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NAACP Holds Rally for Wilson Murder Suspect

Posted September 16, 2007

— The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held another rally Sunday night for James Johnson. He was accused of the 2004 murder of a Wilson teenager.

Investigators said Johnson and Kenneth Meeks kidnapped Brittany Willis, 17, from a parking lot and robbed, raped and shot her in a field on Westshire Drive near the Brentwood Shopping Center.

Meeks pleaded guilty to the crime in April 2006 and is serving a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole. He said he acted alone. Meeks was 16 at the time of the crime, so he was ineligible for a death sentence.

Johnson has been in jail for nearly three years. He has always proclaimed his innocence.

NAACP officials said they believe Johnson was wrongly accused of rape and murder. More than 100 people filled the Trinity AME Zion Church Sunday to show their support for Johnson.

“The facts say no, the evidence says no, but the system keeps right on saying yes,” said the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Court records showed no DNA match to Johnson, and he passed a polygraph, but the district attorney in the case is moving forward.

“There has been a murder and a conviction. Now, we must prevent a lynching,” Barber said.

While Wilson County District Attorney Howard Boney Jr. said he will not comment on the case, NAACP leaders said they are prepared to fight. This week, they called for the state bar to investigate the prosecutor in the case. They're also collecting signatures to take to the governor next week.

“It’s a mistake or it is a deliberate attempt to create an injustice. I can’t tell which it is. I don’t know,” said UNC Law Professor Richard Rosen. “But I do believe [Johnson] should not be prosecuted for murder.”

Johnson’s trial begins Sept. 24.


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  • Realthoughts Sep 17, 2007

    Where is the apology to Duke University, City of Durham and the community? How can we believe anything the NAACP has to say?

    Dr. William Barber, where is the acknowledgment of you were WRONG?

  • Realthoughts Sep 17, 2007

    Where is the Duke apology? Apology to the the students and the Durham community? Where is the justice for our community? Shame Dr. William Barber and the group you represent!

  • jeebk04 Sep 17, 2007

    One can spin the truth to meet their bias every time...
    Moving on...hope this kid gets a fair trial, just like we all deserve. If he is fairly found guilty, so be it. If not, get off his case please.

  • the alliance Sep 17, 2007

    As long as the accused is given a fair, just and unbiased trial, and verdicts are reached based on sounds facts and evidence. There should be no problem.

  • Harrison Bergeron Sep 17, 2007

    "Harrison, the data I found on fbi.gov states the exact opposite of what you said. It states that anti-black hate crimes are far more prevalant than anti-white crimes." -jeebk04


    Actually, you are incorrect. I indicated that blacks are more than twice as likely to commit a bias crime than whites. You need to account for perpetrator offense rates; that is, number of offenses divided by population.

    To put it simply, the likelihood is based on the number of offenses divided by the perpetrators percentage of the population. Does that make sense?

  • jeebk04 Sep 17, 2007

    Harrison, the data I found on fbi.gov states the exact opposite of what you said. It states that anti-black hate crimes are far more prevalant than anti-white crimes.

  • slappyh99 Sep 17, 2007

    Just Thinking… For your information James Johnson has made statements to the media admitting to being at least an accessory after the fact. Criminals always try to minimize their involvement in the crimes they commit. His involvement is more than he is willing to admit. James Johnson is GUILTY. And who is this UNC law professor you keep referring too? Being from UNC his comments carry little weight. He has not seen ALL the evidence. His comments are based on inaccurate media reports. The NAACP shows up and uses smoke and mirrors to try to influence potential jurors. I hope the DA’s office brings jurors in from another county. The NAACP, the media, the Johnson family, and James Johnson’s attorney have done everything they can think of to sway potential jurors into falsely believing that James Johnson is innocent. If he want’s to prove that he is a decent human being he would plead guilty and save the Willis family the horror of having to go through the trial for this

  • Harrison Bergeron Sep 17, 2007

    Of course the NAACP is still relevant today. The Majority, like a well-fed cow, is filled with White-Guilt and ready to be milked. Nothing can destroy a career faster than being branded a racist. These shake-down artists know this, and travel from "travesty" to "travesty" making sure they get their cut.

    What they don't want you to know (or at least don't want you to talk about) is that according to BJS data:

    * Blacks are 7 times more likely than people of other races to commit murder.

    * Of the 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed yearly involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85% and whites commit 15%.

    * Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. 45% percent of their victims are white. When whites commit violent crime, 3% of victims are black.

    * Blacks are 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa.

    * Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes.

  • Mrs. Fabulous Sep 17, 2007

    No he did not plead guilty. The other boy did. He's the one serving a life sentence. Why are they holding on to this kid? Let him go. If he's not guilty of any crime, make him do probation for being with the other kid or something, but don't make him stay in jail and he's not guilty. I do not care what race he is.

  • gorgon01 Sep 17, 2007

    "please sir, all I did was watch her get raped and murdered" I'M INNOCENT!!!!

    Sounds like a bunch of Hoopla to me.