Saturday, February 24, 2007

Who Murdered Army Pvt Lavena Johnson?



Update: Please Read My Blog Entry on The Rude Pundits Site. See Here.

______________________

This has to be one of the biggest stories in the Country that is not getting National Coverage.

Young Pvt. Lavena Johnson, a St. Louis Missouri area soldier, was killed in Iraq on July 19th, 2005. Evidence in the case points to assault and murder. However, the Army has been covering up the murder, calling the soldiers death a suicide instead.
This story is also being covered by blogger Shakespears Sister.

Immediately after her murder, The Army told her family that her death was not a suicide. But a short time later, the Army changed its story and called it a suicide by way of a self inflicted gunshot. The case was never properly investigated. The FBI should have taken over this case, once it appeared that foul play was involved.

The family put up an initial fight, but then the case faded.

Right after her death, I attempting to get more light shined on the issue. I wrote newspapers, and TV stations, without success. I guess they felt that it was more important to spend all of their time talking about Strippers like Anna Nicole Smith. I even attempted to get "Black Reporters" Tavis Smiley and Ed Gordon to cover this story, but neither of their programs ever responded to my e-mails via their websites.

I immediately saw red flags with this case, because the circumstances were so suspicious. First and foremost:

1. Lavena Johnson was not a candidate for suicide, based on all of the accounts that described her personality, demeanor, her spirit, etc. None of that pointed to suicide. Also, she was nearing the time when she would be coming home and had been making plans with her family.

2. Secondly, from a physical/scientific standpoint it would have been nearly impossible for her to shoot herself in the side of the head with an M-16 with her weak hand. The bullet wound was on the left side of her head, but Lavena was right handed. Typically this is not how a suicide would be done with an M-16 rifle. In addition, weapons residue & forensics tests showed that she did not even fire the weapon.

3. Her face and upper body showed signs that she had been beaten. She had a broken nose, a busted lip, and her front teeth had been knocked loose. The funeral service workers had to repair her face before her funeral. Other parts of her body also showed signs of trauma.

I did not want to push too hard at the time, because the family did not seem interested in dealing with the issue. They wanted to grieve instead.

But there are now new developments in the case, and the family is once again fighting for a new investigation. Local St. Louis TV Station KMOV Channel 4 covered the case this week, and even more evidence has surfaced in the case that was not previously reported. See video here. The new evidence supports the case that Lavena was brutally murdered in her tent.

This case should be brought to national prominence, because a disgusting injustice has been committed here. The killer or killers are out there walking free.

My theory on what may have happened to this young soldier? She was likely a victim of a rape or sexual assault of some kind, likely by superior officers or enlisted soldiers. In an effort to cover up their crime and keep her from telling anyone, they decided to kill her. The evidence in the case shows that the suspect (s) attempted to destroy evidence at the crime scene, including an attempt to try to set the crime scene on fire. The new information also shows that there was a blood trail leading outside from Lavena's tent. If she shot herself in the head with an M-16, then she would not have been able to get up and walk outside of her tent to create the blood trail. Another person would have had to do that.

OR an alternate scenario could be that Lavena was a witness to or knew of serious criminal activity involving officers or senior enlisted folks over there. She must have saw something or heard something, and her superiors knew that she could be a witness against them. In an effort to guarantee that she would not tell what she knew, someone decided to have her killed.

Either way, this case deserves National attention, and the FBI should get involved. From seeing other cases in Iraq involving Iraqi civilians, we know that these kinds of events have taken place. The problem with these kinds of cases involving soldiers overseas is that evidence is lost and potential witnesses and suspects are reassigned to other bases over a certain period of time. But this is exactly why this needs to be an FBI case, because any new case would involve several jurisdictions.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (or CID), which is typically responsible for investigating crimes on Army installations, has proved that #1. It may not have the resources and/or the manpower to investigate such a complex case, and #2. It has shown that it is not trustworthy in terms of being an impartial entity in this case. This is especially important if the offender or offenders were Army officers…and if the Army itself is involved in this cover-up.

Let's bring national attention to this issue so that justice can be served...for Lavena, her family, and for the other young women in the military who may have found themselves in similar situations (or will in the future), and may not have known how to seek help if help was even available at all. Women deployed overseas in the field are often isolated among men and often do not have the same support networks when they are deployed to warzones that they have when deployed Stateside.

This kind of vile injustice (far worse than what happened to Pat Tillman) should not be allowed to stand.


I Plan to Stay On This Story
________________________

Related Links

New Developments in Johnson Case

Women tell their stories about life in the Military - Story just adds credence to the Johnson case.

See the original 2005 media report
See Here

Earlier Blogs and Reports on This Story

Johnson And Tillman Families Deserve Answers

Post from Waveflux

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful that you are posting useful information that many of us are unaware of. It is true, and saddens me deeply that of all the many important issues the world faces we are constantly beaten DOWN by these fake images that have nothing to do with the way that life is unfoldng around us. We are fools of the greatest distraction it seems to the point where now it's like we don't even know it anymore. We think our life is merely our little day to day bubble ....and yes! That it is! BUT so much more......
It wasn't always like this...or was it? We used to stand up and have something to say....but that was before we all got desenstitized and re-sold back to where we have since already progressed.
What does one do who wants to write more than letters?????????
This is a sad affair, but does represent the state of america correctly to me. I will pray for the family of Lavena Johnson and whenever I can I will spread this word. I hope you post more about this.
Thank you for a thoughtful, provoking, insightful, educated blog.

field negro said...

Yo AI, thanks for posting this my man. This is why I love blogs like yours. I never even knew about this story.

Please believe that I will be right on top of this!

Peace.

The Angry Independent said...

Field...

Thanks a lot. And Please do keep up with this. The family is still trying to get the light shined on the case, so that maybe something could be done.

Pat Tillman got a lot of attention because his initial entrance into the Army as an NFL player (turning down the big bucks & being a hero) was used as a marketing tool for the Army and for the Bush administrations so-called "War On Terror"....which has ironically created more terrorists than it has taken out.

But Pvt. Johnson was not famous when she went in...so it's easier for the Army and the Bush administration to cover it up.

Meanwhile the media is STILL talking about a stripper...with all the other more important things going on. It's crazy! Lavena can't get a 10-15 minute segment????? Anna Nicole & Britney Spears get wall to wall, all day, all week, all month coverage?

Darfur can't get a 15-20 minute segment out of the whole week or a month?

Something is not right about this Country.... (of course you know that already since you are out in the field next to me). But it seems like it is getting worse by the day.

As the other poster mentioned above, the masses are being distracted from other issues.

pat said...

Dear Angry,
I found out about LaVena and her story from the blogs Angry Black Bitch and Shakespeare's Sister. I've blogged about her myself now, written four Senators and every media contact I could. I cannot believe the media is sleeping on this, but then again, very few in the mainstream media actually raised objections to the very-flawed planning and run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Maybe it will take some time, but I guess we just have to keep talking about LaVena and otherwise keeping the pressure up on those in the big house. Thanks for your post.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

Have you tried contacting www.democracynow.org? They've been running similar stories lately.

Anonymous said...

I think it's appalling that a more thorough investigation is not ongoing but do not ever bash the military that SHE herself deemed worth joining. Her father, as I would, wants to see justice done if warrented. At the same time some parents won't let it go because it gives less meaning to their kids life especially if it was a suicide.
I know for a fact CID will bust anyone for anything if it's wrong and I have yet in 13 years of military service have met a corrupt CID agent (not to say that it doesn't occur), they have to check and recheck then check again right down to the paperwork. The same goes with Company Commanders, everything of a major criminal nature WILL and DOES get reported the rest is discretionary depending on the severity of the crime and punishment is dealt in house, I think murder would be considered severe. It is sad that this occured and until all the evidence collected and presented, stop bashing the same ones keeping you safe at night even if you don't aggree on how they are doing it, until you get your ass up front and do our job you have no right to comment. 90% of the american public is a bunch of whining, self ritious ass holes who complain if their ipod skips a track but knows nothing about honor, duty, or protecting the republic. What's next? Someone killed her because she was black? Racial integration is key, priority #1 and anything less is NOT tolerated so if you want to bring that up look at her uniform and then go outside and look at dirtbag walk around with his boxers hang out and pants down to the crack of his ass! Two differant worlds, I can repeat, DO NOT COMMENT UNLESS YOU FIGHT IN MY BOOTS!

lostwithoutacause said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LAVENA'S LOST CAUSE said...

TO THE ARMY GUY ABOVE WRITING ABOUT DON'T BASH THE ARMY. YOU SHUT THE HELL UP LAVENA WAS A GOOD GIRL AND EVERYBODY WHO KNEW HER KNOWS THAT SHE WOULD NEVER I REPEAT NEVER HURT HERSLF OR ANYONE ELSE. YOU FEEL THE WAY YOU DO ABOUT THE ARMY BECAUSE AS A MALE YOUR SAFE. WE AS FEMALES DON'T NEED TO WALK IN YOUR DAM BOOTS. YOU TRY WALKING IN OUR DAMS BOOTS WITH A BUNCH OF HUNGRY VICIOUS MALES PREYING OVER YOU. TRYING TO FIND OUT WHO WILL GET THE FIRST TRY, AND WHEN THEY CAN'T WHO CAN GET YOU ISOLATED. I HAVE DONE MY TIME IN THE ARMY AND CAN SAY IT IS VERY UNPROMISING. CID INVESTIGATES THOROUGHLY TO WHAT THEY FEEL SHOULD BE. SOLDIERS DRINKING IN THE BARRACKS SEEMS TO BE ONE OF THEIR FAVORITES. HERE WE GOT SOMEONES LIFE TAKEN FROM THEM AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO WRITE DON'T KNOCK THE ARMY. THE ARMY KNOCKED HER AND HER FAMILY 2 YEARS AGO WHEN THEY CAME TO HER HOUSE CLAIMING THAT MY FRIEND COMMITTED SUICIDE. YOU SHUT THE HELL UP AND CONTINUE TO KISS ASS FOR RANK. I PRAY THAT GOD HAD MERCY ON YOUR SOULD AND YOUR DAUGHTER(S) IF ANY. I'LL BE READING ABOUT YOU NEXT IN THE PAPERS. ASSHOLE THROWS HIMSELF OVER A GRENADE SO HE CAN RECEIVE THE PURPLE HEART. THE PROBLEM IS, HE'S DEAD!!!!!!DUMB ASS

Anonymous said...

Hey, LAVENA'S LOST CAUSE
Learn how to use the caps lock.

First off bleeding congressman and senators force equality down our throats without ever serving themselves, we are forced into excepting females and gays into the ranks and it's people like yourself that "WANT TO DO YOUR DUTY" whether your wanted or not. Females, like gays hurt and demoralize more than they contribute...Why you insist that you want to serve when it's a crock of $hit is beyond me, no one wants to go to battle and this is proven time and time again when you get yourself pregnant when it's time to go into a war zone.

A real man doesn't doesn't want to think about protecting a female or having a gay dude next to him, in the history of warfare this has always been the case and look at the state of the nation now that corporations and bleeding hearts are controling it!

Second, no one said she was not a decent person and people are working on getting to the truth so why don't you read what I write instead of your racist, biased, attitute getting in the way.

In the barracks I have met the skankiest bunch of whores on the face of this planet who wish nothing but to be one of the guys, turn around and get married then divorced as soon as their tour is over and like I said earlier, nine times out of ten they get themselves pregnant in order to stay out of the war zone and you can't dispute this.

If you want to shock the parents explain why last cycle one of their "inocent daughters" was caught &ucking a guy in the dumpster while in basic training and claimed sexual harassment to try and get out of it?

I have seen more male soldiers go down because in a sexual harrassment case the female usualy wins...why? too many congressman and the idea that these "inocent little girls are raped" BULL $HIT, I have seen it time and time again when they throw their pu$$y up in the guys face and when she doesn't get her way in the relationship she brings up a charge for revenge. I've seen marriages break up and carreers ended because of this. The truth about our little girls hurts doesn't it? NO MORAL, GOD FEARING, SHY LITTLE GIRL, GOODY TWO SHOES JOINES THE MILITARY to kill the enemy for her country, wahhhh, a tear in my eye!

If you had a tough time in the military oh well, you shouldn't have joined, I guess the college money wasn't worth it..you could have done worse, you could have always blown someone for your tuition or gotton some student loans or how about studied a little harder and get a scholorship. The military is only there to protect the United States by KILLING THE ENEMY and breaking his $hit not to comfort the goals of feminists, the ACLU, the gay community or anyone else. We are not civil engineers, EMS, Peace keepers, local police, or goody two shoes....We are there to destroy the enemy so they cannot destroy us...PERIOD....and as soon as you people get that into you freakin thick, ipod listning, pants around the crack of your asses, heads then the world would be a better place...because in reality I don't give a damn about what you, Lavena's friends or parents think about me or the military, SHE KNEW what she was getting into, I suspect she was and adult who made an adult decision...so either pick up a weapon and stand to post or shut the &uck up, get the hell out of my way and let me do MY job so you can sleep comfortable in your bed tonight.

Anonymous said...

First, I'll like to say that I am very sorry that Army Pvt Lavena Johnson was murdered, and her case is unsolved. Secondly, I am bothered by the number of ignorant comments that are made based on assumption.It is very sad that females soldiers cannot feel safe around their high ranking officers.Every female soldier that is in the military should not be classified as whore.There are those of us who have morals, and beliefs that we will die for regardless of the price even if it means death.

Chad said...

I found the fact of the case extremely interesting, and I just hope that the arms of justice will prevail and they can find who committed this horrendous murder, and give the family closure

Eric said...

Anonymous @ 1:31AM, Please Shut Up!

I HAVE "fought in your boots" only in the Navy we call them Boondockers and your idiotic "Ooh-rah" crap is sickening. Bleeding hearts are the problem with the military? Not your chickenhawk heroes who get deferments or go on cocaine benders then awol to work on family friends political campaigns? Yeah, THAT'S what's right with our military... old men who never serve sending young men and women to die for dubious causes.

The military is FULL of corruption and if it means covering their own asses you can bet the farm that they would cover up a rape, a murder, a genocide. I wonder what ever happened to the concept of honor.

This debacle is NOT honorable!

Anonymous said...

In my personal experience, the CID has both good and bad Special Agents. Unfortunately, many CID Special Agents are not well trained, are overworked, or are simply corrupt. You may wish to contact MilitaryCorruption.com.
The points of contact at MilitaryCorruption.com can link you up with attorneys who are experienced in dealing with corrupt CID investigators.
Regards,
Ernesto

Anonymous said...

Has anyone contacted "Nancy Grace"? I occasionally watch her program and she is very adamant about "things of this nature" pushed under the carpet.

Anonymous said...

LaVena Johnson (In Memorial)

Just when you think you’ve heard it all,
Another name is slammed into a brick wall,
LaVena Johnson an Army Private First Class,
Is she the first? Certainly this PFC isn’t the last.

Is it any wonder Osama Bin Laden can’t be found?
With a criminal loose in our camp running around,
Destroying evidence, burning bodies, again & again,
Calling themselves soldiers, claiming they are men.

What a shame when the real enemy is on the same side,
Behind the color of camaraderie these cowards hide,
Punched in the face, loose teeth, she was only 5 feet 1,
The Army claims its suicide, that’s all, over and done.

How many before shooting themselves bust their own lip,
Severe enough to the point it needs more than one stitch,
Surprisingly they didn’t say she tried to saw herself in half,
Which lie would be easier to swallow? You do the math.

So, how did that chemical burn get on her private parts?
Oh yeah, maybe a tattoo, some kind of new wave art,
Why would someone waste time getting rid of DNA?
Just maybe without detection they’re free to get away.

The U.S. Army actually tried lying, hooray for her dad,
He gave that crap the smell test and oh did it smell bad,
7/19/05 her dead body found in a contractor’s tent, HBR,
Broken nose, black eye, shot in the head and body scars.

Military personnel or civilians aren’t we on the same side?
Who is the American Government protecting, why that lie?
Had to be someone with pull to get her alone, you’d think,
I don’t have to be standing next to skunk to know it stinks.

Where’s Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the infamous NAACP?
She could not have been more violated, do you not agree?
A 19-year-old honor student should be shown more respect,
But, this is how she’s being treated. Hey! What the heck?

Can’t call it racial because all women are treated the same,
Even academies and bases in the states there is this claim,
We are truly near the end of days soon God will work it out,
Vengeance will certainly be more than a punch in the mouth.

The Uniform Code Of Military Justice aka the U.C.M.J.,
But, where is this promise for LaVena, her assailant got away,
Judging by the condition of her remains, she put up a fight,
Now John and Linda Johnson are paving the road to right.

Funny thing though, seems they have a roadblock in Iraq,
It’s from the U.S. Army, who supposedly has their back,
The saying, “with friends like these who needs enemies?”
Guess the Army thinks first the perpetrator said, “please?”

Here's a little something to me that is simply down right scary,
The hole in her head was from a pistol, which she did not carry,
Oh yeah, if you think that's something how does this fact sound?
The fatal bullet that went through her head was never even found.

