!

    One thing I do want to say though is I’m sick to death of both sides playing the race card. This is 2013 folks and yes racism is alive and well here in the South and I’m sick of it. This is a humanity issue!

    Did Leah Touchton sign the petition for the DOJ to come in and investigate? I seriously believe this case needs to be investigated because of all the inconsistencies. That would clear the authorities of any wrong doing if nothing else and maybe restore some calm to our city.

    I can tour the pepsi plant a dozen times but not know if someone did something nasty to my drink. So touring something is just that. (I love pepsi)
    Inconsistencies she did not address

    1.The shoe with no blood under the body.

    2.The shoes on top of the body

    3.The bloody wall

    4.Investigators with no shoe protectors.

    5.The missing organs, (that was just brushed over) who’s responsible for that?

    6.The tissue that supposedly shows the bruising on the right jaw area from the second autopsy. Anderson has to document his finding even though he’s privately hired. (Also the lung weight)

    7.The accusations of other students involements.

    8.The accusations of students taken out of school and in hiding.

    9.The Facebook posts about goonies and etc.

    10.And why on earth would someone of intelligence just crawl into a space they could not get out of?

    11.Why the authorities treated the family so shabbily or did they?

    I didn’t hear Leah give any explanation for any of these events that has torn this community apart. I know there is real fear, no one wants to get involved because if they do and it is a cover up, will they be targeted. Not because it’s a fact but history has taught us to shut up and let it go or they may come after you next. Fear of racial tension/accusations alone will keep people silent and that’s a problem.

    Was it an accident? I hope so; because if it wasn’t then this is a horrible travesty. But at this point with so many people yelling racism, cover ups, etc there’s going to be more violence if this issue isn’t solved soon. Honestly I actually fear posting this. But because I do fear it, I’m facing that fear head on and hitting submit.

    I don’t have the answers I don’t know and am not accusing anyone of anything. But I don’t think Leah Touchton knows the answer either. She’s just muddying the water.

    • TOM ONEAL says:

      I do not believe Leah Touchton is doing any more than any one on this post can do. Any one on this post has the same access to the same information as she does. Only difference I see is, she is off her butt getting the information while the ones on this post scrutinize it. Then complain if they do not agree.

      Perhaps, you should not shoot the messenger, get of your butts and get the information for yourself.

    • Tellitlikeitis says:

      Proud of you facing your fear.

    • Leigh Touchton says:

      Let me tell you something, for 10 months the family has posted that horrific sign as well as a sign of Emmett Till as well as basically held this community in a state of disruption and agitation without any end in sight. If they wanted the DOJ to look at the facts, why release them in small increments over a 10 month period? Why not give all the facts to the DOJ and the civil rights groups whose assistance they sought? I was ASKED to get involved in their first rally, and I was LIED TO by the attorney and the father. I do NOT appreciate being lied to and neither do most civil rights workers. If you can’t share the truth of a situation over things like “the school didn’t send anyone to his funeral” or “the GBI won’t release the toxicology results so I can’t release the second autopsy” or “the school wont’ give us the videotapes” followed by “we need to make legal filings to force them to release the report and video and then give sites to make donations….Don’t tell me I don’t have any right to “attack” the family. If you want the community and local leaders to trust you and work with you, then you have to be honest and trustworthy.

      • Been There says:

        This post hits the nail on the head about the attorney lying. Things the community believes.

        Truth: the one thing people won’t believe in.

    • DeLisa Smith says:

      @Concerned White Citizen….

      I agree with you on so many levels irt the “Illuminating Ms Touchton”….here you have this so called “expert on the case” who often lauds her own credentials, yet on many occasions when I have posed those very same questions which you have listed, there have been no direct answers nor comments on Ms Touchton’s part.

      I honestly am not certain why she continues to comment on this in an allegedly “professional” manner. Her behavior throughout this has been anything but.

      And I agree with you on some levels of the race card thing….unfortunately, being a native Valdostan(who doesn’t feel comfortable enough to move back to Valdosta and raise my two young sons there)…the race issues are a, for lack of a better word “heir apparent”. No one wants to acknowledge that there are issues and thus the issues just fester. Yes, it is the “500 lb Gorilla in the Room” but we have to all be willing to sit down and have honest dialogue about; dare I say it…Past and Present issues.

  10. Tre' says:

    Dear Leigh Touchton,
    Please sit down somewhere and shut up! Since you know everything, what you can do is point the law in the direction of Kj’s murderers! That’s what you can do! You don’t have any facts of anything! All you have is your unwarranted opinion and a big hole in your face! Nobody cares what you think! You’re not a detective, Medical examiner, or even a police! I’m starting to wonder if you even have common sense! ANYBODY with even an ounce of common sense could tell that baby was murdered! Please do us all a favor and have several seats and SHUT UP!!!!! You’re irrelevant! You’re a non-factor! Who ask for your opinion? Why are you even still talking? You just want your 2 minutes of Fame! You’re talking so much, somebody you know must’ve been in on his murder!! Please go get your life!! Please!!!!

  11. Ashlie Prain says:

    Shame on YOU, Leigh.

  12. Popadige says:

    Thank you Valdosta Today for holding this interview and thank you Leigh Touchton for finally being a sane voice in this terrible tragedy.

  13. October 21, 2013,

    Thanks for your concern for the Kendrick Johnson’s Family and the death of their son. However, there are hundreds of other Blacks that were murdered without any outcry or investigation her in South Georgia and its all been documented!

    Moreover, this is why so many Blacks are so afraid of this CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM and our youths have NOTHING to live for and EVERYTHING to die for in 2013. Perhaps, the Black youths of today are the best children we have produced because they DO NOT live….in the fear of DEATH!

    Again, the death of KENDRICK JOHNSON and what we are being told; is nothing new. Many deaths like the people that have died in our local jail with no loud OUTCRY from the people in VALDOSTA-LOWNDES COUNTY.

    So i only ask that WE read and educate ourselves on the issues in our community. Thanks! And God will prevail over the wicked as he has done so many times before and as a result his children were saved from the hand of those under the spel of the leviathan.

    A concerned citizen and brother of all humanity
    Valdosta, Georgia
    Saint John 8:32

    P.S. Time will tell and reveal all……just wait a few more days, please!

    • Leigh Touchton says:

      George, if your motivation is to sensationalize the case further and give more people more reason to hate and fear their Lowndes County School Officials then you are doing an excellent job. In civil rights, we teach our members that criticism of public officials must be fair and based on facts. We must seek a solution that is based on truth and justice. If your continuing point is to inflame people’s emotions with more and more stories of the injustices in Lowndes County stretching back to the early part of the century, then you are part of the problem.

      And to the folks telling me to be quiet, not a chance. I spent 10 months on this and unlike any of you commenters I have the courage of my convictions to get out there and tell what I think is the truth about this case. If you want to go get the case file and explain to the public why your version is the truth and not mine, go get the case file, go around and interview your public officials, analyze both autopsy reports, read the publications out there on this case. When you have facts to back up your analysis, George Rhynes will be happy to publish it for you. Then you can contact Chris again and see if he thinks your analysis merits an interview. Any citizen can do what I have done. If you really want the truth, then we are on the same page. If you want to see a white child convicted of murder absent any proof except “I heard that so-and-so did it because….” then we shall forever be on opposite sides.

