The parents of Kendrick Johnson have dropped a wrongful death lawsuit against the son of an FBI agent they believe was involved in their son’s death, but plan to return to the case, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Jacquelyn and Kenneth Johnson took legal action against the state of Georgia after their 17-year-old son was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at Valdosta’s Lowndes High School in January 2013. Investigators concluded he became trapped in the mat while reaching for a pair of sneakers, says the report. His death gained national attention, involving the Johnson family’s claims classmate Brian Bell, the son of an FBI agent, was involved.
Bell and his brother were named accomplices in the family’s $100 million wrongful death suit.
A companion suit, alleging a massive cover-up by state and local law enforcement, school officials and the state medical examiner’s office to protect Brian Bell and his accomplices, was also withdrawn Tuesday, according to the Journal-Constitution.
In February, attorneys for the Bell family claimed the Johnsons didn’t present any credible evidence linking Bell or his older brother to the death.
Marcus Coleman, spokesman for Kendrick’s parents, believes the family will return to the case in the near future with a different approach:
“I do believe the Johnsons will revisit the matter,” Coleman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We did not want the civil matter to be the primary focus.”
The Justice Department’s investigation is reportedly close to wrapping up. Coleman believes the family will decide to refile at that time. So far, the investigation has shown that while Johnson was in the old gymnasium, Brian Bell was on the other side of campus. His brother Branden was with teammates and his wrestling coach en route to a tournament.
The Bell family countersued the Johnsons in March 2015 for libel and slander and has no plans to drop their suit. The family is seeking $1 million in damages.
SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Consitution | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform