Kendrick Johnson’s parents file civil complaint asking for jury trial

The Johnsons are requesting a jury trial, as the Kendrick Johnson case has never been presented in court.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:59 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WALB) - A new civil complaint has been filed by the parents of Kendrick Johnson, the Lowndes County teen whose body was discovered inside a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes High School almost 11 years ago.

This complaint is the family’s first legal response to the investigation synopsis issued by Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk in 2022. At that time, Paulk officially closed the case.

The conclusion stated that Kendrick Johnson died of positional asphyxiation after falling headfirst into a vertical gym mat. But Kendrick’s parents never believed that theory. They have always believed their son was murdered.

“It’s painful, it’s hurtful and it’s a shame that we have had to fight for 10 and a half long years, and nobody seems to care about Kendrick,” Jackie Johnson, the mother of Kendrick Johnson, said. “But like I always tell them, they killed the wrong child, but they got the right parents because we’re going to continue to fight for Kendrick.”

These are some of the allegations stated in the complaint.

  • “The defendants denied the Plaintiffs their rights to a timely and accurate death certificate for their minor son KJ, a statutory mandate under the Georgia Code...”
  • It also alleges that a “reasonable person” could conclude that (Sheriff Paulk) and the GBI collaborated and agreed to
  • And it says, ”Sheriff (Paulk) colluded with (the) GBI’s implausible positional asphyxiation cause of death for KJ using fictitious diagrams based on (a) manufactured theory.”

Kendrick’s parents spoke with reporters outside the federal courthouse in Atlanta on Tuesday.

“They pulled his shirt up just to take this photo. So why would they come back and say there were no bruises on Kendrick’s body or face? And this is one of many other photos that we have that came out of their investigation,” Kenneth Johnson, the father of Kendrick Johnson, said.

The Johnsons are requesting a jury trial, as the Kendrick Johnson case has never been presented in court. They’re also seeking $500 million in compensatory damages and another $500 million in punitive damages.

Read the full complaint:

See more coverage of Kendrick Johnson from WALB

The Kendrick Johnson Case: A timeline of events in the case

10 years later: Where the Kendrick Johnson case stands today

Full Interview: Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk talks 10 years of the Kendrick Johnson case

Full Interview: Jackie Johnson talks 10 years later after losing her son, Kendrick Johnson