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LOCAL Commentary :: Crime and Police

Flimsy Convictions, Teetering States and Mercurial Wrenches: The Case for Kevin Johnson

A long overdue commentary on the case of Kevin Johnson. A take on the people present at his first trial, what the State has tried to prove, how it's largely failed to prove it and why it doesn't really matter.

Kevin's re-trial begins October 31st, we hope to see you all there. Information and updates about Kevin and his case can be found at www.myspace.com/freekevinjohnson. Additional comments, questions and hatemail can be sent to freerockhead (at) yahoo.com
Sitting in court you go a little crazy. We imagine this is part of their design. The walls are white or have some horrible wood paneling that’s all lit by florescent lights. Sometimes there’s a fake sky light in the middle of the ceiling that you keep thinking is real and then remembering there’s at least another two floors above you and three or four below and guards at the doors of the building and guards at the doors of the courtroom and guards in the courtroom and some hovering over your friend and microphones hovering over everyone – judge, lawyers, jury, supporters, spectators - and then you zone back in.
This is so fucking boring.

The Courtroom
There’s this asshole who walks around trying to convince people to kill Kevin. His name is Robert McCulloch. He smirks when he thinks he’s doing a particularly good job of presenting evidence or bullying people – his favorite are children. He likes to stand with his arms folded, nodding as witnesses he’s coached relay his story back to the jurors. He’s the lead prosecutor of St. Louis County . His father was a police officer killed in the line of duty. McCulloch wanted nothing more than to be a cop himself until bone cancer took his leg and he was forced to become the best darn prosecutor he could be instead . Despite his tall build and grimacing face it takes very little for him to be thrown off. During jury selection when McCulloch asked an older black woman if she felt she could deliver a sentence of death, to which she responded no since she thought it was immoral to kill anyone and that she was even more reluctant to in this situation since the defendant was black and that the courts and prisons of America had proven to be biased against blacks, McCulloch responded by barking, “So would you kill ‘im if he was white!?!” The response was a calm and slightly perplexed, “No.”
There’s another person – a sycophant – who scurries about in McCulloch’s wake with a look of anxiety on his face, handing him papers and jotting things down. He’s the one who argued the Conspiracy charges that put Kevin in the hole. He’s the person responsible for Kevin sitting in a cell 23 hours a day since January. Pat Monahn’s not as cocky now as he performs in front of Kevin and McEntee’s family and friends, as well as jurors – who don’t necessarily understand the business of courts and need medical and scientific experts to tell them why exactly they need to vote to kill Kevin. The Lackey’s Mantra: Don’t fuck this up.
Seated behind the prosecutor’s table are the four rows of McEntee supporters, consisting of his family, friends and a handful of cops and their spouses. During recesses and before and after court the McEntee supporters often hung out with and at times were comforted by the courthouse security – a rather odd situation for the rest of us. In addition to that dynamic, Mrs. McEntee had a bodyguard that kept glancing over her shoulder at us, and tried repeatedly to get Kevin’s supporters kicked out. One of the days she left the courtroom in a huff and came back with a bailiff trailing her, walked right up to Kevin’s sister, pointed at her and said, “There. That’s her and that’s the shirt.” The bailiff bent down and whispered that her “Free Kevin Johnson” t-shirt would have to be covered up or she would have to leave. On another occasion the bodyguard actually succeeded in getting someone kicked out who refused to take off his “Gone but Not Forgot” Bam Bam jacket. Finally, if you’re still not understanding how paranoid and annoying this individual was, she would often stand in the hallway with her legs shoulder-width apart, slightly bent, hand floating over her empty holster – a pathetic imitation of cowboy, probably torn from some terrible pulp novel. She was even overheard the first day of jury selection saying to one of the courthouse guards, “They [Kevin supporters] make me feel real uneasy. I feel uncomfortable without my gun.” Cause I guess she was just gonna blow a few of us away mid-cross examination of some witness for returning one or two of her obnoxious glances.
In contrast to McCulloch and his toady’s legal team, Kevin’s public defenders, Karen Kraft and Robert Steele, come across more as a unified force, sharing the questioning and cross examining of witnesses. They’re seated between the prosecutor’s table and the judge’s bench on the left side of the courtroom. Steele seems to be the favorite of the two – with his rapid-fire style of questioning, often humorously managing to make witnesses trip up – though, Kraft holds her own. Regrettably, both frequently passed up opportunities to push weak testimonies to the point of discredibility, which after a while left the impression that they weren’t really trying to get Kevin acquitted, but rather not killed .
The judge, one Melvyn W. Wiesman (29 years experience), seemed to run things in accordance with the law and not necessarily showing any particular bias outside of that. The harshest criticism he has received stems from his decision to call a mistrial after only 12 hours of jury deliberation. Another frustrating aspect was the allowance of a courtroom secretary who would wander in and out and, when not conducting any sort of official court business, would sit and roll her eyes, making exaggerated faces in plain view of the jurors while evidence that was favorable to Kevin was being discussed. Wiesman was probably not aware of this, and fault we suppose lies more on the shoulders of courtroom bailiffs.
On the right side of the courtroom sit the jurors. There’s eight women and four men. Four black and eight white.
In the gallery behind the jurors (out of their sight) are Kevin’s supporters. The number of people fluctuate from day to day, with most days there being about a dozen or two on each side of the aisle dividing the McEntee and Kevin sides. However, on some days there were close to forty of Kevin’s friends and family members present – well over the seating capacity for the four rows of pews. The supporters ranged from aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, and his mom to a few members of the Nation of Islam to local and regional anarchists to neighborhood friends, which (to say the least) made for curious interactions. Throughout the trial as new people showed up it was interesting to watch as McEntee supports (all white) realized that some of the white people they had been courteous to in the lobby were actually supporters of Kevin. They’d usually get a look of confusion, then disbelief and finally disgust. There was a reverse process with Kevin’s family and close friends (other than a few of us, all black) as they would first seem upset with McEntee supporters taking up their already limited space, but after elbow bumps from friends and quick explanations would soon warm up to us: saving seats, holding elevators doors for us to squeeze in with them, sharing snacks and even joking around from time to time. Their feelings of friendliness and ability to really go out on a limb to befriend strangers (who had only half-way explained themselves as being against the state and its manifestations) allowed a sense of affinity and trust to form.
Mixed in amongst us and eventually behind us, was the media. People who we vaguely recognized (and who looked even more plastic in real life – ironic, huh?) would stuff their way into an already cramped pew. More incredible still was their quick and irritable reactions after having demanded the entire back row for themselves and then finding one of us in one of “their” seats. It would have made more sense for them to sit with the McEntee supporters anyway, since their allegiance was clear. And what was the result of the likes of Sean Conroy, Erica Van Ross and Jasmine Huda popping in for ten minute visits? Apparently, just airing whatever footage of the trial they found most sensational or most in line with the story the media had decided upon a year and a half before hand. I will say, though, to Conroy’s credit, he did go the extra sensationalist mile and air footage from Free Kevin Johnson!’s myspace page and visit Black Bear Bakery where Free Kevin Johnson t-shirts and stickers were on display for people to take. The result of this responsible journalism was a couple dozen hate e-mails (almost entirely from professed police officers and white supremacists ) and threatening phone calls to Black Bear . Such wonderful, in depth investigation, Sean .
And then there’s Kevin. We have no idea how we’d present ourselves if we were on trial for killing a cop (especially, if we hadn’t even done it), with jurors being able to take the slightest glance or grimace to be the thing in their mind that made them know we’d done it. Despite this Kevin seemed cool and confident throughout the trial, even warming up and kidding with family during recesses . A friend who writes Kevin tells us the tone in his letters is the same. He’s smart and aware of what he’s up against – never slipping up and writing anything that could be construed and used against him. Upbeat and confident, joking almost in defiance of being in his cell 23 hours a day, and having guards as his main source of human contact. In this regard, the state has so far managed to not break him.

The State and Its Poor Burden
Angered by the death of his brother, 19 year-old Kevin Johnson took his gun and approached McEntee’s squad car while he reprimanded some neighborhood kids. Kevin shot McEntee once from outside the passenger side of the car, and shouted “this is what you get! You killed my brother! This is for Bam Bam!” Kevin then leaned into the car, fired five more rounds at McEntee – one bullet passing through the squad car and into one of the boys’ legs. Kevin took McEntee’s gun then shouted for McEntee to get the fuck out of his neighborhood. McEntee then put the car in gear and slowly drove off. About half way up the street he accelerated incredibly fast, veered off the road into a yard, banked off a parked car and into a tree. He tried reversing but couldn’t. Neighbors tried helping him – his chest was smoking from the bullet holes and another bullet had severed his tongue, making his cries for help inaudible. Someone managed to undo McEntee’s seatbelt and help him out of the car. He fell to the ground and while attempting to get up Kevin appeared again. Told everyone to get out of his way. Walked up to McEntee, yelled “This is for my brother. This is for Bam Bam,” and shot him twice in the head. Kevin took McEntee’s extra two clips of ammo from his utility belt and then marched down the street with both guns in the air. As neighbors approached Kevin or yelled from their porches “Kevin, why’d you do it?” He responded by yelling, “I don’t give a fuck! I just don’t give a fuck anymore!” He then disappeared around the corner, not to be seen again for three days, when he surrendered himself for arrest.
The motive? A few hours before the shooting, Kevin’s younger brother, Joseph “Bam Bam” Long, had died of a heart condition. When McEntee and other officers arrived at his home and could have been helping Bam Bam, they instead used the opportunity to search the house for Kevin . Later when paramedics loaded the unconscious Bam Bam into the ambulance, McEntee was asked to hold back Bam Bam and Kevin’s mother – something Kevin saw. When McEntee noticed this and realized how he appeared, he looked at Kevin and smiled.
And as riveting a story as this is, it didn’t happen. I mean sure, someone really killed McEntee – the pools of blood he left behind could attest to that – and McEntee probably really did smile at Kevin, but McCulloch’s story has some major holes.

