Updated By: Winnie Wright
November 6, 2014
Valdosta, GA - "No matter what nobody says or what they do, how they try to attack us, we are going to keep pursuing justice for Kendrick no matter what."
Jackie Johnson says she was shocked when she read an article Wednesday, in which Lake Park Resident, Karen Bell told the AJC that her sons were informed by the U.S Attorney's Office that they are "target(s) of the grand jury's investigation" regarding the death of her son. The article adds that her husband, Rick Bell, was also informed that he is a "target" for Civil Rights violations.
Trial Attorney, Page Pate, who's worked closely with U.S Attorney, Michael Moore's Office, says a "target" is considered someone that a grand jury believes should be the focus of a criminal investigation.
"Many times they will subpoena those individuals to testify in front of the Grand Jury. But before they do that, they have to advise them that they are targets of the grand jury", says Pate.
In a defamation lawsuit The Bells, have filed against Ebony Magazine, the parents maintain that their sons had alibis for January 10th of 2013, when Kendrick was last seen walking in to the Old Gym at Lowndes High.
Bell told the AJC, "This is a witch hunt. The only reason our sons are being attacked is because their dad is an FBI agent. It fits into their claim that this is a conspiracy."
However, Pate argues Moore wouldn't pursue the case for so long, without a reason.
"He is a very careful and conservative U.S. Attorney. I would be very surprised if he was continuing to pursue this investigation if there wasn't some evidence of criminal conduct."
Attorney Pate says "targets" can plead the Fifth Amendment and do not have to testify before the grand jury, but adds that in his experience, 9/10 of targets are indicted.
We contacted the office of U.S Attorney, Michael Moore, who had no comment on the investigation. We also reached out to the Bell Family Attorney, who has not yet responded to our request.
Valdosta, GA - It has been one year since U.S. Attorney, Michael Moore, began investigating what happened to Kendrick Johnson.
Last Halloween, Moore held a press conference in Macon announcing that he would take the case after months of reviewing the evidence and talking to law enforcement.
Chevene King, the Johnson Family Attorney, says he hopes the evidence being presented to the Grand Jury will lead them in the right directon.
We reached out to Michael Moore's Office about where they are in the investigation, in a written statement, Moore said this:
"We are still actively involved in this investigation. I don't want to comment on the specifics of the investigation, but I am committed to making sure that we do it right, regardless of how long it may take. At the end of the day, and whatever the outcome, it is important that the family, the public, the law enforcement agencies, and everyone else who has an interest in this case have confidence in our work and decisions."
Kendrick Johnson was found on January 11th of 20-13 in a rolled up gym mat inside Lowndes High School. A preliminary investigation ruled the cause of death as accidental.