Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 21, 2014

Authorities: Confession in KJ case not credible

VALDOSTA — 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.

Sheriff’s Lt. Stryde Jones said the unidentified sender of the Jan. 27 email reported a friend had overheard a person say that her boyfriend had murdered Johnson, and that authorities should know that information.

Johnson, 17, was found lifeless in a rolled-up athletic mat in the Lowndes High School’s old gym 14 months ago. The sheriff’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation ruled the death a freak accident that occurred when Johnson became trapped upside down for several hours in the vertical mat while trying to retrieve a pair of athletic shoes. Johnson’s parents, however, contend he was the victim of foul play, possibly murder. A federal grand jury, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Macon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are reviewing the case.

Jones said sheriff’s investigators interviewed two of the four individuals mentioned in the anonymous email and determined it was unlikely a confession had occurred. Jones said among other details that didn’t add up was the determination that none of the individuals had attended the party at which the confession supposedly was overheard.

The email investigation included identifying the anonymous email author through a district attorney’s subpoena to the sender’s Internet service provider, Mediacom Communications company. Authorities then interviewed the individual, along with three teenage friends.

“We identified the (email) source as a juvenile who attends Lowndes High School,” said Jones. “Everything the kids heard was rumor and speculation on the part of other people. We found no credible information to support the statements made in the email.”

Jones said the email sender did not claim to have witnessed anyone confessing to killing Johnson or having knowledge of possible foul play in his death.

“We received a tip, and we immediately started

interviewing,” said Jones. “We didn’t find anything at that point to determine that the information was credible.”

Jones said it was determined the anonymous email was sent in “good faith” and that the author, who is a juvenile, will not face charges of making a false statement to law enforcement.

“We did not feel that the sender had any ill intent and was just passing on what had been heard,” said Jones.

The sheriff’s office continues investigating the tip.

The statement by the sheriff’s office was made in response to a CNN report Wednesday reporting it had obtained the email and a subpoena through a public records request, and local officials were investigating a possible confession.

Johnson’s strange death has triggered several Internet rumors and widespread speculation as to possible foul play since it occurred more than a year ago. At one point, a $10,000 reward was offered through the Rev. Floyd Rose, a longtime local civil rights activist, for evidence that would contradict the official finding of an accidental death. Rose withdrew the offer when nothing turned up after several months.

Text Only
Local News
  • 072514-MoodyComp007.jpg Moody AFB crews race in load competition

    Moody Air Force Base hosted a weapons load competition Friday morning, a maintenance group tradition in which two 23d Maintenance Group A-10 munition load crews raced against the clock to load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • thumbs up.jpeg Moody squadron commander reaches milestone

    The 75th Fighter Squadron commander hit a career milestone July 17, by surpassing 3,000 flight hours in an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • water.jpg New equipment expected to deal with Lowndes water violations

    The Lowndes County Commission’s recent approval of $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment is expected to counter a past series of water-quality violations within the county.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 142314-Goodwill.jpg Goodwill hosts the Mexican Consulate

    Mexican citizens living in South Georgia have spent this week lining up at the Valdosta Goodwill to meet with the Mexican Consulate to obtain Mexican government issued identification.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723-Tree001.jpg Chamber plants 100th centennial tree

    Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results