The Most Damning Evidence
There are three main witnesses who say they saw Kevin level the gun at McEntee and kill him. One is an elderly woman who’s health made her unable to testify during the trial; forcing lawyers to utilize a previously recorded video of her instead. During the tape she said she had been taking medication for schizophrenia since the early 90’s and admitted experiencing hallucinations regularly – she said they were caused by her medication. According to the tape, when police visited her the first time she told them she had no information for them, but when they came back – banging on her door and in riot gear – they somehow managed to get her to testify against Kevin. A letter from a doctor saying she was not fit to testify was conveniently lost by McCulloch until a few days after her testimony had been submitted and accepted by the court.
The second person who claims to have seen Kevin kill McEntee is Kevin’s cousin, Jermaine Johnson. Before testifying against Kevin, McCullcoh introduced Jermaine as having come to authorities while in jail, worrying about a possible 20-year sentence for armed robbery. At that point McCulloch was more than willing to cut Jermaine a deal in exchange for a few one on one sessions with Jermaine to make sure he remembered everything properly. And although it was stated that McCulloch and Jermaine had met to get Jermaine’s facts straight, Jermaine still messed up and gave testimony contrary to other witnesses. Saying McEntee’s squad car was in a different position than others and that Kevin after having shot McEntee had sprinted back down a gang-way between two houses where Jermaine was hiding , not to the end of the block and down the street like McCulloch had told jurors. Upon cross-examination by Steele, Jermaine’s story quickly fell apart (him repeatedly changing the position of Kevin in relation to the squad car during the initial shooting.) Steele also managed to reveal and humorously restate that when Jermaine supposedly heard Kevin firing the first shot he had been smoking marijuana in a friend’s car. And now the biggest twist of all: some maintain that it was Jermaine that killed McEntee – both were built the same at the time and had similar hair cuts and were wearing the same clothing, not to mention that both had access to Kevin’s gun, bullets and car. Jermaine testified that the reason he knew Kevin had access to a gun and what kind it was, was because he had fired it himself in the past.
Finally, a former friend, 19 year-old Anthony Davis, came forward days before the trial, saying he would testify against Kevin. In exchange for testifying, McCulloch agreed to drop charges of witness intimidation that carried a 21-year term to a lesser charge and a 6-month sentence. This last minute change of events seemed more of a curse than a blessing to McCulloch after Davis testified. Maybe a few extra days of coaching would have kept Davis from saying Kevin approached the squad car from a side contrary to that which McCulloch had argued. Davis also said he didn’t see anyone near McEntee’s car. This particular statement did not go over well during cross-examination when Davis was asked if he knew the three boys who had testified the day before as having been next to the car. He said he knew them all and seemed incredibly confused as to why they would be near the car at the time of the shooting. Then to top it all off, Davis said Kevin didn’t walk back down the street yelling, but rather, after shooting McEntee hoped into a car that had just pulled up and sped away.
In addition to these already shady accounts, were all the other witnesses who, while being questioned by police in 2005, had said they saw Kevin shoot McEntee but testified in court that that was not the case. It all becomes a little more understandable when taken in the context of Meacham Park in the days following McEntee’s death. SWAT teams, helicopters and police in riot gear rolled around the tiny community (only a few blocks long), pounding on and kicking in doors – not to check if residents knew anything about McEntee’s death, but rather if they had seen Kevin Johnson shoot McEntee – substantially different situations.
The man who undid McEntee’s seatbelt and helped him from the car said during initial police interrogation that he had seen Kevin approach the group around the crashed squad car and shoot McEntee, but later in court said he had been inside getting McEntee a glass of water to help him try and talk, and had not seen Kevin shoot McEntee. He also said he’d known Kevin since he was a little kid, at which point in the trial he looked over at him smiling, making Kevin smile a little, too, and said “Kevin is a great kid, always respectful. He never gave me any problems.”
Another witness said during cross-examination that heavy police presence in her neighborhood and at her questioning made her feel “scared. I felt they were intimidating me.” “Is that why you told them you saw Kevin shoot the police officer?” asked Kraft. “Yes, ma’am.”
