Kendrick Johnson, a Georgia high school student was found dead in his high school gym in January. His body was found wrapped in a gym mat in the Lowndes High School gym. An initial investigation found that his death was accidental, caused by “positional asphyxia.” However, Johnson’s family expressed their belief their son’s death was a homicide and that the suffocation explanation was simply a “cover up.” The parents of two of Johnson’s classmates who were accused of taking part in his murder have filed a federal lawsuit against Ebony magazine and journalist Frederic Rosen claiming they slandered their childrens’ images. They’re seeking $5 million.
The classmates, Brian and Brandon Bell, sons of a Valdosta FBI agent, were depicted fictitiously as Chris and Clark Martin in the articles describing the case, written by Rosen. Rosen wrote that they were “possible suspects” in the murder.
“Tweets goes on to state that Chris Martin had the motive to murder KJ because of previous fights they had, resulting in a ‘prior animus’ going back at least two years,” reports The Jasmine Brand.
Despite the name changes, the Bells say people figured out who the article was referring to. Therefore, the boys were identified on social media and faced with threats. The lawsuit’s brief goes on to say that the Bell brothers aren’t guilty of any crime because video surveillance and witness comments indicate they were not near the gym; they were in class on en route to another school for a wrestling match.
You can read the court documents surrounding the case on the The Jasmine Brand. MadameNoire was in touch with Ebony. The magazine has no comment and at this time.