Johnson family sentenced after obstruction trial - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Johnson family sentenced after obstruction trial

Attorney Chevene King Attorney Chevene King
Judge Mitchell Judge Mitchell
VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Members of the Kendrick Johnson family were found guilty Wednesday in a Valdosta court after they were on trial for obstruction.

Just before 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, the seven family members filed into the courtroom to hear the jury's verdict.

They were sentenced to a year in jail, which will be suspended, as long as they are not arrested again within the next year. Their defense attorney asked the judge, Mark Mitchell, to consider the "pain & suffering [the family] has endured since January 11th, 2013," when deciding the sentence.

All seven were found guilty of obstruction for blocking people from entering the Lowndes County Judicial Complex on April 25th, 2013. They were protesting what the family believed was a lack of truthful information being provided by the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office in the investigation into 17 year-old Kendrick Johnson's death.

"We're certainly disappointed at the jury's verdict," said Chevene King, the Johnson's attorney. "We had hoped that the jury would've understood that the Johnson family had no intentions other than to bring attention to the tragic death of Kendrick Johnson."

Kendrick Johnson's body was found in a rolled up gym mat in the Lowndes High School gym in January 2013. The family believes he was murdered, but the sheriff's office concluded that his death was an accident.

Johnson's mother, Jacquelyn Johnson, who was one of the seven on trial, had a message for the public after the trial Wednesday. "We did what we did for the sake of our son. We went to jail for my son and we're willing to die for my son," Jacquelyn Johnson emphasized.

Media was barred from the courtroom during jury selection on Monday. But Tuesday, the judge apologized, saying it was a miscommunication and that he was trying to instruct the sheriff's deputies in the courtroom to keep cameras out, not the media themselves.

The Johnson's attorney said after the trial Wednesday that the family was already considering appealing their sentences.

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