And then there are the boys who McEntee was correcting before being shot. None of the three said they saw who shot McEntee, including the boy who was shot in the leg! McCulloch was particularly angry with this boy; raising his voice more and more throughout his examination. McCulloch was most upset because while lying in a hospital bed a few hours after being shot, he had told a room full of detectives it might have been Kevin who shot McEntee, since he heard the shooter shout “this’s for Bam Bam!” A story the boy kept to on the stand.
McCulloch also brought up an incident that occurred in his waiting room in the fall of 2006. To further confuse the credibility of witness’ testimony, McCulloch alleges that Anthony Davis and two others gave potential witnesses (who were waiting to speak with him) dirty looks and asked them what they were doing in McCulloch’s office, why they had any business with him and if it was about Kevin.
Between police allegedly harassing and threatening neighbors, and friends supposedly intimidating witnesses, it quickly became clear that every witness had changed their story at some point in order to keep some sort of neighborly affinity to a condemned friend, out of fear of retribution or to give an honest account despite whatever consequences.
Other evidence against Kevin (that the local media bombarded readers and viewers with over and over again) is that McEntee’s blood was found in Kevin’s car and on his belt and that there was a box of bullets in Kevin’s car missing bullets similar to those that killed McEntee. We believe McCulloch has done the best job out of anyone in proving how unsubstantial it is that a splotch of blood that had the same DNA as McEntee’s was found on Kevin’s belt and car. If there’s one thing McCulloch kept stressing throughout the trial (going to the extent of playing footage taken hours after the shooting that showed pools of McEntee’s blood) is that McEntee’s death was insanely bloody. We feel fairly confident in saying that there probably weren’t a whole lot of people in the vicinity of McEntee’s shooting who didn’t get a few splotches of blood on them. So he was in the crowd at the scene of the murder and also owned an incomplete box of bullets? This does not single Kevin out at the sole person who could have killed McEntee. It’s not even that bizarre when one actually thinks of Kevin from a position of “innocent until proven guilty.” You know what is bizarre? Bizarre is the fact that Kevin supposedly reached into McEntee’s car to take his gun and later took the ammo clips from his belt and yet there was not a single finger print that matched Kevin’s found on McEntee, his belt or his car. What is also very bizarre is the fact that no murder weapon has ever been recovered. I’ll write that again: NO MURDER WEAPON. That’s right, no murder weapon, or recovery of McEntee’s possessions despite 24 hour police surveillance of the apartment that Kevin was in while waiting to surrender for arrest.
It is in this context of fuzzy witness testimonies and angles not fully pursued by McCulloch or Kevin’s own legal team that we feel Kevin’s testimony should be taken. It happened late in the evening and, as far as we know, took everyone by surprise including Kevin’s lawyers, McCulloch and a number of spectators who had gone home for the day. The part of Kevin’s testimony that most are probably familiar with (namely because the media showed it ad nausem) is when Kevin said he killed McEntee but that he did so in an insane trance. Kevin had probably reached a point where he knew his lawyers weren’t trying to get him acquitted – not disputing certain evidence and pushing certain weak testimonies – that he took the stand and said the only thing that was going to save him from certain death in prison. And just in case you haven’t had the trick of Kevin’s testimony explained to you, here it is in all its simplicity. Kevin was on trial for Murder One. It’s the only thing that the State of Missouri can try and kill you for, or lock you up and throw away the key. In saying he killed McEntee in a grief-induced trance, Kevin excluded himself from one of the three things necessary in convicting him of Murder One: calm and cool deliberation. In sabotaging his ability to be fully acquitted Kevin took the next best thing: a shot at Murder Two and a possibility at being released in 10 years or if sentenced to life, possible release in 25 ½. After the mistrial one of the jurors told a reporter that “From the beginning everyone thought he was guilty, then he up and confessed. That turned around everything.”
This twist of Kevin’s sent the jury into intense debating, the first hour of which yielded a vote of 7-5 in favor of Murder Two. An additional 11 hours of arguing lead to an increase of 10 for Murder Two and only 2 still holding out for Murder One. The same juror said that had they been given more than twelve hours to deliberate, he thought they would have reach a unanimous decision, but instead Wiesman called it a mistrial. And then everyone got up awkwardly and filed out of the courtroom.