      • DeLisa Smith says:

        Perhaps you should reread what you just wrote….

        “George, if your motivation is to sensationalize the case further and give more people more reason to hate and fear their Lowndes County School Officials then you are doing an excellent job. In civil rights, we teach our members that criticism of public officials must be fair and based on facts. We must seek a solution that is based on truth and justice. If your continuing point is to inflame people’s emotions with more and more stories of the injustices in Lowndes County stretching back to the early part of the century, then you are part of the problem.”

        Maybe you should heed your own advice Ms Touchton

        And by the way…any “Investigative Measures” which you have partaken in seem to be amateurish and superficial at best.

        There are “shockingly” enough good reasons as to why people are suspicious of the events surrounding this case. There have been numerous incidents in the past involving LCSD and Lowndes County/Valdosta in general regarding the treatment of Young Black Men/Black Men/Minorities/Poor People. It’s not a sensationalism Ms Touchton, it’s a fact…

        …a reality for many families, whether poor or minority, who have been at the wrong/unfortunate end of Justice because they were a resident of Lowndes County and happen to be the “wrong race or in the wrong income bracket”.

        I find it disturbing that you claim to act on the behalf of
        those who are Unjustly Treated/Do Not Have A Voice…and yet your clear advocacy has been on the behalf of the Establishment.

    • LHS MOM says:

      Mr. Rhynes,
      I would like to add that it’s not just Blacks that are affected by this situation in the South. It’s also Whites, that are from disadvantaged homes, whose children, through no fault of their own are targeted by the LCSD. Specifically teenagers, and I was told point blank by the LCSD that is what they do.

      All I’m saying is, they world will live in today, mostly in the South, hasn’t come much further than when Dr. King attempted to change the views of our Country. Very sad.

      • DeLisa Smith says:

        I completely agree with that statement LHS Mom.. that is why in my aforementioned comment, I clarified that both race and income(or lack there of)seem to play a part in how you get treated, specifically in Valdosta, Georgia…if You were not fortunate enough to be born with a certain last name, your fate is in a sense based upon how well connected you are to the select few…Valdosta is still and always has been a sort of “One Horse Town”

        • LHS MOM says:

          Ms. Smith, I posted my comment before yours, but you are much more articulate than I, nice to know we are like minded and agree on how it really is here.

    • TOM ONEAL says:

      George there is a place for you on Saturday Night Live.

  14. Laura says:

    This is insane and an embarrassment that a town would become divided over sensationalism and twisting of facts. Some simple research online will clear up some of rampant accusations that have been made. When a body is upside down all the fluids will pool in the upper body. The heart beats faster. It becomes difficult to breath. The fluids have nowhere to go and hemorrhage occurs and you will bleed out from the nose, eyes, mouth, etc. KJ’s face looked the way it did due to all of the bodily fluids accumulating there. Further research shows that it is common to remove organs during autopsy and they are sometimes put in a bag and put back in the body. Sometimes they are disposed of if they are in bad condition. Bodies are always packed with some kind of material after autopsy. Before people believe everything they hear and run angry with it, they should do some research. Thank you Leigh Touchton for a voice of reason. I wish everyone would take as much time to research facts as they do getting caught up in fueled filled anger. There is no possible way there is a giant conspiracy going on here. To many different organizations and people involved. These attorneys for the family are doing nothing but contributing to further division within the community.

    • Concerned white citizen says:

      Everything your saying is true. That’s kind of the problem. And there is always a huge But… What about the shoe that was found allegedly under his body with no blood? Do they really stuff bodies with newspapers?

      • truth seeker says:

        I know someone in the funeral industry. This never ever happens. Why? In case a body is pulled for a second autopsy. Organs are individually sealed in plastic bags, weighed pre autopsy and post autopsy, signed off and released to the funeral home. Where is the paper trail? Who destroyed the organs??

      • TOM ONEAL says:

        Concerned white citizen…..WOW! Every thing is a but to you.

        As to the shoe. If you look at the seam of the shoe you will see blood. It was said Law Enforcement saw this. And a Mike Brooks on CNN showed it to the world.

        As far as the Newspapers. Much to do about nothing. Perhaps in bad taste. Was a law broken? That the question and I do not think so.

        • Concerned white citizen says:

          Tom The non-bloody shoe exept where placed on top of the blood pool is only one out of many questions that’s been raised. Yes I used “but” in my statement. So what?? And stuffing a body with newspapers……”much to do about nothing” you say??? REALLY? Ah well I hope they don’t do that to one of your loved ones. I really do. Because it’s a huge deal to me and I’m sure Kendrick’s parents. What happened to handling the body that housed our loved ones with compassion, professionalism and morality? Hummmmm

    • Been There says:

      I agree with what you stated above but just to clearify something. The blood will pool to the lower part which was in this case his head.

  15. jessica says:

    She has done all this research and calls him a different name twice….

  16. Don Gaines says:

    The problem with her investigation is she only talked to police and other authorities. She did not talk to any students or anyone else outside of the agencies involved. I understand student names are redacted by law in the police report, but a good investigator can get some names. She obviously was only told what they wanted her to hear and that was good enough for her. It is also obvious she has no clue how to conduct an investigation. She has no background in doing so. Her experience she claims is not valid for a real investigator and she sights no sources outside of law enforcement or other agencies. Her accusations about CNN are false. It’s sad it takes new sources outside of Valdosta to seek answers to the many unanswered questions about Kendrick’s death. Chris is a nice guy, but he needs to stick to sports because he had no questions other then to embellish Ms Touchton’s position. Also, her defense of GBI is somewhat pathetic. Dr. Gaffney-Kraft contradicted VSU police. She is not going to contradict her own peers within the GBI. A peer review is not legitimate within the same organization. I do credit her though for calling for a Federal investigation, but the rest of her claims don’t hold much water in my eye.

    • Chris Beckham says:

      Don, thanks for your opinion. I have open phone lines three hours every morning five days a week so if you would like to call in and educate me on interviewing this subject and answer some of your questions, I give the number out about every three minutes. Come join the conversation. I’m pretty easy to find. Thanks for listening.

