Press-Republican

Z_CNHI News Service

September 4, 2013

Pathologist doubts teen's death was an accident

VALDOSTA, Ga. — A pathologist says a teenager died from "unexplained, apparent non-accidental, blunt force trauma," before his body was discovered in a high school gymnasium last winter, casting doubt on the official ruling that his bizarre death was an accident.

Kendrick Lamar Johnson, known was "KJ," was found dead Jan. 11 in an old gymnasium at Lowndes High School. The 17-year-old boy's body was suspended upside down, wedged inside a roll of gym mats.

An Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy found Johnson's death to be an accident - a conclusion supported by local officials. But on Tuesday, Dr. William R. Anderson of Ocala, Fla., confirmed he performed a second exam that raises "issues of concern."

Johnson's family and their supporters hired Anderson to review the case. In June, they won a court order to exhume Johnson's body for a second autopsy.

Though Anderson's report has not been made public - and Anderson would not reveal specifics - Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson confirmed its finding about the teen's death.

Even so, Watson said he stands by the initial ruling that Johnson died from asphyxiation caused by being suspended upside down. The sheriff's office said it also stands by its initial investigation.

Officials say Johnson was alone in the gym and probably reached for a loose shoe when he fell, then became trapped in a rolled-up mat.

His family never accepted that story and has staged public demonstrations calling for a new investigation. They say a photo of the boy's body after it was found, showing his head and face swollen, is evidence he was murdered.

They've asked the U.S. Justice Department to intervene; CNN reported Tuesday that U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore is reviewing the case.

The family's pleas have attracted widespread attention, including from the Rev. Al Sharpton, who visited Valdosta to support their cause.

Johnson's relatives who were protesting in downtown Valdosta on Tuesday declined to comment on the pathologist's report.

Details for this story were reported by the Valdosta Daily Times.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 4.49.09 PM.png Train, entertain your pets with these 3 smartphone apps

    While they may not have thumbs to use the phone, pets can benefit from smartphone apps designed specifically for them.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp file Hoffner Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    The president of Minnesota State University-Mankato accused a football coach of looking at Internet porn on a work computer before firing him, an arbitrator has revealed. The official said the claim could not be supported, and the coach shouldn't have been fired.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo