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Kendrick Johnson's parents in court on civil disobedience charge

The parents of a Valdosta teen whose body was found two years ago inside a rolled-up gym mat appeared in a Lowndes County courtroom Monday morning to answer a charge of civil disobedience.

Kenneth Johnson and Jacquelyn Johnson are, along with five other family members, charged with unlawfully blocking access to government property during a April 2013 protest at the Lowndes County Judicial Complex. The Johnsons were pressing the Lowndes sheriff to release the investigative file of their 17-year-old son's death, ruled an accident by local and state law enforcement.

Their attorney, Chevene King, noted that the file was released the following week.

The Johnsons continue to believe their son was murdered, and in a wrongful death lawsuit filed two weeks ago they alleged an unnamed female lured their son into the old gym at Lowndes High School where he was fatally beaten by two brothers — whose names are being withheld because they were juveniles at the time — at the behest of their father, FBI agent Rick Bell. The Johnsons seek $100 million in damages.

Virtually everyone — including the GBI, local law enforcement and school officials — involved in the investigation into the teen's death conspired to protect the brothers, the suit alleges.

Jury selection for the civil disobedience case was expected to last through the afternoon. The Johnsons and their relatives pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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About the Author

Christian Boone covers public safety, courts and law enforcement.

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