Video released in Kendrick Johnson death

10:50 PM, Oct 30, 2013   |    comments
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**UPDATE: U.S. Attorney to investigate Kendrick Johnson's death - Click here for latest on this story**

VALDOSTA, Ga. -- A south Georgia judge has ruled that video taken in the Lowndes High School gym on the day Kendrick Johnson died will be released.

The ruling came after a meeting in Judge Harry Altman's chambers among the judge and attorneys for Johnson's parents, the local sheriff's office and the Lowndes County School District.

WATCH | Raw Video of cameras at gym at Kendrick Johnson's Valdosta School

Evidence Documents Released in Kendrick Johnson Death Case:
* Contents Summary
* Jan '13 Incident Reports
* Mar '13 Incident Reports 
Apr '13 incident Reports
* May '13 Incident Reports
* June '13 Incident Reports
* Call Logs
* DA Subpoenas
* Family Attorney Correspondence (including independent autopsy)
* GBI Coroner's Report
* GBI Crime Lab Reports
* Property Evidence Forms
* Search Warrants

Johnson was found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in the Valdosta high school's gym in January. 

Wednesday's ruling means that Johnson's parents will finally be allowed to watch the video that may reveal how their son died -- something they've been asking to do for weeks.

The video released today with Kendrick Johnson visible in it is less than ten seconds long, and on the surface it doesn't show much. Just a normal kid going about a normal day at a normal school.

But a closer look reveals that there a lot of questions that need to be answered.
The first clip was taken at approximately 12:59 p.m. on January 10, as he walks down the hallway of Lowndes High School.

He's wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and white sneakers. He's also carrying a yellow folder or book.

The next clip is ten minutes later at 1:09 p.m., when Johnson walks into the gymnasium.

It's less than two seconds long, and what appears to be a dissolve edit has made between the video clip with Johnson in it and additional video that shows some students playing basketball in the gym.

How much time has passed between the two clips is unknown and could be critical to the investigation.

The kids could be playing ball even while Johnson is dying of asphyxiation in the mat, which is what investigators believe. If he were still alive at the time, presumably he would be calling for help. If he were, would they be able to hear him?

Athletes routinely threw their shoes into the tall mats in the gym for safe-keeping. Detectives believe Johnson was retrieving his when he got stuck. But why he would be getting his sneakers when he had another class to go to?

There's reportedly a hard-drive full of surveillance files left to view. But sources have said that none of it shows what happened to Kendrick.

However, what it may do is correlate faces with names and times and places. That may help investigators piece the mystery together.

All of the video tape should all be released in a matter of days.

Judge Altman told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander that it was a very productive meeting.

The teen's family agreed.

"This is not a home run, but it gets us on first base," said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Johnson family who also worked on behalf of Trayvon Martin's family.

Crump added that Johnson's family will put in a formal request for the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene in the case.

The video features hours of footage taken on cameras located inside and outside the gym. Altman's ruling allows the Johnsons' attorneys to view unredacted copies of all the video files.

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office was originally reluctant to release the video, saying it featured minors who did not consent to having their images shown.

Johnson's family has also asked for a coroner's inquest into their son's death. Altman will rule on that request on Monday.

* Johnson's parents talk to 11Alive
* Second autopsy questions Johnson's death
* Johnson's parents ask for coroner's inquest

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