Trumped-Up Charges
Throughout the time between McEntee’s murder and Kevin’s first trial some interesting things happened. In the Fall there was that incident in McCulloch’s office that if it did actually occur would add a nice stop-snitching angle to this whole farce. It would also demonstrate friends refusing to stand by and let business as usual suck up a friend and spit him out dead or in prison. After encountering no real resistance to their first attempt at fabricating charges against people involved in Kevin’s case, authorities thought they’d try Kevin for even more severe charges.
In our opinion Kevin’s charge of Conspiring to Murder Witnesses is completely false. It is because of this charge that Kevin has been in solitary confinement since January of 2006, being allowed out of his cell only one hour each day and having as his primary source of human contact, guards. Kevin’s trial for these charges was originally scheduled to fall in the wake of the murder trial, making it just an additional charge that a convicted cop-killer would be hard-pressed to dodge. But after the hung-jury McCulloch quickly pushed the Conspiracy trial back after Kevin’s retrial, fearing that the hesitation involved in what the media had hyped as an open and shut case would make the shady evidence against Kevin all the shadier. Jurors might actually consider the flimsy evidence and acquit Kevin, meaning Kevin would be put back in the regular jail population and then stand trial for murder. A mistrial on one charge and an acquittal on another would look terrible going into a re-trial, previous on-the-stand “confession” or not.
Here’s what happened. Authorities allege that a prisoner who had been sharing a cellblock with Kevin approached them and said that he had intentionally gone about trying to gain Kevin’s trust. After doing so he had planned to find dirt on him, which the snitch could then use against Kevin in order to reduce his own sentence. In court it came out that this prisoner had been doing this since the late ‘80’s, so it’s hard to know whether the snitch created this situation on his own accord or was prompted to by outside sources. He said that after gaining Kevin’s trust and Kevin finding out he would soon be paroled, Kevin wanted him to have two witnesses taken care of. Kevin allegedly wrote down the snitch’s sister’s phone number where Kevin could reach him using codenames. Kevin was then supposed to call the number and arrange further details. Police tapped the sister’s phone and waited for Kevin to call. The phone received two calls from the St. Louis County jail, but never from Kevin or anyone using Kevin’s codename. With two days worth of the phone tapping going nowhere, detectives went ahead and filed paperwork against Kevin anyway. The evidence against him? Oddly enough, a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 that Kevin had allegedly written the sister’s number in and a piece of paper that Kevin supposedly wrote down one of the witnesses’ address on. The catch? The address was a direct copy of a typo found in Kevin’s legal papers where an extra digit had accidentally been added in the thousand’s place . The book as well as the legal papers were often in places that anyone could access them – say, someone openly trying to get dirt on Kevin? It also strikes us as strange that Kevin would have copied the typo and written the wrong hundred block of a street he’d lived next to for years. Wouldn’t that more likely be the work of an outsider? Then in court when the piece of paper that Kevin supposedly gave the snitch was shown on a projector, fingerprints (purple from a fingerprint-finding solution) showed that not a single print matched Kevin’s. The entire case rests on the word of a with a 20-year career of saying what authorities want him to in order to “save” himself. The whole thing’s fairly obviously concocted by someone in the Clayton jail or St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office in order to further discredit Kevin.