      • Don Gaines says:

        Sorry Chris, can’t call in during the morning. I listened to the recording. Did you question the fact that Dr. Gaffney-Krafts peer review was within her own organization? Did you ask Ms. Touchton if she interviewed anyone outside of law enforcement or the school board? Did you question the fact that any side of a legal fight has the right to hold evidence until the appropriate time? Did you question the fact she only based her criticism of the hired pathologist based on fights within the organization he worked for or other unconfirmed public blasts of the man? Did you question her as to her accusations that the Johnson’s only motive in this is to stir up the public into sending more money? Did you question her and ask why CNN does have the the right to cover this story and why she is afraid to talk to CNN? I’m fairly sure the answer is no to all. You are obviously a smart fellow, so there is your “education” to think about and chew on as to what a good interviewer does to be fair to all sides. (the first lesson is free amigo ☺ )

        • Leigh Touchton says:

          Don, I’m a private citizen, and if you want the answers to the questions you seek, then go get them and report back to Chris Beckham. I’m not deposed under oath and I’m not an expert witness for any case, I am, however, a smart woman who has been investigating cases here in Valdosta as a civil rights activist for the last 14 years. This idea that all the elected officials and forensic investigators and Lowndes School officials lied to me is something that conspiracy theorists believe. It’s utterly ridiculous. You’re not the prosecuting attorney and I’m not on your witness stand, Don. This is a private citizen explaining to the community what I learned when I researched this case. You can go out and do the same or whatever else it is that you think needs to be done.

          • Don Gaines says:

            I don’t have a dog in this fight and I have mouths to feed and could not possibly spend the time doing what you suggest. With that said Ms. Touchton, you are the one who decided to go on this radio show and tell the listeners your side, then you reply to criticism in a somewhat childish manner. Research does not involve simply being told by others what they want you to hear. I am not saying you were lied to, I am saying what you now call research instead of an investigation was very one sided and you obviously have no real experience or training in what a true investigation requires. You seem as if your bitter over the original start of your involvement in your perception of being lied to by Mr. Johnson and Mr. King. From that point you have lost your objectivity in this manner and are looking to satisfy your desired outcome. Again, I’m not saying you are bitter or lying yourself, but it sure comes across as so. My suggestion for your own piece of mind is to drop out of this whole controversy before it engulfs you and effects your family as I assume you have no real dog is this fight either other then your resentment of Mr. Johnson and Mr. King.

        • TOM ONEAL says:

          Don Gaines, I certainly would not wish to step on your Narcissistic ways of thinking. (the first lesson is free amigo ☺ ) No Sir. So, as to CNN I’ll let your go to this URL. Take my word for it there is much more on CNN.

          Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder[1] in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity.

          • Interesting Tom says:

            Since when does a lame joke equal narcissism Tom? Also, what does the gun rights issue have to do with this please?

          • DeLisa Smith says:

            @ Tom ONeal….what relevance does the link you posted above have to do with any of what is presently being discussed???

          • Ahhh Yes! says:

            When one needs factual, objective information, always count on……yeah baby!!

    • Been There says:

      She did everything that CNN could do. Did you know the private pathologist was fired from his previous job?

  17. Liz says:

    Its seems to me that all of you are detectives or is that defectives? A child is dead, there is video of Kendrick entering the gym, why doesn’t it show who entered before or after him? and yes concernedwhitecitizen, there are rumors of students withdrawn from school and moved, but they are just that…rumors. The truth will come out and soon, a $10,000 reward has been offered, someone will talk. God bless all concerned in this matter.

  18. Concerned white citizen says:

    I said; “rumors” and I’m not sure who your calling out for being detectives but I certainly am not and like others make no claims of being one. I also said; “I don’t know”. I’ve also said neither does Leah.

    Leah’s quote from above:
    “And to the folks telling me to be quiet, not a chance. I spent 10 months on this and unlike any of you commenters I have the courage of my convictions to get out there and tell what I think is the truth about this case.”

    Key words: What I “think” is the truth.
    Key words: “Unlike any of you commenters.

    So does that mean our voice or opinion or doesn’t count Leah??? Again your so proud of the time you have spent “Investigating” this, where are your credentials? Oh yeah I forgot you toured the crime lab…. that’s right! You talked to the officials and toured the gym. Do you seriously think that if we just every day citizens walked up to Law enforcement and started asking questions they’d just stop what they were doing and oblige us???? I don’t think so. But you go on ahead and take it all at face value that’s your right. Believe all that “you’ve” been told but sweetie there’s always two sides to a story and somewhere in the middle you might find the truth. Love to be a fly on the wall when the truth hits you in the face.

    • Leigh Touchton says:

      It’s Leigh. You want your opinion to count, then go dig into the case and report your findings to the community as I have done. It’s obvious from your post that you haven’t read the case file. Yes, I honestly think that if you picked up the phone and asked your public officials some reasonable and intelligent questions that they would answer you. Apparently you didn’t comprehend that I said “I want the DOJ to come in and investigate to set the record straight.” Apparently you didn’t know that the civil rights organization I work for has put up the offering for information leading to an arrest (right now $10,000 and DOJ attorney Michael Moore would be the one to decide an arrest should occur). It astounds me, simply astounds me, that some people automatically believe everyone who works for the Lowndes County schools, the LCSD, the Valdosta Crime Lab, the GBI, the Medical Examiner’s office in Macon, up to and including school coaches, counselors, teachers and parents, are ALL conspiring to cover up the murder of a child. Such a conspiracy theory stretches credulity and yet obviously that’s exactly what many people think. I think the majority of people who devote their lives to educating our children have integrity and character. You obviously do not.

      • Concerned white citizen says:

        Leah, Leigh, Lee or what-ever. You have danced around all of my questions but not answered a single one. Your pontificating about all of your investigating and your accomplishments and just expect us all to accept it as fact. Funny though you have not given a single example of how what the family is saying is untrue. All your giving us is I read this, I toured that, I was President of, I have x number years of experience, I, I, I,. This is my last comment to you, because honestly YOU have told me NOTHING of value. YOU have an “I” complex.

        • TOM ONEAL says:

          Concerned white citizen. And you have a very “Confused” complex don’t you think? All about me….right? Gees!!

          • Concerned white citizen says:

            Tom Oneal I realize that you are a champion of Ms. Touchton and that’s ok. Yes I am confused by how many can give credit to such a shabby questionable investigation by a person who’s main objective is to express her importance but has not once answered any question of any real importance. Yep it’s all about me, me, me. I want answers!!!! Leigh certainly isn’t giving any and I think she just needs to step down off her pedestal and pray that someone with real experience and qualifications can supply the answers to those questions.

  19. yes im white says:

    Bottom line is race will always be an issue just as much blacks as there are whites. There are people being protected. That’s small town politics for you. It happens everywhere every day . This country will only continue to get worse because of race. If no one is guilty of a crime or a cover up simply turn it over to someone who is unbiased. You all can state your facts but they are only facts of the locals. I lost a child to auto accident. Had I lost him in a way to where I even thought someone else had anything to do with it then I would not quit looking for answers until death. Again with the parents, race is an issue and until america stops trying to play that card this world will continue to go down hill. You have to want the truth no matter what don’t just assume that its because he was black, this happened. Go for the truth because he is your son, he was an american, and because that’s what American do. Stand for whats right. Not because your black purple red or white. Do it because you are human. Someone has to stand up to these crooked authorities. Why not these parents. They just need to do it with integrity and honesty. I pray that they find the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. I hope kendrick and my son are having the time of their life up in heaven. Looking down at this world with nothing but sorrow and pity because of how we act. At least they no longer have to deal with this hell on earth.

