Johnson's family outraged by grand jury's ruling

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - A grand jury's findings in Billey Joe Johnson's death were met with disbelief outside the George County Courthouse Thursday.

"I believe somebody murdered him, and we are going to find out who did it," Johnson family member Calvin Bradley said.

"We are just not buying the story, and we are not going out like this," family friend Arthur Fairely said.

Dozens of family members consoled each other and cried after leaving the courtroom. They believe the star football player had too much to live for to take his own life.

"I am hurt. I felt like I was coming here to get some good news today, but I guess things didn't turn out they way I thought it was."

During the past two months, nothing has turned out the way the football star's parents thought it would. Instead of looking forward to their son's senior year of high school, they're heartbroken and disappointed.

"Every day just ain't going to be the same. You just take one day at a time," Billey Joe's mother, Annette Johnson, said.

"Really, I ain't got no comment. My heart is hurting too bad right now. I ain't feeling too good right now," father Billey Joe Johnson, Sr. said.

One person who couldn't hold back his reaction was George County NAACP President Willie Gaines. He said he's angry over the outcome.

"A lot of racism, especially when there was a black man going with a white woman here in George County. It has always been that way," Gaines said.

The NAACP members promised to continue their investigation, because they don't believe the grand jury made the right decision.

"We are going a step further. We had three plans, because we already figured out that number one, it was going to fall through. We are going to part B, but I can't reveal that now. We don't want anyone to say we will be a step ahead of them."

The Johnsons' attorney, Jerome Carter, told WLOX News the NAACP is considering contacting the Department of Justice to look into the high school football player's death.

Johnson's mother was sent to the hospital after leaving the courthouse. She was complaining of chest pains, but family members report that she is doing better