Valdosta Daily Times

Kendrick Johnson

October 31, 2013

Sheriff Prine answers questions about KJ investigation


VALDOSTA — 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.”

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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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