17-year-old Kendrick Johnson was found dead inside a wrestling mat at Lowndes High School in January of 2013. Four years later, his case was dismissed after legal paperwork deadlines weren’t met and the Department of Justice citing, “insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges”.
US District Court Judge W. Louis Sands dismissed the case because Kendrick’s parents, Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson, failed to serve defendants with their amended lawsuit in a judicious manner.
According to Judge Sands order, “The record is replete with evidence that Plaintiffs attempted to complete service in this action, but because of alleged noncompliance with the federal rules and other problems, they were unable to ever adequately do so.”
Johnson’s family filed a $100 million wrongful death suit in January of 2015, accusing defendants of conspiring to cover up the true cause of his death.
That lawsuit contained the names of 38 defendants, including several city and county officials, and former schoolmates Branden Bell, Brian Bell and their father, FBI Special Agent Rick Bell.
The Johnson’s later dismissed their civil action without prejudice, which allows them to refile the suit at a later date. According to a family spokesman the family plans to re-file their wrongful death suit as soon as the federal investigation is complete.
The Johnson’s maintain that their son was murdered, however, local investigators called it an accident.
In August 2016, Georgia Judge Richard Porter dismissed defendants from the suit for procedural reasons and ordered the Johnson’s to pay legal fees of several city and county officials named in the suit. Additionally, the Bell family filed a counter-suit against the Johnson’s.
This has been a back and fourth process between Johnson’s family, the defendants, judges and lawyers, however no justice has been served in the case of 17 year-old Kendrick Johnson.
WAOK will have the latest updates on this developing story.
- Julien Virgin is a staff writer at CBS radio