The parents of Kendrick Johnson (pictured), a south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at school, have filed a $100 million lawsuit against elected officials and law enforcement officials, alleging that a local FBI agent encouraged his sons—who were schoolmates of the victim—to “violently assault” the teen, CBS News reports.
The lawsuit, filed last week on Monday in DeKalb County Superior Court on behalf of Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson of Valdosta, Ga., names 38 defendants, including the local FBI agent, his two sons, and another schoolmate of Johnson, the report says. Additionally, the family alleges in the suit that other officials conspired to cover up their 17-year-old son’s murder, including workers with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Valdosta Police Department, the city of Valdosta, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department, and the Lowndes County School District, the report says:
The latest suit alleges the local FBI agent “encouraged” his two sons to attack Johnson with the help of another schoolmate and an unnamed John Doe and Jane Doe. The lawsuit says the Jane Doe “induced” Johnson to enter the gymnasium where he was then met by the two brothers and another student who fatally beat Johnson and then placed him in the gym mat.
“The evidence that we have, we feel very confident it will prove exactly what we have alleged,” Chevene King, an attorney for the Johnson family, told the Associated Press, while declining to describe exactly what that evidence is. “What we found impossible to believe was the (authorities’) explanation for his death.”
Brice Ladson, an attorney for the FBI agent and the agent’s sons, called the lawsuit “frivolous,” according to AP.
The suit comes on the heels of a wrongful death suit filed by the family over the summer against local school administrators. Classmates found Johnson’s body in the middle of a mat propped upright against the wall of their high school gym Jan. 11, 2013, NewsOne reported earlier.
Sheriff’s investigators concluded that the teenager died in a freak accident, having become stuck upside down in the center of the mat while trying to retrieve a gym shoe. But his parents have long insisted somebody killed him.
CBS News reports:
Johnson’s family, however, insisted there was foul play involved and had their son’s body exhumed for a second autopsy. It was then that a private pathologist concluded the teen died of blunt force trauma to the neck and said his organs were missing and the teen’s body had been stuffed with newspaper.
Since then, Johnson’s family and their attorneys have zeroed in on two brothers – the sons of the local FBI agent – who the family contends were on campus when Johnson was last seen alive, and who they say had motive to harm their son since one of the brothers had previously been in a fight with Johnson on a school bus about a year before his death.
The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department has stood by its finding that Johnson’s death was accidental and maintains at least one of the brothers was not on campus when Johnson was last seen alive, and the other was in another part of the building. No charges have been brought in the case.
Stay tuned as the plot thickens.