Kendrick Johnson’s family plans rally at GA Capitol

By Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Elizabeth Berry, Evening assignment manager, beth@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:37:18 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 11 2013 06:35:41 AM EST

Family and supporters of a Georgia teen are taking their case to the steps of the state capitol: what's next in their fight for justice for Kendrick Johnson.

VALDOSTA, Ga. -

Nearly a year ago, 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson was found dead inside a rolled up gym mat at his Lowndes County High School. A first autopsy determined Johnson’s death was an accident, but the family hired a medical examiner to perform a second autopsy, and that doctor determined Johnson suffered non-accidental blunt force trauma to his neck.

“It just doesn't make any sense, and we want a full and thorough investigation of everything,” said Kendrick’s father, Kenneth Johnson.

Wednesday, the family and their lawyer, Benjamin Crump, plan to rally for Justice in Atlanta on the steps of Georgia State Capitol.

“We are asking the governor and the leaders of the state of Florida to help get justice, to help the get the answers, to help them get the truth,” said Crump.

Kendrick's family believes there are too many inconsistencies surrounding his death. The family wants to know why some of Kendrick’s body parts were missing after the initial autopsy, and they are asking state leaders in Georgia to investigate the funeral director who handled the body.

In the latest fight to get answers, Kendrick’s parents, Kenneth and Jacqueline, filed a complaint against Harrington Funeral Home with the Georgia State Board of Funeral Service.

The Johnson's said they were never advised by the funeral home's director, Antonio Harrington, that Kendrick's vital organ's were missing after the funeral home received his body from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab.

The complaint, filed Tuesday, says that the GBI placed the 17-year-old's organs back into his body once his initial autopsy was completed.

“We were thinking that we buried our son, but we only buried half of our son. When is the coincidence going to stop? His fingers going missing, his clothes go missing, all of his internal organs go missing. From the top of his head, down to his pelvis,” said Kenneth.

The Johnson's also accuse the funeral home of removing and destroying the organs as part of a cover-up to hide how Johnson died.

“We believe that solving this mystery will help us solve the ultimate mystery,” said Crump.

It’s a mystery and uncertainty around their son’s death that the Johnsons say they live with every day, and they are determined to get answers.  

“My heart grieves every day for my son," Jacqueline said. "Tomorrow makes 11 months that my son has been murdered. We've had no answers from day one to now. We're asking the governor to help us to get justice."

The rally in Atlanta starts at 11 a.m. High profile civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King, III will be in attendance. The U.S. Attorney’s office is still reviewing the case, which could take up to two years to complete.

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