VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Kendrick Johnson’s family is full of hope after they brought a new recording to light — with a possible confession — to law enforcement.
The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office is currently working to authenticate the recording and the voice on it.
Family Spokesman Marcus Coleman and Jacquelyn Johnson, Kendrick’s mother, say they’re not cheering just yet. But, they say for the first time in eight years, they have hope for justice.
“It just took me back to when Kendrick was first killed. When I found out Kendrick was first killed. Like when you say ‘that shouldn’t have happened to Kendrick,’ you’re exactly right. It shouldn’t have happened to Kendrick. Kendrick was in school, one of the safest places your child can be in and my son lost his life but for what,” said Johnson.
The family said they believe it is a confession of the “killer.” Joined by Coleman, they presented the audio recording to Ashley Paulk, Lowndes County sheriff.
“Today we delivered what we have authenticated, make sure that is extremely clear. We have authenticated on our end a 25-second audio clip. What appears to be a Caucasian male admitting to killing Kendrick Johnson,” said Coleman.
Coleman said they authenticated the audio before presenting it to the sheriff, making sure it wasn’t fake.
The Johnson family spokesperson said the audio was recorded secretly and sold to the family, by who they describe as an “alleged family member,” for $1,000. And it was recorded last weekend.
“I quote ‘they are going to catch me anyway, I should’ve never done this. I was young and stupid. Kendrick didn’t deserve this man.’ A couple of seconds go by and he ends with a very tearful ‘they’re going to catch me anyways,’” Coleman said of the recording.
Paulk told WALB it’s a great feeling having the new evidence but hopes someone is not playing a cruel joke on the family.
The sheriff said verifying the voice and authenticating the recording is “doable,” — and they have equipment that will help.
Paulk said he’ll be asking the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for help as well.
Paulk said the sheriff’s office already questioned two people since the reopening of the case.
“Well sometimes, something like that will drive people out. Even bad people have consciousness,” said Paulk.
The family believes — and Paulk confirmed — the recording may possibly be of someone already questioned in the investigation.
“Anytime you know something in your heart, continue to push, don’t ever let nobody stop you from fighting for your child because your child matters. No matter how the people try to make your child the villain, your child is still the victim,” Jacquelyn said.
Paulk and his team are currently investigating the recording and verifying the voice.
The audio will not be released at the moment.
Here’s a copy of the transcript of the recording: