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Rally Held for Man Accused of Kidnapping, Rape and Murder

Posted May 26, 2007
Updated May 27, 2007

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— People in Wilson are calling for justice in the case of a man accused of murdering a young girl – and they support the suspect.

James Johnson has been in jail for nearly three years. He is charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of 17-year-old Brittany Willis. His family claims evidence proves he's innocent.

They organized a rally downtown, led by Johnson’s father, Arthur Johnson. James has waited nearly three years for his day in court.

“We want justice not just for James, but for everyone,” Arthur said. “But how can you have it when people that are supposed to impose it are not abiding by it?”

Arthur says DNA clears his son of the crime. Last year, Kenneth Meeks confessed to killing Brittany Willis and says he acted alone. But that's not enough to get James out of jail.

This Friday marks 35 months since James Johnson was brought to the Wilson County Jail. His parents want the charges dropped. They know it can be done, and they point to a high-profile example: the Duke Lacrosse case.

In January, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones called for a federal investigation into Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.

“We’re in Walter Jones’ district,” Arthur said. “That isn’t, but they were in a real hurry to rush in and their side or help.”

The rally got a little help from a man who has become a symbol for the wrongly accused: Darryl Hunt of Winston-Salem. He won his freedom after spending 18 years in prison for crimes he didn't commit.

“We’re tired of our young men and women getting locked up and their lives taken away from them,” Hunt said.

James Johnson's trial is set for July 23. The Wilson County District Attorney has repeatedly said he does not comment on ongoing cases.

84 Comments

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  • choppa May 27, 2007

    rdunham1 -at- nc -dot- rr -dot- com, I you have serious issues with Americans of African descent just because they are Americans of African descent. Time and time again you use distorted stereotypes and flat out untruths as reasoning for your dislike of Americans of African descent. People like you need an enemy to validate your own sad life.

    In light of the historical lack of fair treatment of Americans of African descent in American courts and the recent case of prosecutor misconduct in the Duke Lacrosse case many people are concerned about the judicial process in this case. This concern is elevated because 1)DNA evidence does not match this kid 2)the true perpetrator has admitted repeatedly that he acted alone and 3)he has been incarcerated for three years.

    These are facts. You obviously wants this kid convicted based on your on personal demons. We as a civilized nation can not allow you and others like you to commit such a blatant wrong.

  • elcid89 May 27, 2007

    "Wilson has internal political problems and the tax rates in this county are among the highest in the State."

    No argument on the political problems. Just about every county in this state has them. Regarding the taxes though, you guys don't have it too awfully bad. Like most places it depends on where you live. Wilson proper has a rate of 1.2300. I'm not up to date on whatever addons you have tht might be raising it. Compare that to the 1.6382 we pay in Charlotte. Charlotte also tacks an additional $30 on to your bill for every vehicle you have registered as well (in addition to county and city property tax on the vehicles.) Between the house and the vehicles, my tax bill last year was over 7 grand.

  • www.piss-on-cary.com May 27, 2007

    I'm totally disgusted that people always try to turn an issue involving a black as a racist issue!!! Crime is wrong no matter the color of the skin!!! In a perfect world there wouldn't be acts of violence committed, saddly were not living in a perfect world. People of all races will continue to break the law one way or another! It's one thing to go to jail for speeding but to go to jail because you inflicted harm onto someone else screams SICKO!!!!!!!!

  • rdunham1 May 27, 2007

    I say waite until the trial. He will be found guity by associatiation. So there.

  • Halyard May 27, 2007

    Wilson has internal political problems and the tax rates in this county are among the highest in the State.

  • Halyard May 27, 2007

    There's not much to keep someone like George here. I'd leave too if I could.

  • Halyard May 27, 2007

    Public Servant, I couldn't tell if AlwaysLovingU30 was a joke or not. After going through it a few times, I think it was for real.

    OMG!

  • elcid89 May 27, 2007

    "George worked with his father in the tobacco warehouse biz for a few years before he went into law. He was a Morehead Scholar always being in the top of his class @ Fike HS in the early 60's. Moved to the beach after his father died pursuing a career in law. What's wrong w/ that?"

    Nothing's wrong with it. I just thought it was amusing that you were holding him up as an example of Wilson's strengths and he didn't even like Wilson enough to stay there.

  • Halyard May 27, 2007

    George worked with his father in the tobacco warehouse biz for a few years before he went into law. He was a Morehead Scholar always being in the top of his class @ Fike HS in the early 60's. Moved to the beach after his father died pursuing a career in law. What's wrong w/ that?

  • Halyard May 27, 2007

    In speaking w/ him in October (in Morehead City), he resigned bc he's taking the time to enjoy the rest of his life living in the Morehead City/Atlantic Beach area, persuing other interests. (I would too if I could.) George is only a couple of years older than me, we've known each other since high school.

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