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U.S. Attorney 'moves forward', convenes grand jury in Kendrick Johnson case

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On Thursday, March 13, a major step forward had occurred in the Kendrick Johnson investigation as the U.S. Attorney--Michael Moore-- met with people of interest via a subpoena and a grand jury convened at the federal courthouse here in Macon.

According to CNN, the summons to appear before a grand jury involved current students at Lowndes High School and current and former students at Valdosta High School.

Moore told CNN the following:

"We're working methodically, and sometimes we remember we're running a marathon instead of a sprint. So, we're working on it. It's better to get it right than to get it fast. I'm satisfied that the FBI is moving forward at the appropriate speed, and they're doing a fine job."

Coincidentally, one of the parents who has children that go to Lowndes County High School, Karen Bell, spoke out publicly about the alleged involvement of her own sons and how it has impacted her family in an interview with the Valdosta Daily Times' Adam Floyd in its February 9 edition.

The Valdosta Daily Times reported the following:

Bell also declined to allow her sons to be questioned after FBI investigators sought to speak to the brothers in regard to U.S. Attorney Moore’s review of the Johnson investigation. Bell and her husband spoke to the FBI on their children’s behalf.

Johnson's death was ruled an accident by local authorities and the Lowndes County School system has been quiet since the very beginning.

Lowndes County High School is one of the most prestigious public schools in the state of Georgia and has a sterling reputation.

However, did pressure to keep that reputation of Lowndes High School intact have an impact on decisions made by the Lowndes principal and Superintendent on January 11, 2013?

Lowndes Sheriff Chris Prine and the Sheriff's Office made a conscious effort not to contact the coroner immediately.

Was the principal and superintendent aware of this?

On May 4, 2013 the Valdosta Daily Times wrote the following:

...."By law, someone from the sheriff’s office should have contacted Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson when they learned of Johnson’s body so that a declaration of death could be made, and Prine acknowledged that they should have done so. However, fearing a leak to the media and understanding that there was little the coroner could do until investigators secured all of the evidence and reached Johnson’s body, Prine waited to call Watson...."

Shortly after Labor Day, results from a second autopsy by a licensed, experienced forensic pathologist from Florida confirmed the findings of EMT Nick Tomlinson (formerly of the South Georgia Medical Center) who had examined Kendrick Johnson on the scene on January 11, 2013.

According to the report, Tomlinson had witnessed bruising on the 17 year-old's body and came to a conclusion that the Old Gymnasium located on the Lowndes County High School campus should be considered a crime scene.

The second autopsy report describes Johnson's injuries as "apparent non-accidental, blunt force trauma".

Kendrick Johnson's legal team --led by Chevene King and Benjamin Crump-- contends the 17 year-old was the victim of foul play.

U.S. Attorney Michael Moore had first made an inquiry about the case back in May 2013, days before the 2012-2013 school year had ended at Lowndes County High School.

Subsequently, in late October 2013, a press conference convened and Moore announced that a full investigation of what happened to Kendrick Johnson would take place.

CNN had talked to the parents about the case.

Johnson's father, Kenneth Johnson, said, "We really won't feel anything until justice comes for Kendrick. We're glad they're here, but my feelings won't be there until we get justice for our son."

Jacquelyn Johnson also talked about the involvement of the federal government.

"They answered a lot of questions about a lot of what we had heard," she said. "I felt better because it's another set of eyes looking into the case."

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