VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) — Each weekday, the mother and father come to the same corner outside the county courthouse and spend hours camped out with cardboard signs. As cars stream past, some drivers wave and honk. Others occasionally shout jeers: “Go home!” or “Give it a rest!”
It’s been a year since Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson’s son was found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at his high school — the victim, investigators concluded, of a freak accident. Authorities determined 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson fell head-first while reaching for a shoe and was trapped. Almost a full day passed before his body was discovered.
The Johnsons, however, do not accept those findings. Their attorneys say authorities may have covered up evidence that someone killed the teenager. A grim post-mortem photo of his swollen, distorted face has been posted by the family on protest signs and websites to help rally support for reopening the investigation.
“My family won’t be satisfied until someone is behind bars and someone is convicted for what happened,” says Kenneth Johnson, pacing the sidewalk one Friday afternoon as his wife sat with her sister and mother. “Going over it with common sense, how can it be an accident?”
He’s not alone in wondering. Last month, about 200 people joined Johnson’s family outside the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta for a rally calling for answers. The gathering was billed as: “Who Killed K.J.?”