NO TEARS FOR McENTEE
Those were the words scrawled across a brick wall in south city mid-trial. The media went nuts. “How terrible and disturbing,” they said. And then found three people on the street to say the same thing. “It shocks me, because the police are here to protect us,” they even got one to say. Of course, that particular person was referring to the giant “ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS (ACAB)” written across the reservoir by Grand and I-44. All the reporting was hilarious: it was as though every person they got to feign (or maybe even actually relate heart-felt) disgust just became another face they paraded in front of the camera (and we’re sorry, but in light of certain evidence we can’t help ourselves) to say, “2+2=5.”
And we don’t feel it a stretch to say people are okay with what Kevin allegedly did. From time to time we encounter “Free Kevin Johnson” or “Monster in the Media, Hero on the Streets” t-shirts and stickers in places we weren’t expecting them. We’ll see “R.I.P. Bam Bam ” shirts, too. There’s the ubiquitous anti-cop and anti-snitching graffiti around town. And then during the trial commuters passing through Webster Groves, I-70 just north of downtown, I-55 just south of the arch and again just before the county line were treated to pro-Kevin banners hanging from overpasses. Most read, “FIRE TO THE PRISONS. FREE ROCKHEAD.” One was even accompanied by a flaming molotov cocktail with a circle A across the bottle’s label.
At jury selection when McCulloch asked a middle-class looking white man of about sixty, “Is the fact that it was a police officer who was heinously killed going to effect your decision making abilities,” he replied, “Oh, no. Not at all.” Two local DJ’s were even fired over a conversation that occurred days after the shooting, in which they encouraged callers to debate what they would do if a cop uncuffed them and challenged them to a fight – would they go for the cop’s gun or radio first?
Most sensational of all, however, is the desecration of McEntee’s memorial mere hours after its dedication. Even with a $1,000 reward, the media for months could only refer to the vandalism as an appalling crime, quoting Kirkwood Police Chief Jack Plummer as saying the “cowardly punk” responsible for the obscene act of pouring paint on the granite marker reflected the “portion of every society that is not happy unless they can pull everything down in the gutter in which they reside.” Whoa. Police seethed with anger as they used toothbrushes to try and restore the marker. Then a few months later police arrested a young man, 24 year-old Jeremy Proctor, after he allegedly bragged to friends (who then decided to go to the police ) at a party that he had vandalized the memorial. It’s unclear how much of the story is true, but what is certain is that for a few weeks following his arrest Jeremy was the target of continual police harassment. In addition to the marker, there’s been a memorial bike ride for McEntee as well as a stretch of Highway 21 re-named in his memory .

We Just Don’t Give A Fuck Anymore
Are we really trying to justify McEntee’s murder with a line of argument that says police are assholes and deserve what they get, or worse yet, trying to argue that Kevin didn’t actually gun down McEntee? In regards to Kevin’s involvement, our honest answer: we don’t care. Sure, there is a strong possibility that it wasn’t actually Kevin who killed McEntee – has anyone since the murder discussed this possibility on a mass scale or even attempted to stray away from the same old regurgitated news stories? not really – but it doesn’t matter to us. And people keep asking us this anyway. They’ll get kind of quiet and look around and then lean in and mutter, “So really, do ya think he did it?” Kill the detective in your head! we feel like screaming. And where does it come from? Is it really just one too many Murder-She-Wrote-CSI-Law-and-Order-Matlock-type shows on TV where now a life and death situation for one has become an edgier version of someone else’s favorite TV trash?
Perhaps the best way to answer the question is to say, “Kevin is guilty, and we all are.” To us “guilt” and “innocence” are arbitrary titles left over from a dead morality. The State continues to use them against people based almost entirely on how disposable they think certain individuals or groups of people are or how quickly it wants to illuminate anything that threatens its power. And guess what? Almost any of us can fit into this mold when the powers-that-be wish to enforce it.
In light of this and the possibility of the State succeeding in convicting Kevin of Murder One, which in the words of Robert McCulloch, “means no matter what, Kevin dies in prison,” we feel the want to destroy prisons even more and the realization that we can be the external force that helps set them alight. Something we wish we heard more (instead of the usually speculation about Kevin’s innocence or guilt) is “how do we get Kevin out?” The least we can do is see how he’s doing from time to time by writing him and by attending his re-trial that begins October 31st to show him he’s not alone and jurors that Kevin is part of a community and not a menace to everyone. The most we can do is make it as difficult as possible for the state to function: Its taken one of the rabble and we’re gonna fight like hell to get him back.

