Gadsden County, FL -- November 23, 2011 --
It's the cold case you've probably never even heard of; a case back in 1994 was hardly even covered by the press. But even after 17 years, Gadsden County Cold Case detectives are still determined to find out who killed Cedric Johnson: a man whose murder was witnessed by many, but nobody's talking.
For Mary Johnson Harris, visiting her son's grave is just as painful now as it was 17 years ago.
Mary says, "We are suffering. I try to hold myself up for my daughter, [cries] for another member of the family, but I try to be macho; I'm not macho. It hurts, it really hurts."
22-year-old Cedric Johnson was a former Tallahassee Mall security guard. He wanted to go into corrections.
On June 12, 1994, Cedric and his relatives, including cousin Derick Reese went to the Ross Country Club in Quincy's Sawdust community.
Cedric went away for 10 minutes to visit his son, living with his mother in a home behind the club. When Cedric returned, he was upset.
Derick Reese, Cedric's cousin and best friend, says "The only thing he said to me and he kept saying was, 'he shouldn't have did what he did, he should've said what he said.'"
Cedric never said who he argued with. He and Reese then decided to leave.
Cedric was supposed to follow Reese home. Cedric never came back.
"We were together every single minute of the day except for 15 minutes and during that 15 minute period, I lost him."
Witnesses on scene that night say Cedric had been hitting and kicking cars and then a fight broke out.
Cedric was shot once in the chest with a .25 caliber automatic.
Two men left in a black and gold Nissan 240ZX.
Reese rushed back as soon as he heard the news. Cedric was dead.
Reese says, "There were a lot of people down there that I knew that *he* knew, but to this day most of those people haven't come forward. I don't understand why if you say you love a person, if you say you care about a person, if you say that's your friend, I don't understand why more people haven't come forward and told the truth."
So many witnesses but who was the killer? None of them would say and still won't to this day
CPT John Franklin of the Gadsden County Sheriff Cold Case Team says, "We want to bring closure for the family. We know that this case will be solved, we know it can be solved, but we're asking the public to come forward. Someone had to see what happened. Someone has to have knowledge as to what happened."
The detective says there are two male suspects.
Reese has worked tirelessly himself to find out who killed his cousin and best friend.
Reese adds, "Most people won't talk to me because they know how close me and Cedric was."
Reese says everybody knows but nobody tells.
"If you're man enough to do a crime, be man enough to stand for it."
Harris says knowing her son's murderer will not bring her son back, but it will ease some pain.
Mary says, "If you're afraid to go to the Sheriff, you can come to me... you can come to *me*... just come and tell me, and I will help *you* out."
A grave without rest...
A mother's anguish...
A family without closure or justice... wondering... if 17 years of guilt... will get one eyewitness to finally come forward... or the killer to confess.