Billey Joe Johnson's family continues fighting for answers in athlete's shooting

By Patrice Clark- bio | email

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - Johnson Family supporters gathered together on the lawn of the Lucedale Courthouse Thursday to make it clear they are not satisfied with a grand jury's findings earlier this month.

"We know without a shadow of a doubt Billey Junior did not kill himself. I know it is a cover up," Johnson's cousin Veronica Fairley said.

Fairley said she will lead this group to Jackson to express outrage.

"We are going to go to the courthouse in Jackson, and we are going to get directions from them," said Fairley. "We will go with a mindset trusting God, and were hoping to be led in the right direction to speak to the right people."

After a two month investigation, a grand jury concluded that Billey Joe Johnson, Jr. accidentally shot himself with his own shotgun after being pulled over for running a red light and stop sign.

George County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Sullivan, the only known officer on the scene, was cleared of any charges.

But the high school football star's sister and mother believe he would never carry a loaded gun in his vehicle. And they say he had too much to live for.  They're now working with the Cochran Law Firm to get more answers.

"He was murdered, and they know he was murdered," Johnson's sister Jennifer said. "Nothing is accidental. But them lying to us, that's a big mistake."

"I am going to let God, and the lawyer, and the other help I have behind me get justice," Johnson's Mother Annette Johnson said.

The Johnsons would not say if they are planning to file any civil suits at this time. But they did say they're committed to taking this case to Washington if they have to.

"It will help more than keeping silent. Silence doesn't always solve the problem. Sometimes you have to speak, and you have to speak out and stand alone," Fairley said.

Johnson family members says they're also disappointed with District Attorney Tony Lawrence's office because of the lack of effort in this case. In response to the family's statement, D.A. Lawrence told WLOX News he's very disheartened to know the family was not pleased with the investigation. Lawrence said he met with them after the death, and did everything he could to make sure it was an exhaustive search for the truth.