Information and updates about Kevin and his case can be found at www.myspace.com/freekevinjohnson. Additional comments, questions and hatemail can be sent to freerockhead (at) yahoo.com


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1. McCulloch was part of the initiative that fought for Missouri's Truth in Sentencing Statute that prohibits parole for violent criminals until they have served at least 85% of their sentence.
2. His beef with Kevin is an incredibly personal cut – by our count, Bob, you’ve failed daddy at least twice now.
3. Many potential jurors made defiant stands against the death penalty, inspiring in some ways to know that people are against this form of State violence or at least willing to feign conviction in order to dodge jury duty, but after a while you really just wanted to stand up and scream, “Shut the fuck up!” If these people really cared about saving someone’s life and thought things through just a little more they’d realize their best chance of doing so was to not say anything except what the lawyers wanted to hear and get themselves on a jury and make sure a sentence of death, or better yet guilty, was not reached.
4. Similar questions were discussed by Kevin’s supporters, particularly what we were actually accomplishing by sitting in the courtroom.
5. She also complained about Kevin supporters and more than once tried to have us throw out.
6. The first day of juror selection we actually saw one reporter pull up on his laptop a 2005 news story about Kevin’s arrest and McEntee’s murder (we’d recognized it because we’d been looking at the same story with it’s many factual inaccuracies a few days before.) He then proceeded to not just pull out a few details to jump start his memory but actually re-type whole sections of it to be aired later that day.
7. The only organized groups that seem to have rallied to the cause of killing Kevin are the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office, the Fraternal Order of the Police, almost all local corporate media, and the Council of Conservative Citizens (a local white supremacist group.)
8. Employees received multiple phone calls where they were asked such things as whether or not the bakery was still carrying “dead nigger t-shirts” or “dead nigger bread” or if they felt safe being at the bakery all alone at night – which employees never are.
9. Conroy, Fox 2 News.
10. The situation reminded us of wakes where you feel you’re supposed to be solemn and sad but seeing all your friends and family in one place after not seeing them for so long just lends itself to horsing around and laughter.
11. Despite not being evidence (as in not being any sort of sworn testimony of a witness, expert or document) frequently and unsurprisingly throughout the trial local media quoted and aired McCulloch ranting and raving at jurors as though it were hardened fact or evidence the court had accepted, creating the impression on unknowing viewers that whatever garbage McCulloch had spewed from his mouth that day had actually happened in Meacham Park.
12. We assume he had warrants at this time in addition to the antagonism that already existed between Kevin and the Kirkwood Police Department.
13. Nothing against people who display symptoms of schizophrenia or who willingly or unwilling hallucinate, we just feel that when a matter as serious as someone’s life is being consider, a stricter criteria should be enforced.
14. Somehow Jermaine was able to see through a couple of houses and the crowd around McEntee.
15. See endnote 13.
16. We will say, disregarding any possible theories about Kevin’s innocence or guilt, one thing is for sure: there was a crowd a couple dozen strong watching McEntee after his car crashed and who saw someone finish him off. This is an exciting prospect since literally dozens of people managed to evade police questioning and intimidation and have successfully fought off in their own way attempts by the State to kill a neighbor.
17. This was actually the event that first made a lot of us feel like we should get involved – that the situation was more than the usual open and shut case of a young, working class, black man. However, the more we considered the possibility of those three going to McCulloch’s office to intimidate witnesses the more McCulloch seemed to be pushing the three’s logic to the point of stupidity. We mean, why would three individuals drive all the way to the office of the head prosecutor of St. Louis County in order to intimidate people they need only walk a few doors down to bother? The scenario is just all too convenient for McCulloch. Not to mention that the only person to testify that this was the case is cooperating witness, Anthony Davis.
18. If he did do this on his own, it is, in the eyes of the law, not entrapment, which is theoretically why he’s been able to do similar things in the past.
19. For example: 4321 Such-n-such Ave, instead of 321 Such-n-such Ave.
20. What the media failed to recount is the even more obscene “DEEP DOWN McENTEE’S OK” graffiti with accompanying gravestone.
21. Since his death family and friends of Bam Bam have dedicated a park bench to him. The ceremony took place on the two year anniversary of his death.
22. At the crux of Kevin’s trial, like so much of all trials were the defendant maintains their innocence, is the willingness of people to side with police and prosecutors over that of strangers and even their own friends or vice versa.
23. This seems to be a poorly thought out strategy. There’s only so many possible highways to rename and so many potential dead cops.
24. We don’t feel a need to give examples of the condescension and brutality (not to mention class traitorism) of police. If you or anyone you love has never been a victim of police harassment, you are probably on the wrong side of the social war. So yes, it goes with out saying that part of the reason we have taken an interest in Kevin is because he has been accused of attacking something we feel needs as much passionate annihilation as we can muster.
25. External as is there are people physically inside prisons who will attack them, while those of us physically outside of them will do the same.
26. Kevin Johnson (98460) / PO BOX 16060 / Clayton, MO 63105 - - - All mail must have a return address. Photos (not polaroids) are allowed if they do no contain nudity. Kevin may receive up to three books at a time, but they must come from a bookstore or publisher. There are a number of small bookstores around town willing to mail prisoners books not purchased in their store.
 