    • DeLisa Smith says:

      Thank you….a voice of rationale….finally….

      What parent who felt that there was even an iota of suspicion regarding their child’s death wouldn’t fight to find answers…

      It just astounds me how people are just telling this family to just forget about it and to just go on with their lives as if they even could….

      They sent their child to school and he never came back home…that is cause enough to want answers

      If there is nothing to hide, then there is no reason that a secondary outside investigation shouldn’t be performed.


    • LHS MOM says:

      Well said, and my sincere condolences on the loss of your child. Your last sentence really hits the nail on the head.

  20. Edward O DuBose says:

    In listenting to this interview by Ms Touchton it is important that I correct the record as there is misinformation that was given out to this listening audience. I am the former president of the Georgia State Conference and was the sitting president when the Kendrick Johnson murder occurred. At no time did I give Ms. Touchton any authority to investigate, speak or represent the Georgia State Conference NAACP in any manner. There is not any written correspondence either by email or letter that can be produce with my signature to validate Ms. Touchton statement. Ms. Touchton statement is not only misleading but it is absolutely false. This statement must be retracted immediately. I will also reach out directly to this station to make it clear that not only are these statements misleading but they are completly false. If the statement of being given authority by the State Conference NAACP is false then I hope the readers can come to a rationale conclusion into the rest of this interview.

    • Leigh Touchton says:

      I beg to differ with you, President Dubose. I was directly told by Larry Lockey, the District Coordinator for our area to investigate and I wrote copious reports and forwarded them to him and to you. What you did with them after I left, I have no knowledge. I most certainly will not retract what I said and will be glad to explain even further. In addition to being asked and directed by District Coordinator Lockey to deliver the “position statement” for the Georgia State Conference in April at a candlelight vigil, that actually turned into a rally, I was elected Secretary of the Valdosta NAACP branch in April and followed up my Secretarial duties by continuing to investigate as part of the Legal Redress team. District Coordinator Lockey told me he had a signed complaint form in his possession from the Kendrick Johnson family. I have copies of all my reports as well as transcriptions from the conference call I was on as Secretary. As you know, I resigned immediately after that conference call because of what was said on that call. I immediately went to work for SCLC as the Lead Investigator and repeated all the work I had done for NAACP. I think you need to discuss with District Coordinator Larry Lockey. When I resigned, the former president of the Valdosta NAACP branch also resigned, his name is Matthew Loveday. He can also give clarity on the direction that we were given by District Coordinator Lockey.

    • Leigh Touchton says:

      When I spoke at the candlelight vigil, I was standing directly in front of Larry Lockey, the NAACP District Coordinator, and I turned to him right before I spoke and said “do you want me to do this?” and he said “yes”. I was told that I was delivering the Georgia State Conference NAACP position statement on “DOJ investigation required to set the record straight” and I did it. I can be found on youtube videotapes giving the NAACP position at that rally, it was the first and last time I associated publicly with the Kendrick Johnson family.

      Of course there’s no record of you writing a letter telling me to investigate, District Coordinator Larry Lockey, who was appointed and voted in by you and the state conference officers, told me via numerous telephone conversations what I was supposed to do. He authorized me to speak to Chevene King.

      Former Valdosta NAACP President Matthew Loveday was also at this event, he delivered a prayer, so he knows exactly what happened. I tendered my resignation in July, up to that point, I was the duly elected Secretary of the Valdosta branch and an ex officio member of the Legal Redress Committee.

    • TOM ONEAL says:

      Edward O DuBose. Why is it I do not believe a word you have to say? Not a word.

      Think!!, Why in the world she waste her time on this if it were not so? Frankly, all of this is worse than watching sap run down a Maple tree. And very childish. Did we not have enough with the BS from Congress?

      Did you have a bad dream?

      • DeLisa Smith says:

        Mr ONeal, I just continue to shake my head at you in all of your glorious ridiculousness…

        How exactly did you discern that every thing that Ms Touchton states is Bible(Valid) and any statements made by any one who is NOT in agreement with her…well, you call their credibility into question..

        Sounds like most of your opinion/insight on this matter is plagued by some sort of bias(something you and Leah clearly have in common)

  21. Guest - Anonymous says:

    Please stop with the booties on the people working the crime scene. The scene was contaminated long before the police arrived. As far as Leigh, she has worked for years as a strong advocate for both black and white alike and seeking justice. The facts are much more prevalent than what she had time to speak of on the radio in 30 minutes. Get off your duff and fork out the bucks to get all the records that Leigh has and you can see for yourself that this was not a murder. The family attorney has been offered the opportunity to review the video on site, but the video CAN’T be released to the public by federal law because other children are in the video. A reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest. Do you seriously think that nobody would peep a word if there was a killer out there? In this economy, who wouldn’t need $10,000??? Nobody is coming forward because nobody killed this boy. It was a terrible accident and nothing more. The family attorney is a joke. The family wants money to be doled out to them. A DOJ investigation needs to be performed to prove that there is no cover up. You people are destroying the reputation of this town just because the family won’t accept that their son died an accident. It is time to move on and let this child actually rest in peace. IF there were any foul play, we have one true judge that will take care of that for us, God alone has that right. Let it go people!

    • DeLisa Smith says:

      “The family attorney has been offered the opportunity to review the video on site, but the video CAN’T be released to the public by federal law because other children are in the video.”

      Perhaps you should re-think what you wrote. If, in fact there were “other students” in the video(you know, the one’s whose privacy rights are being protected under the law)…when/where were these “other students” questioned in regards to this case? Because that would make them part of an investigation correct? I mean, if they were present moments before the death(as the video footage possibly implies), would the likely hood of them being present at the time of death(regardless of how the death occurred)be relevant and open to public knowledge…???

      • VSU Mom says:

        Go get the case file, hello? Read the redacted student interviews, hello? Are you incapable of going and getting a case file and actually reading it before you spout off in cyberspace? Minors aka juveniles aka children have rights under the law and unlike you, school and law enforcement are informed about the laws regarding publication of children’s names and faces. I bet you’d be hiring the Crump and King Public Spectacle Show to sue the school if they released your child’s name or photograph, but you don’t think any other children have the same rights?

    • If there is a Justice Department in the United States of America it need to step forth or else remain silent while these unending points continue! That’s all I will say period Saint John 8:32 and you!

  22. HillMiyelle says:

    Lets be serious. This is once again a case of a black man being murdered and swept under the rug. The injuries that KJ could not have been made by a slip and fall in a mat. Lets be serious wont we..his body was stuffed with newspaper where his organs should have been. This was a HATE crime clearly.Its sad that America is still racist, grow up! But we will all be judged…

    • TOM ONEAL says:

      If you had a family ranting and raving saying their Son was murdered in you school system what would you do? Read the below and tell me that you would just hand over PICTURES/FILM of many students to this family and CNN.

      Question; Does not PICTURES/FILM show “personal characteristics” of a student?

      Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
      The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended, is a federal law (20 U.S.C. 1232g) that protects the privacy of a student’s educational record. FERPA applies to all educational institutions receiving funds from the United States Department of Education.

      The U.S. Department of Education summarizes the rights afforded to students by FERPA as follows:

      The right to review their educational records within forty-five days from their request
      The right to request amendment to records they believe to be inaccurate
      The right to limit disclosure of some personally identifiable information known as directory information
      The right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office in Washington, DC, if they feel their FERPA rights have been violated.

      What is Personally Identifiable Information?

      Personally identifiable information is any information that identifies or describes a student. It includes, but is not limited to, a student’s name, the name of a student’s parent or other family members, the address of a student or student’s family, any personal identifier such as a student’s Social Security Number or student ID number, and ANY PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS or other information that would make a student’s identity easily traceable.

  23. Former Student says:

    I was a student of Leigh Touchton at VSU, so anytime I saw her name in the paper I read the story. She was in there all the time fighting for the rights of black and white people. She was a gifted teacher who lost her position because she was standing up for people. I find it sad that so many of you are stating rumors and not facts. I saw where someone was appalled that something was said about KJ’s grandparents having custody, but I wonder if that same person was appalled when Sheriff Prine was accused of covering up for his son or nephew, of which he has neither. If this community would stop spreading rumors then perhaps the facts would become clearer. I believe that what Leigh Touchton has said are facts that she has gathered over the course of her investigation. Also, those of you who believe in a ‘small town’ cover up should realize that this case went to the GBI, who is not part of our small town. Seperate fact from fiction, rumor from truth and this case becomes a lot clearer.

    • Concerned white citizen says:

      If facts had actually been stated and proven, and if the real questions had been answered then I could leave this alone and let it be. BUT they were not! All I’ve heard is conjecture on Leigh’s opinions and I challenged them. Now if that upsets you, to bad, deal with it. I haven’t accused anyone of anything except Leigh. She’s biased and inaccurate. Enough said.

  24. DW says:

    Plain and simple this is a murder and a coverup regardless of what Mrs Touchton findings are. There is to much wrong in this case. Corrupt Sheriff Prine, the sheriffs department and the GBI are all corrupt.

    • DW! You must have attended the Quitman 10+2 trial on September 23, 2013 (as I did) which ended in a mistrial by Judge Ronnie Joe Lane. Or just maybe you have googled the many deaths in Macon, Georgia. Or maybe the 84 year old lady in Brooks county that was so intimidated by the GBI during their investigation that she refused to return to the polls and vote.

      You must have attended all five (5) days of Ms. Lula Smart trial wherein several citizens said on the stand that they would NEVER vote again!

      Or just maybe you witnessed people that failed to show up and nothing was said by the judge along the lines of summons meaning something in the State of Georgia. Moreover, nothing about many irregularities was published to the general public.

      So how are Georgians to debate when information is not published to the general public! We as a community may need to wake up to what is beyond our mental understanding. Have a nice day everybody!

      If I hurt anybody’s feeling I am sorry! I really am and it was not my intent. Peace, love and understanding…

  25. Tre' says:

    Leigh again point proven, you are irrelevant to this case! And nobody said anything about rather to lock up a white boy or black boy! Rather they were black, white, blue, green or purple they need to be bought to justice! And I’m still stuck on the part of you really considering yourself a civil rights advocate! Please have several seats ma’am! You are a wolf in sheep’s clothing! Your cover is blown and so is KJ’S coverup! Please go trip over your own untied shoe laces or something!!

  26. Concerned white citizen says:

    “Let it go people”….Really? Ms. Touchton, Leigh, Leah or Lee lost her credibility with her first post attacking a grieving family. I don’t care if they are purple with green feet they have the right to demand answers for the death of their son. I don’t like racism, I wish it didn’t exist but it does. But also I know; as another poster commented prejudice exists for the poor and disadvantaged people of all colors. It’s not just a black issue. To many people are far to willing to just let it go. If the Johnson’s had not stood on that corner day after day in the blazing sun holding a picture of their son before and after this conversation would not be happening. No I didn’t want to see it! But can you imagine how Jackie Johnson and Kenneth Johnson felt having to see it everyday. He’s their son! Where is your compassion, where is your humanity, where is the justice in that????

    • DeLisa Smith says:

      Finally….it seems people are getting it…Thank you so much for making that statement…

      I wonder if all of these “critics” would be so cavalier about it and “let it go” if this had happened to their child or even a relative’s child.

      Thanks again for your obvious level of outrage and sympathy for this family…it’s clear to me that ms Touchton is acting on a level that would be less aligned as a voice for the people…the poor, the disadvantaged

  27. Cameras Four says:

    The issue is there are four video cameras in the gym with one pointing in the area in which Kendrick died. Unless Mr. Crump and Mr. King are lying about this, it simply is a matter of releasing that video.

    This notion being stirred up by Ms. Touchton that the attorneys have been granted access to see the one which shows the corner of the gym which shows what happened to Kendrick, but refuse to view it to keep stirring the pot on this issue is simply insane.

    Ms. Touchton seems as if she will say anything, regardless of the truth, in order to seek revenge on Mr. Johnson and Mr. King for what she perceives as lies because she feels betrayed and cannot get over that even though justice for a young man and his family are at stake.

    • TOM ONEAL says:

      If you had a family ranting and raving saying their Son was murdered in you school system what would you do? Read the below and tell me that you would just hand over PICTURES/FILM of many students to this family and CNN.

      Question; Does not PICTURES/FILM show “personal characteristics” of a student? Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
      The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended, is a federal law (20 U.S.C. 1232g) that protects the privacy of a student’s educational record. FERPA applies to all educational institutions receiving funds from the United States Department of Education.

      The U.S. Department of Education summarizes the rights afforded to students by FERPA as follows:

      The right to review their educational records within forty-five days from their request
      The right to request amendment to records they believe to be inaccurate
      The right to limit disclosure of some personally identifiable information known as directory information
      The right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office in Washington, DC, if they feel their FERPA rights have been violated.


      What is Personally Identifiable Information?

      Personally identifiable information is any information that identifies or describes a student. It includes, but is not limited to, a student’s name, the name of a student’s parent or other family members, the address of a student or student’s family, any personal identifier such as a student’s Social Security Number or student ID number, and any personal characteristics or other information that would make a student’s identity easily traceable.

  28. what about manslaughter? says:

    Ok, suppose for a bit that the local authorities are correct–who threw Kendrick’s shoes into the mats? That kid should be feeling a lot of guilt at the unintended results of his prank. Since KJ was a football player, he might well have brusises–that’s plausible. But what if the prank went further than just hiding his shoes, and somebody grabbed his feet and dropped him in while he was reaching for his shoe? A schoolkid might not realize how dangerous it is to be trapped upside down. Why did his friends not go look for him when he didn’t show up? It was reported they thought he went out another door, but wasn’t anyone concerned that he never showed up at the fieldhouse? Doesn’t mean it is murder, since they would not have meant to kill him. But that would be a reason for a coverup.