If there ever was this kind of incompetence in World War II,
Adolph Hitler or his off spring would be telling us what to do,
Oops, I don't mean us because there'd be no Blacks or Jews,
And only if the Furor liked Mexican food maybe a Hispanic or 2.

Whomever, wherever, whatever, an injustice did occur,
We can’t make it right for others without justice for her,
Hey, White House, the most powerful office in the world,
Do you have the gonads to speak out for this Johnson girl?

A petition was signed that is over twelve thousand strong,
The Army closed the case anyway saying nothing’s wrong,
Nothing like U.S. Intelligence, it’s the reason for the attack,
If they hadn’t been storing WMD’s we wouldn’t be in Iraq.

Poems By Luke Easter

AnnaC said...

Michele Martin had a segment on this story today at Tell Me More, here is the link to the story:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93493468

I am sorry that I had not heard of this story sooner.

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't the guy who the ARMY claimed to be LeVena's boyfriend tested for the same std that LaVena had?

Why did LeVena "go missing a few times" as mentioned by her two female friends? Was the guy she was seeing married? This action by her does not sound like rape. Why would she "sneak off" like that and return with no seen bruises? Plus, she said nothing to her mother about the rape during their last conversation.

This same guy who was claimed to be her boyfriend told a news reporter that LaVena was murdered and the ARMY disciplined the guy and now the ARMY is covering it up - who gave him this information?

Anonymous said...

This a response to that fellow soldier probably a guy. Well I was real close to leverna I trained with her and she what had happened to her was way out of character. Whether or not she was doing wrong murder is not right. I can say that sexual assault and rape does get swept under the rug, because I was a victim. I went through the chain of command and reported it while in Iraq, and nothing was done. Until I came home and reported It cilvilian side, it wasn't my fault and I did not led him into that direction. He happened to be my husband and my friend, so we thought. We were all on the same base were I felt safe on the FOB were going out I risked my life everyday for some piece of shit guy to mess with me. No. I am not a typical woman of the army. We are not all the same so don't label us; most of all soliders enlist to pay for school, it's not just woman. I joined to serve my country and to go to Iraq. I've been on 3 tours one of the few woman EOD so don't talk shit about all woman soldies. Just because your infantry wich I bet doesn't make you God so don't judge.

Mantra said...

Whatever happened to the case of Pfc. LaVena Johnson? Why did media support disappear? It's been 7 years since the death of Pfc LaVena Johnson and 7 years of unaccountability. When will the veil be lifted and justice prevail? Please refocus your attention on Pfc. LaVena Johnson. Ms. Johnson is a representative of all American Women currently serving in the Military.

Support the Petition to reopen the investigation of the Death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson and other military women who have died in "Non-combat" situations.
Sign the petition!

https://www.change.org/petitions/it-s-time-to-act-now-claim-justice-for-pfc-lavena-johnson

Brian E. said...

I never forgot about the case....but the Country definitely did.

Unfortunately I (and other bloggers) don't have a spotlight big enough. I did the best I could though.

Hope to write more about the case in the future.

In the meantime... there was a documentary released a couple of years ago. I wanted to get my hands on the film (to show what happened) but I couldn't.

Unfortunately... it seems that the documentary was made with the idea of the filmmakers worrying about rights and making money...as opposed to being made in the spirit of telling the world about the case, and informing the public (like a PBS piece would have done for example). Which is why the film mostly fizzled after it was released...and didn't do much to bring attention to the case...like many of us hoped it would.

Anonymous said...

This is beyond horrible. Yes, America is a wonderful country, but we still have some bad apples in our bunch. Wondering WHO could do something like this to a small statuted, young lady who apparently was awarded with "Good Conduct" under her belt. That means that most likely this was a woman who rarely if any caused problems and/or started mess.

If the person(s) who did this to her hasn't gotten caught, he/they still have to live with this. There is evil in the world but I'm so grateful that all of us eventually will REAP WHAT WE SOW. If whoever(s) responsible is still alive today, I could only imagine the torment his thoughts are putting him through. We have to live with our actions. He/they DESERVE TO LOOSE SLEEP FOR THE REST OF HIS or THEIR SORRY LIVES.

Anonymous said...

They claimed a friend of mine
's son committed suicide in 2008. He was in Iraq. His mom KNOWS he didn't. It was a coverup too. He was going to testify in a trial against one of his own, & turned up dead a short time before.