Johnson’s family had his body exhumed over the summer so they could get a second opinion from a private pathologist. Dr. William R. Anderson in an August report said he detected hemorrhaging on the right side of Johnson’s neck. He concluded the teenager died from blunt force trauma near his carotid artery and that the fatal blow appeared to be non-accidental.
A lawyer for Johnson’s parents filed court papers in October requesting that a judge order a coroner’s inquest. The judge overseeing that case has said he’ll wait to decide whether to order one until the U.S. attorney’s office completes its review.
Crump says federal investigations take can take too long and that Johnson’s parents have already waited 11 months and need answers.
“We cannot wait on the federal government to do what the state government in Valdosta is supposed to do,” he said.
Lawyers for the family on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Georgia secretary of state’s office against Antonio Harrington, the owner of Harrington Funeral Home in Valdosta. When Johnson’s body was exhumed for a second autopsy, some of his organs were missing and his body cavity was filled with newspaper, and the family claims Harrington misled them about the condition of his body or mishandled the body.
An attorney for the funeral home, Roy Copeland, did not return phone messages seeking comment Tuesday and Wednesday. Copeland has previously said Johnson’s organs were missing when the body arrived at Harrington. He also defended the use of newspaper as being in keeping with standard embalming practices of filling body cavities with materials like sawdust or cotton.
(AP Photo: Jacquelyn Johnson, second from left, the mother of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, is embraced by Monique Mosely, left, as Johnson’s daughter Kenyetta, right, stands by following a rally, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta.)