    • truthteller says:

      quick question….why was his shoes off and beside him in the mat? and pay attention to his sock. Just look at the pic. Even if he’s reaching for a shoe in a mat that he could have simple knocked over to get it, how and why are his shoes places beside him? Correct me if I’m wrong but in an article it was said that he was found by a girl who saw his feet sticking out from the mat that was upright. Now go back to the pic, if the mat was upright there is noway to see feet coming out the top.

      We live in a world were yes there are evil people and yes crime gets covered on a daily not just here but everywhere. Just b/c there is a person in high authority doesnt mean they are truth tellers. Presidents lie, preachers, judges, police officers, lawyers, you, me, everybody lies from time to time.

      If it was my child and I know my baby would not squeeze down in a mat for a shoe; I’d be doing more then they are I tell you that. You have a family that’s been caughting hell since day one. No organs,body stuffed with newspaper, can’t view a tape b/c of minors( which BTW faces can be blurred)and according to them he put himself down there nobody was around so there should be no minors in the tape but the one that’s deceased. Correct?
      I can keep going on for days about all the wrong with this. Even CNN thinks this is fishy. The fact is stupid things have happened from day one and people need to be fired and sued. This was clearly mishandled and the crime pics show it.

      • TOM ONEAL says:

        Even CNN thinks it’s fishy. Oh well there you go. God CNN has spoken so lets all bow down and pay homage. Gees!!

    • TOM ONEAL says:

      If and when the Judge rules on the video what you say may just be on it.

      The Lawyers can put on a show about the video and that’s what they get paid to do. However, the school can not just hand over the video.

  29. yes im white says:

    Wow Ms. Touchton your head must get really heavy carrying all that knowledge and all those credentials around. .oh I’m sorry what I meant to say is seriously let your ego rest a while. Sorry no rewind button. Really no one is impressed. What you meant to say …..really…after knowing how this case has impacted this town..and as you say after 10 months of research. should make no mistake in what you say in an Interview. So recant, call it mis-speaking..I call it time for you to walk away….your not here to help..that’s obvious….time to call it quits and go fight for politics rights. ..oh I’m sorry I miss spoke. Seriously move on!!!!!

  30. Sick of this mess! says:

    Oh my heavens….you people are such a joke. The public doesn’t need to see anything in order to draw a conclusion. The video has been made available to the people who need to see it, along with the family attorney. The attorney only wants to release it to CNN and has not taken the time to go and see the video! Why? To garner more attention and boost the financial support from ignorant citizens such as the majority on this site. What in the world would anyone have to gain to “cover up” this death?? A thorough investigation was conducted and NOTHING indicates that KJ was MURDERED! You people are NOT trained in law enforcement and investigation. Leigh has been a strong advocate for blacks in the community and I would suspect that her initial involvement was to help the family seek justice as the rumor mill had already begun with lies and misinformation. But, after she began to get the evidence …it was clear that there was no murder. So she has stepped forward and released her statement on behalf of the community that is so quick to judge and bring such horrible publicity to our quiet little town. While murder is not uncommon in this world, it is also not uncommon for people to be wrong and want to accuse someone in order to gain financial rewards. I am not saying that this is what the family is doing….but it sure does seem that way to me. Do these people not have jobs that sit around with their horrific pictures all day? I suppose I am paying to support them while they make our town look pathetic. Get off the streets, and for heaven’s sake get off CNN!!! CNN is such a joke! File your lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office and get back to work. Let your lawyers hash this out in the courts instead of in the public eye. Not one of you have any dog in this fight. The school is a safe place for your kids, just as safe as your own homes. Accidents happen at home and no place is 100% safe.

    One last comment. Why has no one come forward with information? We ALL know that had this been a murder, someone would have jumped with information to claim that reward! No one can keep quite and not utter a word to a soul if they had committed such a horrific crime.

    Let God be the judge in this matter and get back to your daily lives. Take care of your own families and hug and kiss them, and teach them right from wrong. Let the KJ matter REST!

    • Concerned white citizen says:

      I’m stunned… “You people”? You may as well say it’s none of our business. I live in this town. It is my business.

      About the video: Academic record of students, privacy law of minors. If Kendrick was alone in the gym as has been alluded to then the Johnson’s have repeatedly asked for it to be released. Release it! But (yes I said but) now other students are in the video that needs to be protected??? A discrepancy? Blur the faces and release the video.

      “Let the KJ matter rest”, So many are blindly taking the word of officials and saying that we the people should shut up and just go away. You want to throw in that YOU are paying for them to stand on the street. Both parents have paid their dues as I understand it. What makes you think your paying their tab?

      Maybe all of “you people” should open your eyes and take the blinders off.

    • TOM ONEAL says:


    • Say What says:

      You are vastly mistaken if you really think people can’t keep quiet about their dirty deeds. If your statement were correct, logic says that many more crimes would be solved much more quickly without even needing much investigation at all. We all know that is not the case. Sometimes rewards do help. Immediately upon reward announcement and even years after. But sometimes no matter how large the reward amount or how long the reward offer remains in effect, crimes remain unsolved long after they are committed. Why do some of you assume that just a few days after a reward has been offered and no one has come forward, in just a few days, with information that this adds up to no info available? Seriously?!

      • Concerned white citizen says:

        Agreed. Not only that but $10,000.00 is just a spit in the bucket for the influential families here in V-town. I can’t think of anyone who would trade 10 grand for their freedom and/or safety. Something to think about. I know I wouldn’t.

        • TOM ONEAL says:

          Concerned white citizen, You are a prime example of why Valdosta is the way it is. All mouth and no back bone. If any one has any real information the 10K will bring it forth in one manner or another. Or, perhaps there is no murder? Then no one will ever say any thing right….ever!

          Many like George Boston Rhynes sings the songs of oh how bad Valdosta is. Yet, they all are still here. Still here in this Law forsaken City just complaining away without a life I guess. There is no way on God’s green earth this place could be so bad. Or, is it just a bunch of people a glutton for punishment.

          I’ve lived in Phoenix, Arizona and you hear the same thing out there about how bad the Sheriff is. All kinds of stories told.

          If I were so afraid of Valdosta I would walk away and never come back. Life is way to short to live in a place I complained about all of the time.

          • Directly to The Honorable Tom Neal:

            Let’s meet A.S.A.P. So you can show me what is wrong about what I have been reporting since 1975. Please help me I never reject a greater truth from any life sourc!

            Many tell Blacks to leave the country that we help build before we were considered human beings. They tell us; if you like it here you can leave! Well when we wanted to return we were for bidden.

            Now, lets meet and get on camera so you can show me your truths over my truths based on facts. My e-mail is bostongbr@gmail. I am ready to go on camera today! My phone number is 229-251-8645 and will await your call!

            Links of truth; that you CANNOT change!