 

Comments

Re: Flimsy Convictions, Teetering States and Mercurial Wrenches: The Case for Kevin Johnson

wahhh
 

Re: Flimsy Convictions, Teetering States and Mercurial Wrenches: The Case for Kevin Johnson

The author has been vying for attention for years. Mommy and Daddy would medicate him and put him in front of the TV to keep him out of their hair.

In High School, he never did fit in and drifted towards the "radical" crowd who kept to themselves and were the class jokes. They consoled each other with self congratulatory contentions that they were the only ones who "get" it and somehow, felt more deeply than everyone else.

After High School, they toyed with college, didn't do well, told themselves they were too intelligent. Mommy and Daddy tried to send them away to school because by now, they were an embarassment. When they dropped out, mommy and daddy set them up with some property on Cherokee([search]) street where they found each other and joust at windmills. Some call themselves artists, primarily because mommy and daddy used to put all their artwork on the refrigerator while telling them how "special" they were.

Sooner or later they age out, realize their lives have not become what they'd hoped, and they hang out with a younger crowd as a kind of re-inforcement they really were the "cool kids."

They anti-social, I hate my class, I hate my race, I hate everything affectation remains a major theme.
 

Re: Flimsy Convictions, Teetering States and Mercurial Wrenches: The Case for Kevin Johnson

Does anyone care to discuss or argue about the actually CONTENT of the article?
 

Re: Re: Flimsy Convictions, Teetering States and Mercurial Wrenches: The Case for Kevin Johnson

I do care on this case as a citizen of the so called USA or do I live in old Russia. Please we need to help this kid!!! I will try with all my heart and sole to help him. Is this really the USA to let this happed to someone that has been abused in the past.. Have you ever been there. Apperently the jury has not been. This is not justified in my eyes It will not ever. I am a (white) (no color American) If this is our country that the Constitution says we are it is not RIGHT!!! I am a single parent of (4) children 2-boys and 2-girls. No they have not shot and killed anyone, but it could have happened, because of the bad that was brought upon them growing up in an enviroment of a bad marriage between my ex and myself. me to blame too. There are no angels here. wake up our country land of people.. Do not let this poor kid go. Our newspeople give you want to hear only lets give this kid a chance not death. Think about it... it could be ypur son our daughter.
 

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)
 

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