On January 13, 2013, 17-year old Kendrick Johnson’s body was discovered in a gym mat in Valdosta, GA. Local authorities and a government medical examiner determined that Johnson died of “positional asphyxia” due to an accident. They described the accident as Kendrick placing his shoes inside the gym mat and while retrieving them, he became stuck in the mat.
In October 2013, Kendrick’s parent had an independent autopsy performed. The cause of death was determined to be “apparent non-accidental blunt force trauma”. CNN reported on the independent autopsy.
Thereafter, the Department of Justice opened an investigation. In June 2016, the DOJ closed their investigation citing insufficient evidence.
During the DOJ’s investigation, two suspects were brothers Brandon and Brian Bell. Brian Bell now attends the University of Akron where he plays linebacker on the football team.
On September 22, 2016, Raycom News Network reported that Brian Bell was charged with misdemeanor assault. The charge stems from a May fight. The victim, a 24-year old, said that he had a disagreement with one of Bell’s friends. He alleged that Brian Bell yelled at him and sucker punched him in the face. The victim was taken to Akron General Hospital and treated for a cut on his nose and swollen eyes.
Bell was arraigned on September 30, 2016. Arrest Nation, which reports on the arrests of athletes, also reported the arrest.
The media then went silent.
According to court records, on October 12, 2016, Brian Bell entered a plea bargain for the lesser charge of disorderly conduct. His sentence included payment of costs to the victim, no contact with the victim, and a $247.00 fine.
Nothing is reported as to whether Brian Bell’s arrest and conviction resulted in temporary suspension or other penalty for the football team.