Bell family responds to DOJ announcement in KJ case

| June 20, 2016

kendrick johnson

VALDOSTA – On Monday, the Department of Justice announced that no charges would be brought as the result of the federal investigation into the death of Lowndes High School student Kendrick Johnson, and a family who has been the target of rumor and speculation in the case issued a statement calling the announcement “overdue.”

Johnson’s body was found upside down in a vertically-stored gym mat at Lowndes High School in January 2013. A state autopsy ruled the 17-year-old’s death accidental, theorizing that he became trapped in the mat while reaching for a pair of shoes. The Johnson family have insisted their son died of foul play.

The bizarre death has been investigated by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Lab, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshal Service and the Department of Justice.

On Monday, a DOJ statement indicated their was “insufficient evidence” to warrant federal charges and that the nearly three-year investigation into Johnson’s death had come to a close.

The family of FBI agent Rick Bell issued a statement following the DOJ’s announcement. Bell, his two sons and 35 state and local officials were accused in a $100 million civil suit filed by Johnson’s parents of either directly causing or covering up the cause of their son’s death. The suit was later dropped.

“We welcome the long overdue and expected closing of the DOJ/grand jury investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson. As we have stated from the beginning, our sons had no involvement in Johnson’s tragic death,” stated the release from the Bell family.

Widespread suspicion fell on the Bell brothers following the publication of articles on written by “true crime” author Frederick Rosen. The articles used psuedonyms but pointed to the Bell brothers and accused the two of conspiring to kill Johnson.

The Bells have since filed a $5 milllion defamation suit against Frederick Rosen and Johnson Publishing, which owns Ebony Magazine.

“We look forward to vindicating our reputations in the defamation lawsuits we have filed against Johnson Publishing (Ebony Magazine) which published defamatory stories by Fred Rosen and which played a major role in bringing about this DOJ investigation,” stated the Bell family’s release.

Next month, the lawyer’s representing the Bells will be joined in court by other former defendants in the $100 million civil suit filed by Johnson’s parents. The defendants are seeking nearly $900,000 in lawyers’ fees from the Johnsons.




Morning News Briefs for 6-21-16
KJ case closed; family to meet with federal prosecutors
Filed in: Local News, News

26 Comments on "Bell family responds to DOJ announcement in KJ case"

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  1. Beth says:

    It’s about time the DOJ close the witch hunt of an innocent family based on the false accusations of the Johnson family and their attorney, Chevene King. The Johnsons will end up paying for their false allegations. I’m sorry their son died but that never gives anyone the right to falsely accuse innocent kids and trying to ruin other people’s lives. Shame on them

    • Child of Yahweh says:

      To Beth, the death of Kendrick Johnson brought about a lot of darkness and ugliness of Valdosta,GA. It continues to this day. Circumstances surrounding the case do however make the Bells seem very guilty. Their father is a FBI agent for one so if he wanted to manipulate anything he could very well have done so and then how the tapes were tampered with and how one of the Bell boys were last seen in the gym right when Kendrick died,the racist attitude of Lowdnes County sheriff and the many racist people supporting them.Anyone who doesn’t feel the frustration of a mother losing her child rather black or white is nothing but a demonic minion. When this tragedy first happened I, myself was very upset as well as every African American here in Southwest Georgia. This will not go on for long. The injustice and discrimination we receive day in and day out here in South Georgia. THose who ignore the fact that there is racism here are ignorant and blind to the fact that bigots still exist. Justice should be brought for this family and Beth, I assume you’re a mother should recognize a mothers frustration if you don’t GOD be with you. I really pray for the Johnson family and stay strong you will get your justice and those who have covered up the murder and those who are supporting such evil actions there is a GOD who will see to it that they will bow down. This racism will not last long in South Georgia nor will the people who support them. I apologize in advance if I step on some toes but as a child of GOD I do not and will not support the Justice Department decision nor will I support the Bell family lawsuit their actions are not godly.

      • KH says:

        It has been proven that the Bell boys were no where near the gym at the time of KJs death.

      • demonic minion says:

        You are delusional.

      • Child of Yahweh uh.I want ignore the fact that there is racism here as you say,But the racism comes seems to come from the Johnson side when they cannot show one single speck of evidence.Now that said you need to ask God to forgive you if you are a child of Yahweh.

      • Kristin says:

        child of yahweh it is hard to believe you are a child of god. Apparently you are not familiar with Thou shalt not bear false witness. Although this has been determined as an accidental death we may never know. However, what we can be assured of is the Bell brothers and the father were in no way responsible for the death of Kendrick, too many videotapes and eyewitness accounts establish this. A conspiracy to cover up anything is ridiculous, too many people would have to be involved.There is an old saying 3 men can keep a secret if 2 of them are dead. Why hasn’t anyone thought about his other friends being responsible? You are right because there is racism everywhere but it goes both ways.A friend of mine has extensive experience with these types of mats, his theory is that the kid may have gotten “punked” by friends and it ended in tragedy. It is also possible he did get stuck, mat 6 feet long, KJ 5’10” so yes he would fit. He could have had a panic attack in close quarters, a black journalist tested the scenario out and became stuck in the mat and began to panic( he had people there to help him get out). The Johnson’s have lied to people, misused money( a reward fund they were supposed to set up was never set up) When questioned they have stated they have no evidence against anyone. This is not uncharitable but ungodly behavior as well. Some people believe the photos of him post mortem indicate foul play. These photos were taken post autopsy. ANYONE looks like hell after an autopsy. Get your facts straight child.

      • If you were a child of Yahweh you would not be racist.

    • Jade says:

      Everyone doesn’t tell the same lie . what’s dome in the dark always has a way of coming to the light . whether or not anyone gets federal chargers for his MURDER , they’ll suffer the consequences of their action in another way . God see’s everything , & they shall go a long long time without any peace .

    • Sherry says:

      AMEN Beth! The Bell family has gone through pure hell and heartache for the past 3 1/2 yrs. All because of the Johnson’s and their spreading of lies and hunger for money. Don’t believe everything you read on social media people. If you want to know the real truth go to the 600 plus pages on the case. Its public record! You have no business to judge when you don’t know the real truth. You don’t know the circumstances unless you read the case. Their father happens to a highly respected FBI agent that has been recognized and honored! You should be ashamed making comments on him or the case if you have never read it. Sounds as though Child of Yahweh you haven’t!

  2. Below air says:

    Good. I hope they sue the hell out of the Johnsons and whoever else played a role in accusing the bells. What goes around comes around.

  3. Gloria says:

    I still can’t imagine how he became trapped in the mat while reaching for a pair of shoes. It just doesn’t make sense, this was a young man not some small child or baby. Praying for the Johnson Family, I’m sure this was a great loss and to know your child better than anyone, I can only imagine the suspicion you feel surrounding his death. God Bless

  4. Rex Reed says:

    That’s a nice picture of the Bell Family.

  5. Steve says:

    Hats off to our local law enforcement. It took them only 3 weeks to come to the same conclusion that took DOJ 3 YEARS!

    • JimmyJ says:

      That’s the gov for ya. They can spend 100 million on investigating why a certain turd won’t float. They waste so much tax payers money especially in this case when there was no probable cause , no murder, no hate crime to begin with yet they wasted 3 years doing so. Kudos to LCSO and GBI for getting it right!

  6. Jerry says:

    I am so tired of some folks hollering racism when things don’t go there way. I do think the whole thing is very tragic but what concerns me is the fact that you have the United States Attorney in charge of the DOJ who is a black woman and the decision was made based on proof that no charges will be filed and now its all a racial. When are we going to move past this “buzz word” of racism and get on with our lives. As a black man, in my entire life, I believe in God, got an education, worked hard, obeyed the law and I have lived a great life. I have not been oppressed by anyone. It is very easy to blame the other person and “the system” when you choose not to live the life of an honest hard working person. I wish I could change the tragic accident of the young fellas life, I am sure he had a lot to look forward to. I also wish I could change the mentality of so many. My two cents worth.

  7. Edyphe says:

    As a black woman living in this community, I know of the Johnson family and I am ashamed at the actions of Jackie and Kenneth Johnson. They were told their son died of an accident, they were shown the evidence by 3 agencies back in 2013 but they refused to believe it. Then they dug their son up, hired a pathologist who would go along with their wishes. But their own pathologist even stated that he wasn’t beaten. Yet they hold up a picture of their dead son claiming his face was beaten. How as a mother can you hold up a sign of your son for 3 years a claim a lie. I am ashamed of this mother. She has falsely accused other innocent children of murder. She has created lies on her many facebook accounts. She quit her job and runs a gofundme account for money. Yet post pictures of herself carrying Michael Kors purses and traveling all over. It seems as if she has found her claim to fame. Using her dead son as a paycheck to collect money to fund her purses and trips. What about posting a reward for your son? oh, I forgot….a local business man did that and no one ever came forward to claim the money. How about starting a scholarship in KJ name? How about doing something good for your child instead of ranting and raving how you gone get justice sitting at the courthouse everyday. Personally, I think her hatred has crossed the line to pure evil and craziness. She post about God but God is not hate and he don’t like hateful people. If you truly believed in a God, you would stop all this hate speech and do something good for your child instead of dragging his name in the mud.

  8. Shirley says:

    Well, one thing for sure, racism or not, justice to Kj will come and at what price to whom! The Lord God saw everything,everything!!!!! The good book tells me, You will reap what you sow! People continue to look at things from a black or white issue, God will have the last say so. Pick up the Bible and read sometimes.

  9. williams28k says:

    Well if nothing else this proves people in this town really care about there tax money I hope this never happens to your child. Sadly we will never know what really happened but I will say LHS is not a safe place when a child can die in the middle of the school day and nobody really knows how. All of the race talk and anger over money does not change the fact he was at school and died. And nobody seems to think that is crazy over 3000 students and we still really DONT KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Robert says:

    It’s an Obama cover up since he controls government and its’ agencies. Guess the DOJ was paid to turn the other way. This family deserves to lose $900k for defamation.