ATLANTA — Dekalb County Superior Court has transferred a lawsuit filed by Kendrick Johnson’s parents to Lowndes County.
Kenneth Johnson and Jacquelyn Johnson filed the wrongful death lawsuit, contending the sons of FBI agent Rick Bell were involved in KJ’s death at Lowndes High School and that local law officers and school officials covered it up as an accident.
The Johnsons’ suit was filed in DeKalb County, asking for $100 million in damages from 38 defendants. The Bells countersued, seeking $1 million for comments about them in media statements, news stories and social media posts. They asked that both legal actions be tried in Lowndes County, where all the defendants live and the death occurred.
Dekalb County Superior Court Judge Alan Harvey signed an order Tuesday, transferring the case to Lowndes County. The Johnsons have 20 days to pay costs associated with Georgia Uniform Transfer Rules or the case will be automatically dismissed, according to the order.
Kendrick Johnson’s body was found upside down in a vertically stored gym mat at Lowndes High School in January of 2013. A state autopsy ruled the 17-year-old’s death a freak accident. The Johnsons insist their son died of foul play.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Macon submitted the Johnson case to a federal grand jury several months ago, but so far no indictments or statements about the death have been issued.