Bell family refiles $5 million defamation suit against Ebony Magazine for KJ articles

| February 18, 2016
Source: Family Photo

Source: Family Photo

VALDOSTA – Rick and Karen Bell have refiled their $5 million dollar lawsuit against the publisher of Ebony magazine for alleged libelous and slanderous statements about their sons in articles covering the Kendrick Johnson case.

The refiled suit is nearly identical to one the parents dropped in September. The defamation suit was refiled Tuesday in the Middle District of Georgia and claims Johnson Publishing Company acted negligently when it published a series of articles written by “true crime” author Fred Rosen between August 12, 2013 and April 9, 2014.

The articles claimed Kendrick Johnson, whose body was found at Lowndes High School in January 2013, was murdered. Johnson’s body was found upside down in a vertically-stored athletic in the school’s old gym. A state autopsy ruled the 17-year-old’s death accidental. The Johnson family insists their son died of foul play.

Rosen used the pseudonyms Chris and Clark Martin to name the sons of a Valdosta FBI agent as possible suspects in a November 19, 2013 article. The Bells claim in their suit that, despite the pseudonyms, it was obvious the article was referring to their sons, who were then threatened with “bodily harm and ostracized” by students at LHS and received threats through social media.

The Bells’ suit claims Johnson Publishing and Rosen made no effort to verify the brothers’ alibis before the articles were published.

The Bells are seeking at least three million dollars in compensatory damages for the alleged libelous statements made in the series of articles. The suit also seeks at least one million dollars for alleged slanderous statements Rosen made during media interviews. The Bells are also seeking one million dollars in punitive damages, alleging Johnson Publishing and Rosen falsely accused them of a conspiracy to cover up a murder.


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19 Comments on "Bell family refiles $5 million defamation suit against Ebony Magazine for KJ articles"

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  1. whitesavage says:

    Why don’t both of these families just go away we want our city back

    • Me says:

      It should be you instead of these families

    • ValerieNoFux (@OPFergVal) says:

      Why don’t you write a letter to whichever US Attorney is currently in possession of the case and tell them you are sick of it.

      By the way, the Bells left your town a long time if you could just get rid of that pesky Johnson bunch.

  2. Robert says:

    Really?? This family has a legit case, but not for $5 million. That is just being greedy. Money brings out the worse in people. Neither family at this point cares about what really happened, but rather how they can make the most money and fame out of it all.

  3. whitesavage says:

    Right after you are gone peanut, man,man, dog, jon,jon junebug,or whatever other stupid names you call yourselves these days

  4. Leigh Touchton says:

    The Bells and Eakins have been falsely accused of murder, they have been harassed for 3 years. There have been over 200 death threats, stalking, prowling, rape threats, and their homes were invaded by U.S. marshals all as a result of being falsely accused.

    Rosen was hired by Ebony for a series of six publications that detailed the Bell and Eakin children such that there was no question as to their identity, furthermore, various murder hoax supporters publicly identified these families in the commentary that was never moderated.

    For a national publication to pay a writer (whose previous claim to “fame” was writing for Hustler and trying to ascertain crime scene photographs of a nude, dismembered, murder victim) not once, but six times, and never vet his sources or fact check his publications is beyond the pale of journalistic integrity.

    The Bells and Eakins deserve every penny. National magazines have a duty to report the truth. In my opinion they proceeded with malicious disregard for truth and an appalling lack of human decency.

    • Dev says:

      I agree. Plus any lawsuit like this expects to settle for lower so they start higher. Been done that way for years.

  5. BLACKSHEEP says:

    Thank you Leigh I just won 10 bucks from a co-worker because I told them that whenever there is a story about the Johnsons you would somehow have something to say and before I would pay any of them a dime I would plead the TRUMP and file for bankruptcy

    • Leigh Touchton says:

      Your co-worker must not be well informed.

      The Johnson’s attorney asked me to get involved and I bet he regrets it.

      Incidentally, Fred Rosen interviewed me and I told him point blank this was a murder hoax. He chose to believe high school rumors and people like you.

  6. BLACKSHEEP says:

    No but I have noticed every time a story is posted about the Johnson family is on this site you always comment so predictable and petty but thanks for lunch

  7. BACKSHEEP says:

    And what do you mean people like me I have not said anything about the story only that you always comment on the Johnson family articles so people like me see that people like you don’t know when to stop trying to make the story about yourself just like Dexter so go to bed your services are no longer needed

  8. I says:

    They should sue Ebony Magazine for enough money to put them out of business!

    • dixie&trixie says:

      I would file for bankruptcy before I would pay 1 single cent and then open up in a different name you know like they used in the article

  9. John Taylor says:

    The Bells are no different than the Johnsons at this point.

    Only out to get $$$

    • Shane says:

      Really? Because the Bells have actually been damaged by the Johnsons and their proxies, including that snake Rosen and the magazine that paid him for his swill, while the Johnson suffered a loss due to the poor decision making skills of their own son. To compare the two is foolhardy and just plain wrong. The Bells did nothing to the Johnsons while the Johnsons sought to destroy the Bells…and you think it makes the Bells equivalent to the Johnsons simply because they are calling on Ebony and Fred Rosen to account for their defamation. SMH

  10. As Ms Touchton has actually investigated in depth under the SCLC and been behind the scenes for most of it, her opinion is always welcomed by me. The guy who bet that she would speak up basically found someone dumber than he to take the bet that the sun would not rise tomorrow. He is to be commended for finding someone that dumb as there are few out there who meet the description.

    The Bells did nothing other than be falsely accused and then brutally treated. I hope that this is just the beginning. There are many in the online lynch mob who also need to pay a price. Online harassment is a national problem. The more that bullies are either bankrupted or jailed, the better.

  11. Georgia Girl says:

    I for one want the government held accountable for their actions! This has cost untold tax dollars and for nothing! This is a hoax that has completely run amuck. This should be concerning to all citizens, as even you could be accused of wrong doing while innocent of any crime and have your life completely turned upside down for nothing but one family’s jealously, and.desire for fame and fortune. Be careful my friends, you or someone you love could be next!

  12. BLACKSHEEP says:

    So Merrill Guice talks about online bullies while name calling such a classy guy but you need to remember remember nobody’s untouchable that’s my motto by the way lose the hat and glasses you look like a perv