            1. Respond to this mother:

            2. Tell Brooks County Voters that this meeting NEVER took place?

            a. Ask Georgia Secretary Brian P. Kemp and his investigator Glenn from Macon that later came to Quitman about these problems but have TOTALLY ignored these valid voting problems. Meeting Date July 17, 2012? However, No news media reported anything about this but I did…..and now you know!

            b. Tell this mother and her children that her kitchen was safe to eat with sewage coming up through her kitchen sink?

            3. Jail Deaths and can you prove me wrong on this?

            4. News Media Report of my truths: Please meet A.S.A.P. so all who visit this channel can see you speaking your truth to power over what I always published since 1975.

            5. George Boston Rhynes in Port Saint Joe, Florida and people outside of Lowndes County respect me for the truth I publish.

            6. Racism in Port Saint Joe and I did not speak these words into existence:

            7. White Jail Inmate teeth knocked and Ignored by South Georgia News Media in South Georgia from a public Meeting the State of Georgia! (Thank you and again I await your timely response) (City Council equal representation by elected officials)

            8. I will stop here but leave you with a playlist of many truths and it is what it is….

            Retired United States Armed Forces Military Veteran
            Business Owner for Fourteen years
            Community Activator and human being
            Valdosta, Georgia

          • DeLisa Smith says:

            Mr Neal,

            In my most humble opinion(mind you, of which I have a right to, as do you sir)…It is unfortunately persons like yourself and Ms Touchton who maraud under the guise of truth and justice seekers , but are really a sort of cancer to human society…

            Your narrow minded, unyielding, one dimensional perspective is what lends to the unilateral complexities that plague and discourage positive and diverse human relations, i.e. the common, most simple rule of objectivity and of being respectful of other people AND their opinions or ways of thought…

            You see, Mr Neal and Ms Touchton, I doubt people are as outraged by your opinions as they are of your faultiness in trying to pass those opinions off as Facts. Not to mention your continuance to deny or dismiss any thing that does NOT corroborate with your point of view, as mere fiction or even worse as has apparently been the case with both of you…Absolute Outlandishness, Implausibility and “Sensationalism” as remarked by Ms Touchton on numerous occasions within these posts.

            In theory, very little of what I have stated is non-factual and based little if at all on my opinion, as it could be proven in many circles/instances that the actions/dialogue that both of you have displayed can be construed as the aforementioned describes(well, almost every thing, sans the “cancer” comment). All one needs to do is go back and read each of your posts and the PROOF is in the dialogue.

            In short, if you can, as Mr Neal so eloquently stated in a previous post to me, “Prove Me Wrong”, then I readily welcome that opportunity….

            Until then, perhaps its better that all of us avoid participating in conjecture and stick with what I’m certain that we are ALL looking for in this very tragic case…Which is the Truth and eventually some Final Level of Resolution…what ever that may be.

            Peace and Blessings

        • DeLisa Smith says:

          Exactly…it’s all about WHO you are and WHO you know in lil ol Valdosta…and sometimes WHAT you know can get you locked up or killed..

          And for those of you who are in such denial that there could ever be a consorted effort to cover up something in Valdosta…you are sadly delusional…in certain communities in Valdosta, cover up and lack of Justice is all too common..perhaps those of you that still think that you live in some sleepy little town need to go do your research across the tracks or maybe in some of the other communities…two totally different worlds and that is a FACT

    • Well said!

      Now check out the South Georgia Historic Record when it comes to investigations, killings and murders!

      Mr. Kendrick Johnson’s death is just one among hundreds here in South Georgia that Blacks know about but seldom talk about as much as K.J.s. Another Valdosta unsolved murder:

      This is the problem they know the history of the State of Georgia both Black and White people they know and soon you will KNOW!

      a. Georgia Public Meetings & No South Georgia News Media Coverage and who cares?


      Thanks for sharing!

      • TOM ONEAL says:

        George Boston Rhynes, Misery loves company and I don’t have time to visit. I want no part of Valdosta’s complain gang. Leave Valdosta and get a life. Or, stand on the corner and complain. It’s your time to waste.

        This silly unwarranted cover up stunt over KJ’s death is enough for me.

  31. Hurting4JohnsonFamily says:

    Leigh, you have lost your mind. Are you related to sheriff Prine? Hopefully you never have to deal with a loss like this in your family or with your children. Im sure it would be a different story then on how you made your obnoxious comments. GO SIT DOWN!

  32. Think says:

    Until every person, no matter what your opinion is of this case, stops reacting and reiterating rumors and speculation of this case, the turmoil will continue.

    • DeLisa Smith says:

      @ Think…

      No, Until people in this Country, not just Lowndes County, buck up and have an HONEST conversation about race relations; Past and Present…and TRULY and Sincerely Address the Issues and Disparities that are present between all races and people of every income bracket… Until then there will be turmoil..

  33. Jim says:

    These comments are getting ridiculous and shows how unconcerned everyone is over the divide of this community.

    There are those who are quick to blame fictitious people as the sheriff’s niece, nephew, son, daughter…whatever the rumor is today. Then there are people only support the opinions and statements of those who hold their own views about the subject. On top of that there are those who are quick to take this side of anything said about this being anything other than a cover up.

    No one commenting on this forum has gained any credibility other than being able to cause division. I would know, I have been here in the past debating away with others, disrespectfully.

    Guys we need to respect each other. Regardless of the outcome we all have to live in the same community. It’s one thing to respectfully disagree and debate someone but I do not see any respect from anyone here. Although, getting caught up and lashing out at others is very easy, it does not covey your message very well.

  34. Guest says:

    When the truth is realized and it confirms to all doubters that this death was a tragic accident, will those of you who have been so vocal with accusations of conspiracy and corruption be courageous enough to acknowledge the error of your ways? This accident has been spun falsely and irresponsibly into some sort of murder with racial implications, hijacked now by those with alterior motives. An autopsy was done by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that showed the cause of death was positional asphyxia, accidental death. A second autopsy was performed by a hired “expert” who is paid to find the result the hiring party seeks,and he gave the result he was hired to give. This same expert has done work for the second attorney involved in this case, Benjamin Crump, his credibility questionable at best. Stop and think about how vast and far-reaching this conspiracy would have to be, involving an array of parties who are not connected in any way to each other, apply common sense to this equation and help this community heal. No one has come forward because there is no murder. The U.S. Attorney or any Federal authorities may or may not get involved, but if they do, they will reach the same conclusion that has already been reached. If there was anything to the rumors and speculation of murder and cover-up, they would be neck deep in this case already. It is deplorable that Leigh Touchton, who has advocated on behalf of so many people under the banner of equality, is being vilified and attacked on this forum for stating her opinion. It is high time for healing, open up your hearts and minds. The truth shall set you free.

