According to WCTV, Chevene B. King Jr., the lawyer for Kendrick Johnson‘s family has brought up key evidence on two brothers, one who is on the Lowndes High School wrestling team and their connection to the late teen. King believes the teens had something to do with the death of Kendrick Johnson.
Kendrick Johnson was found dead rolled up in a gym mat in January 2013. Speculation has surrounded the teen’s death after officials claim it was an accident while his parents insist foul play was involved.
The teenagers in question are now 18-year-old Brandon Bell and his younger brother, whose name hasn’t been released due to his age. Their father, FBI agent Rick Bell, instructed them not to talk to the police. On the day of the Kendrick’s disappearance, the younger Bell brother was in attendance at the high school while Brandon was able to leave early for a varsity wrestling game.
At a news conference Tuesday, Jackie and Kenneth Johnson pleaded with the families from the 25 students who were on the wrestling team to speak out in light of the new information presented. They also spoke out with King about key details surrounding the new persons of interest. King is asking for high school officials to confirm the time Brandon and the rest of the team reached Macon, Georgia for their wrestling match since there is a suspected time lapse on when the teens reached the match and when Kendrick went missing. King believes the students left for the wrestling match around 4 p.m., instead of 1 p.m. like the team has insisted in the past.
Surveillance video released shows Brandon walking in and out of the school’s gym where Kendrick would be found dead. Another video also shows Kendrick hours before his death waiting in line for lunch. Reports have confirmed that the a member of the wrestling team was ahead of Kendrick in line. Another teen is seen brushing Kendrick but his identify hasn’t been confirmed.
Lowndes County Sheriff Lt. Stryde Jones talked to reporters earlier this year and debunked the rumors that the brothers had anything to do with Kendrick’s murder. Phone records also showed that the wrestling coach was in Cordele, Georgia around 1:53 p.m. Johnson was last seen entering the gym at 1:09 p.m. on the day of his disappearance. It was also confirmed that the teen was weighed in at the tournament but it doesn’t list the time.
Lowndes County Sheriff Lt. Stryde Jones told the Valdosta Times earlier this year that the brothers were never considered suspects and that foul play was not suspected in the 17-year-old Johnson’s death. He said authorities only wanted to speak to the brothers because of rumors.
“We spent a lot of time chasing rumors and conducting interviews based on what we had heard,” Jones told the paper, also saying, “But class records show that the oldest brother was out of town, and the younger brother was at another part of the school when Kendrick entered the gym.”
The older brother did attend a wrestling tournament in Macon that day, but Johnson’s parents and their attorney are calling into question when he departed the school for that tournament. They say a school bus travel log and school attendance records cast doubt on whether the older brother was already on a school bus going to the tournament when Johnson was last seen.
The brother’s lawyer, Paul Threlkeld refuted the statements and stated that the students left before 1 p.m. to make it to the match in Macon.
Paul Threlkeld, an attorney representing the brothers, sent a statement to Crimesider Tuesday labeling as “incorrect” the Johnson family’s claim that the bus did not leave Lowndes High School until 4 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2013.
“We understand that the departure time was sometime between 12:15 and 12:30 PM, an hour before KJ entered the LCHS [Lowndes High School] old gym. This was after the students had the opportunity to eat early lunch,” Threlkeld said.
Johnson’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit over the handling of the case. A second autopsy was done showing blunt force trauma to the teen’s head, clashing with previous statements that the teen died while trying to reach for his shoe in a rolled up gym mat.
SOURCE: CBS News| VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube, WCTV