Kendrick Johnson family questions video

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:20:29 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 07 2013 07:57:26 PM EST

VIDEO: The 17-year-old's body was found rolled up in a gym mat at his Valdosta high school back in January. This video does show those mats in the upper left corner, but you can't see any activity around them. The Johnsons and their attorney are demanding the full video be made public.

VALDOSTA, Ga. -

Missing time codes. Gaps. And a mysteriously blurry and out-of-position camera that should have been pointed right at the spot where authorities found the body of Georgia teenager Kendrick Johnson some 10 months ago.

These are the things the attorneys for Kendrick's family say they found when they reviewed surveillance images provided by authorities after a judge ruled they must be released.

For instance, in one image, a man seen walking away from the gym in what appears to be an image captured late at night suddenly disappears from a series of images shot by a motion-activated camera. Other images shot at other times capture people walking in that same location, attorney Chevene King said.

IMAGES: Lowndes County High School surveillance photos

In another example, King showed reporters images from a camera that he said should have shown the place where authorities say Kendrick fell into a gym mat and suffocated while trying to retrieve a sneaker. The image was blurry and out of position, he said.

While stopping short of directly accusing authorities of deliberately tampering with the evidence, King said problems with the surveillance are only the latest in a series of oddities that have drawn national attention to Kendrick's death. His bloody body was found rolled up in a gym mat at Lowndes High School on January 11.

A state medical examiner ruled his death accidental, despite evidence of a neck injury found in a second autopsy conducted by a pathologist hired by the family. His fingernails had been clipped, his clothes were missing and his organs had been removed and replaced by newspaper.

"We have had what I think is a series of events that causes you to raise the question, when does a coincidence stop being a coincidence," King told reporters Wednesday in Valdosta, Georgia.

King demanded that authorities hand over originals of the surveillance video showing time codes and other evidence that he said could show whether the materials had been tampered with.

"That's all we ever asked for was the truth about what happened to Kendrick Johnson, but every day we get lie after lie, lie after lie," Kendrick's mother, Jacquelyn Johnson, said.

Jim Elliott, an attorney for Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine, said that his client has confirmed the video had not been altered or edited by anyone within the sheriff's office. An attorney for the school likewise said that what was provided to the sheriff's office was the raw feed with no edits.

Kendrick's father, Kenneth Johnson, angrily demanded justice, calling authorities corrupt and vowing the family will not stop until they get answers to what happened to his son.

"The Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, the D.A.'s office, they convict people all the time inside this courthouse," he said. "Should they not be held responsible for the lies they are telling and for the corruption?"

The U.S. attorney's office in Macon, Georgia, opened an investigation into the case last week.

While warning his jurisdiction is limited as a federal prosecutor, Michael Moore, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said that after a lengthy review of evidence collected by authorities and the family's own investigator, "sufficient basis exists" to warrant a formal review of the facts.

Comments

The views expressed below are not those of News4Jax or its affiliated companies. By clicking on "Post," you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and your comment is in compliance with such terms. Readers, please help keep this discussion respectful and on topic by flagging comments that are offensive or inappropriate (hover over the commenter's name and you'll see the flag option appear on right side of that line). And remember, respect goes both ways: Tolerance of others' opinions is important in a free discourse. If you're easily offended by strong opinions, you might skip reading comments entirely.

blog comments powered by Disqus