Feds won’t file charges in Georgia gym mat death

ATLANTA, June 21 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors will not file charges in the 2013 death of Kendrick Johnson, due to insufficient evidence in the Valdosta, Georgia, case, the U.S. Justice Department said Monday.

U.S. attorney’s office officials met with Johnson’s family to tell them the case would be closed, the Justice Department said. Johnson died of “positional asphyxia” a medical examiner concluded in 2013, after the teen’s body was found in a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes High School.

“The Department of Justice, in particular the lawyers and investigators who have worked tirelessly on this investigation, express their most sincere condolences to Kendrick Johnson’s parents, family, and friends,” Acting United States Attorney Carole Rendon said.

“We cannot imagine the pain of their loss, or the depths of their sorrow. We regret that we were unable to provide them with more definitive answers about Kendrick’s tragic death.”

Johnson’s death was ruled an accident by investigators, under the theory he became trapped in the mat as he reached for his shoes. The family of the teen have maintained the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement conspired with school officials to cover up their son’s murder. A civil lawsuit alleges Brian Bell, a classmate at Lowndes High School an son of an FBI agent committed the crime.

Bell’s attorney, Jason Ferguson, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in March the FBI cleared Bell of any wrongdoing but the agency has not commented.


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