    • Say What says:

      The slant of claiming “vast” conspiracy, meaning everyone involved would have to be invvolved in a cover up is just not true. Fact is that in some cases of cover up it only takes one or a few to cover up. It’s also true that in some cases fear of reprisal can keep even the most honest people from speaking up. Fact is, rewards do not always bring out the truth, no matter how large the reward or the length of time the reward is good for. Also, some have tried make it appear that just because the family spoke of considering a reward, but yet that reward has yet to come to pass from the family and their supporters, the family deserves to be faulted for that? Really? This is not uncommon for family and friends who do not have the resources to post a reward. Many friends and loved ones of unsolved or questionable cases go through this. It takes time and perseverance for a reward to be established. And it takes money for that to happen. The Johnson family is using the resources as they can which has come to them. I would do the same if it were my child, or friend, no matter their age, who died under questionable circumstances. A lot of smart people, of all races, and many walks of life, believe the Johnson family are brave to be pushing for the truth and for answers to the many questions and gaps in the original story of their son’s death. I am one of those people who applaud them for their dedication.

      • Guest says:

        Just not true? Medical examiners from the GBI who have no stake in the affairs of Lowndes County would all agree to conspire to cover up a murder risking not only their careers but their freedom? And for what? For who? Come on, come back down to earth and apply common sense to this equation. The Johnson family tragedy is being manipulated by those with alterior motives who seek personal gain at the expense of community harmony, non residents of Lowndes County mind you. Public scrutiny should shift on the attorneys who are driving this train, and hard questions should be asked of them. Talk about needing answers, this is where the community should demand answers, when it is all said and done, ask King and Crump why.

  35. TOM ONEAL says:

    Despite recent media reports that have clouded, or even misrepresented, the facts, there is compelling evidence that KJ’s death is nothing more than a tragic accident.

    This is buttress by the total lack of real proof a murder occurred. Only a second opinion autopsy was performed. Certainly not a smoking gun.

    The Lawyers King and Crump keep crying for the video. Yet, as I understand it they were told they could view the videos themselves. And they have yet to do this….why? Me thinks they complain too much.

  36. mark says:

    Taste great less filling.

  37. Since I’ve not met Ms. Touchton, only heard of and about her, I will reserve my opinions about her character or motivations. However, based on these comments, which are above-average (appreciated)overall, I would like to personally interview Ms. Touchton for both my blog and some feature work I’m working on for print media.

    Since she has claimed to be a lead investigator and has been engaged in this tedious, time-consuming, overwhelming endeavor for longer than anyone else, seeing her documentation would be enlightening. I’m sure – being a “lead” investigator and in such a professional capacity – her files have to be referenced with hard facts, taped/transcribed and/or hand-written statements from individuals she has interviewed (there must be at least 100), along with all the links from any and all blogs, printed materials, etc. As a magazine contributor for nearly 20 years, I can personally attest to what hoops I’ve been forced to jump through with in-house legal, so I’m sure her own lauded organization has the same, if not more, stringent protocols for presenting publicly investigatory information.

    Ms. Touchton, I welcome your contact ( to schedule a time and place, at your convenience. Rest assured it will be utterly objective, you will not be in a hostile setting; let me assist you, if that is what you need to underscore the validity of your investigation.

    I’m confident the SCLC would never make the error in judgment of placing an inexperienced researcher/investigator at the helm of what could arguably be considered one of the most critical and relevant events/cases in Georgia’s history – and potentially nationally/internationally.

    Since my own research has introduced me to a growing global support system of insightful and convicted individuals both in the U.S. and in many countries, I have yet to hear a single one (outside this state) to draw the conclusions Ms. Touchton has (even though I admit I haven’t seen her documentation, though apparently she has presented it and included it?).

    Troubling to me is that this case seems to be setting our already stereotyped state back 50 years, with “hicks” and “dumb rednecks” used liberally in the international media – and almost always by whites, not blacks – to describe Georgians.

    Thank you in advance, Ms. Touchton, for considering my offer.

    Robin Postell

    Chris Prine, by the way, does have a nephew – he is a LinkedIN connection of mine I quite by accident realized a week or two ago. And I noticed he listed Black Crow Media as his place of employment.

    This young man I believe graduated from Lowndes High this year and is attending VSU. I urge anyone to correct me if I am wrong, it certainly will not offend me – I welcome constructive criticism. Making mistakes in this climate isn’t healthy or wise and everyone should participate in clearing up one another’s gaffes.

    I’ve no idea whatsoever anything about young Prine, other than he most recently noted he’d gotten a new job and I sent him a note of congratulations. This is certainly no attempt to attach his name to this event as I have never heard anything or have reason to make any presumptions/speculations. (To make that perfectly clear, please – do not misconstrue.)

    The negligence of total lack of transparency and glaring inconsistencies throughout this year regarding the local law enforcement’s investigation makes it doubly important that the community work together to shed light on these shadowy areas. Chris Prine does have a brother who has – I believe, to the best of my knowledge, 2 sons, and perhaps a daughter, which is hardly a crime. Why this is a problem area is beyond me.

    There should be nothing to hide, if there is nothing to hide. Protecting children is natural, but once they are 18, they are of age and must stand for themselves in the society in which they live and work. Protecting them by supporting and standing behind their innocence might be more advantageous at this point.

    Working with the global collective more often than the local one, I find it discouraging our little Southern enclave has to have the spotlight of the world shone on it and reveal such unflattering flaws and apparently narrow-minded, herd-mentality rules rather than exceptions.

    Please everyone – stand up straight and smile for the camera, tell the truth and act like you had good parents.

    Are you ready for your close-up?

    Ready or not, you’re already LIVE!…Might better think about that. Many of you have no idea because you are involved in your own lives, families, obligations, recreations, and aren’t absorbed with this case or any other – and would have no reason to be privy to the increasing global interest and focus on this case, this town, individuals who they are able to pinpoint and scrutinize, reading your comments and deducting your thoughts. The world has become much smaller because of technology’s acceleration and small, inclusive areas like Lowndes County tend to forget the rest of the world exists. But it does, and it is very, very interested in you.

    The reality of what I’m telling you would probably so startle many of you that you might be rattled and feel violated – but it will eventually pass. Unfortunately, or not, we get used to things, even if they aren’t necessarily ideal, or “right,” by our standards.

  39. Amina says:

    Insult to our intelligence indeed. Ladies and gentlemen, this was a 17 year old man, not a 10 year old child. If you were in a gym, and someone tossed your shoe (or your shoe fell) into a rolled up gym mat, how do you go about getting it out? The last thing I (and any reasonably thinking individual) would do is attempt to climb head first into a mat to get it. Knock it over, get a broom, or leave it there for goodness sakes. Had we been talking about a 10 year old, I would have believed it easily and case closed. When I was 10 I thought it was a good idea to dance on top of my moms glass table because it was like a stage. I fell through it and ended up with stitches. Those are the kinds of inexperienced decisions young children make. Sorry, I refuse to believe this young man was not smart enough to try to retrieve his shoe any other way.

  40. john doe says:

    She’s an idiot and undeserving of a voice. When something doesn’t add up, something as serious as murder or the possibility of murder then her ONLY position should be … a more thorough investigation of all questions and concerns need to be addressed to rule out foul play. Its an insult to common sense and logic that this was an accident.