Valdosta Daily Times

Kendrick Johnson

January 22, 2014

No response to KJ reward

VALDOSTA — A local civil rights leader returned reward money to its donor Tuesday after it failed to yield any significant information pertaining to the death of Kendrick Johnson.

The Rev. Floyd Rose of Serenity Church held a press conference in which he announced that a $10,000 check would be returned to Roy E. Taylor, the Valdosta businessman who anonymously offered the award in October. Taylor asked Rose to coordinate the effort and stipulated that the reward would only be offered for a 90-day period which expired Sunday.

The intent of the reward, Rose said, was to encourage anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of those who might be responsible for Johnson's death. Johnson's body was found upside down inside of a rolled-up wrestling mat in the old gym at Lowndes High School in January 2013.

Rose said any information given to him as a result of the reward would have been shared with U.S. District Attorney Michael Moore and Johnson family attorney Chevene King, but he did not receive “a single piece of credible information.”

Johnson's parents have maintained their belief that their son was murdered, but official findings from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that the 17-year-old Johnson died from positional asphyxia after crawling down into a vertically stored wrestling mat and getting stuck while trying to retrieve a shoe.

Rose said Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father, called him before the reward was announced and angrily objected. Rose also provided a letter he sent to King in October in which he expressed confusion to why Kenneth Johnson would object because the reward could “lead to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for his son’s death.”

“I can’t understand why Mr. Johnson was so angry and adamant in not wanting me to offer the reward,” said Rose.

Rose also stated in the letter that he did not tell reporters at the time that Kenneth Johnson did not want the reward because of conclusions that people might draw.

“The conclusion would have been, as you know, that the family wanted to drag this matter out so they can raise money,” stated Rose.

During the press conference, Rose reiterated his position that all evidence points to Kendrick Johnson's death as a tragic accident and that claims of a cover-up to protect a murderer are implausible.

“A lot of people believe that he was murdered because it’s South Georgia not because of the facts,” said Rose. “A cover-up has to be methodically planned. Who would have the motivation? Everyone would have to be in on the conspiracy. Who would risk everything they have for that?”

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Kendrick Johnson
  • KJ’s parents claim racial bullying in lawsuit

    The parents of Kendrick Johnson have sued the Lowndes County School System, claiming officials neglected to protect their son from racial harassment and bullying that they said led to his death.

    May 15, 2014

  • Anonymous email in KJ case based on rumor, says author

    The teenage girl who authored an anonymous email claiming someone had confessed to murdering Kendrick Johnson says it was strictly a rumor that she felt conscience-bound to share with the sheriff’s office.

    March 27, 2014

  • keyboard.jpg Authorities: Confession in KJ case not credible

    An anonymous email claiming a former classmate of Kendrick Johnson had confessed to killing him was investigated and determined not to be credible, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • social.jpg Mom says sons harassed, threatened in KJ case

    Karen Bell has had it with the rumor-mongering about her family’s connection to the death of Kendrick Johnson on social networking sites like YouTube,  Twitter and Facebook.

    February 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnsons file civil suit against funeral home

    Kendrick Johnson’s parents have filed a civil lawsuit against the Harrington Funeral Home, claiming it negligently handled their son’s remains and deliberately withheld information about the condition of his body.

    February 6, 2014

  • 140121-Floyd_Rose001.jpg No response to KJ reward

    A local civil rights leader returned reward money to its donor Tuesday after it failed to yield any significant information pertaining to the death of Kendrick Johnson.

    January 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • State capitol rally today for new KJ probe

    A three-hour rally for a new investigation into the disputed death of Lowndes High student Kendrick Johnson 11 months ago is planned today on the front steps of the Georgia Capitol building.

    December 11, 2013

  • Kendrick_Johnson.jpg Where was Kendrick?

    About this series
    This is the third of four stories by the Valdosta Daily Times reviewing the official police file on the investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson. Today’s report is about the confusion surrounding Kendrick’s whereabouts the day before his body was found, explains police handling of a report that a person was attacked and falsely accused of killing Kendrick, and tells about the dissatisfaction of Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson with how authorities handled the immediate investigation.

    November 23, 2013 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • kendrick-johnson.jpg Finding Kendrick

    The Times continues its in-depth look at the investigative case file into the January death of Kendrick Johnson at Lowndes High School.

    November 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • kendrick-johnson.jpg Kendrick’s Final Walk

    A review of Lowndes High School video footage shows more than the moments Kendrick Johnson entered the old gymnasium where his body was discovered Jan. 11 in a rolled wrestling mat.

    November 21, 2013 1 Photo

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