THE TIMES: Is there anything you would have done differently in handling the Kendrick Johnson case or presenting information to the public?
PRINE: “Certainly the coroner would be contacted immediately after the first deputies arrived at the school. This investigation was handled like all others in the past. The coroner was contacted once investigators had worked the surrounding scene and were prepared to make an examination of the deceased. The body of Kendrick Johnson was not touched or moved until the coroner arrived. Although not contacted by the Sheriff’s Office until investigators were prepared to examine the body, the coroner had knowledge that investigators were investigating a death at the high school.”
THE TIMES: Not counting CNN, have Kendrick Johnson’s family or their lawyers, especially in the last two months, contacted the Sheriff’s Office directly to request information?
PRINE: “During the investigation, investigators and I met with the Johnsons and provided them with the preliminary findings of the autopsy. Prior to the closing of the case, the Johnsons and their attorney met with investigators and requested a copy of the school surveillance video. Since the closing of the investigation, Kenneth Johnson has met with investigators and obtained items such as the shoes and the gray hooded sweatshirt, all of which were claimed as Kendrick Johnson’s personal property.”
THE TIMES: Georgia’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kris Sperry said in an interview over the weekend that he stakes his reputation on the accuracy of the findings of Kendrick Johnson’s state autopsy (which determined the death was accidental). Do you stand by your department’s investigation?
PRINE: “Absolutely I do. I am confident that the investigative staff at the Sheriff’s Office, the Valdosta Lowndes Regional Crime Lab, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted a complete and thorough investigation. The determination to close this case was not based on any one factor or bit of information but on a totality of the facts obtained through interviews, forensic testing, the crime scene investigation and the autopsy.”