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02-15-09, 02:21 PM #1
Mississippi Traffic Stop Death Ruled Accident
LUCEDALE, Miss. --
A star Mississippi high school football player accidentally shot himself with his shotgun after he was pulled over during a traffic stop, a grand jury ruled Thursday.
Billey Joe Johnson, 17, a junior at southern Mississippi's George County High School, died of a wound to the left side of his head on Dec. 8 after a deputy pulled him over for running a red light.
After an initial investigation, authorities said the blast had been self-inflicted. The grand jury was looking at whether it was an accident, suicide or even a possible slaying.
It concluded there was no forensic evidence, including DNA, that indicated the deputy who pulled Johnson over had fired the shotgun and said no other people were involved in the shooting.
"The grand jury finds ... that Deputy Joe Sullivan was in his patrol car at the time of Billey Joe Johnson Jr.'s death," the ruling said.
The mystery surrounding the athlete's death has inflamed suspicion within the community, with Johnson's family and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People rejecting any notion that the black teen committed suicide. They said the talented running back once clocked at 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash had too much to live for including a chance of playing in college and maybe the NFL.
His mother, Annette Johnson, said she believes the 16-member grand jury is wrong.
"I ain't buying that," she said, surrounded by supporters at the George County Courthouse. "We are going further and we are going higher."
The report said Sullivan, who is white, did have gunpowder residue on his hands but concluded it came from him handling his service revolver the morning of the shooting. They said based on the lack of Johnson's blood on Sullivan's clothes and eyewitness reports that the deputy could not have shot the athlete.
Johnson's hands also tested positive for gunpowder residue and there were no other injuries on his body, according to the grand jury report. The report did not detail how Johnson accidentally discharged the gun that he had with him because he had planned a hunting trip. Police have said that by the time other officers arrived, Johnson was lying on the ground outside of the driver's side door with a shotgun on top of him, the barrel pointing toward his head.
Johnson family attorney Jerome Carter has said his independent investigation of the case will continue and hopes his team will be allowed to review the autopsy and other evidence.
"I'm very concerned with Detective Sullivan testing having gunshot residue on both of his hands having just logged in being on duty," Carter said.
Dozens of people - mostly family members and friends - prayed outside the courthouse in Lucedale before going inside to hear the report read aloud.
The NAACP said it would submit its evidence to the U.S. Justice Department and ask for a federal probe.
Chadrick Jack, sports manager for the school district and the funeral home director who handled Johnson's arrangements, said he was disappointed in the ruling. He said Johnson's wound looked like it was made by a smaller weapon because a shotgun would have done more damage.
"I've worked at the funeral home. I saw Billey Joe's wounds. And that wasn't an accident," Jack said.
02-15-09, 04:20 PM #2
Since when did forensic analysis of firearms wounds become part of the training to be a funeral home director?No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.
02-15-09, 09:40 PM #3'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'
“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” Sigmund Freud
02-16-09, 02:03 AM #4
[QUOTE=pgg;425325]Ever since Funeral Director's started watching CSI[/QUOTE
Everybody is a wanna-be forensic expert now.SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
-General Omar Bradley, United States Army
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