DNA test for Benton sought

Full story: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Tracy Thomas doesn't sleep well at night. Since the murder of her sister, Cynthia Thomas in 2005, she has struggled with the healing process.
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A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#1 Jul 6, 2006
Lily Gordon, reporter for the Ledger, could have a big story on her hands. However, I wonder if she will have the courage to pursue this matter. Kenneth E. Davis, District Attorney, received a complete report from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences on June 15, 2006. This report included: report of autopsy, toxicology report, and examination of biological evidence report. DNA testing and fingerprint analysis do not match. However, there are some hair combings that need to be sent to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia for further testing. Buster Landreau, Russell County Chief District Attorney, states, "Do we want them [Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences] to consume resources and time on a case where the defendant is deceased or do we want them to focus on cases that will go to trial" I feel this was a very callous statement. Both families need answers! The public needs answers! There could still be a killer walking the streets. Thinking that he or she has gotten away with this horrible crime. Hopefully, the State of Alabama will do the right thing and have these hair sent off for testing.
Angelika_Phenix City

Troy, AL

#2 Jul 6, 2006
I really wish that this information would be made public and that more people would respond. Thank you for caring enough to make this information public. I have tried to involve the media too but so far with no success.
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#3 Jul 7, 2006
I have just begun, and feel as though I have a long way to go. However, I will do everything in my power to find out the truth. The November 2005 beating that was inflicted on Johnny and the other inmates of the Russell County Jail is almost beyond belief, but I know for a fact that it happened. This is not the only time someone authorized jail guards to beat this child. I wonder who gave them this power? The psychological and physical abuse Johnny went through is almost beyond comprehension. I just don't understand how people could keep quite about this. How can they sleep at night? To not speak up really tells it all. They have no heart and certainly no courage. If I am not correct about this, prove me wrong. Speak up and do the right thing!
Angelika_AL

Troy, AL

#4 Jul 9, 2006
Well, I began in November 2005 right after I heard what happened that night from my son, another inmate and his mother, and from a lawyer who works for the Russell Court Hause. He told me that "everybody in that court room the next day knew what had happened that night." Phenix City "used to be a corrupt city" ?! What about today????? Too many people that I have talked to since November 2005 have told me how corrupt this city is. Well, the authorities of this city, not its citizens. I have made one last final attempt to ask the authorities to do the right thing, and I am leaving the rest to God, who already knows the truth. I have family too and I fear for their safety. My conscience is just not letting me keep quiet about this; especially after Mr. Benton took his own life!
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#5 Jul 11, 2006
How do we know that Johnny took his own life? Because we have the word of the same people that are covering up the Novemeber 2005 beating of inmates at the Russell County Jail. The ABI's report will not be back for almost a year and the autopsy report will not be back for about nine months. Not only was Johnny on protective custody at this facility, but he had all of his priviliges taken away 26 days prior to his death. This included: mail, phone calls, visitation ect. He sat in that cell 23 hours a day with no outside contact. This sure did give the Russell County Jail guards a lot of leadway to inflict any manner of psychological and physical abuse on this young man. Who would have known about it right? What I find strange is that he was to have all of his priviliges reinstated four days after his death. If you are thinking about the article in the Ledger, which quotes Tommy Boswell emphasizing portions of a note that was found in Johnny's cell after his death, let me set the record straight! Tommy Boswell states, that Johnny wrote in that note," My life is not worth living and I will see you in heaven". THIS WAS NEVER WROTE IN THAT NOTE!!! I agree with you. Not only my conscience but also my heart will never let me keep silent about this horrible situation.
Angelka Sherrill_AL

Phenix City, AL

#6 Jul 11, 2006
I have talked with Mr. Tim Reid from WRBL, Channel 3 news for over 30 minutes yesterday. Out of these only two of my remarks were broadcasted out of context. I wrote Mr. Reid a fax this morning indicating that he left out some very important points. I e-mailed WRBL indicating that I have faxed Mr. Reid this information and that I want this to be broadcasted too so that the viewers understand what I was trying to say. Will they do it? I don't know. It seems to me that they are easily satisfied with Chief Alexander's remark that the AL Department of Corrections has investigated and cleared the jail of all wrongdoing. Investigator Demus lied to me when he told me in March 2006 that he is from the ABI (Alabama Bureau of Investigations). He is from AL Dept of Corrections and he has not thoroughly investigated. In fact, he has put the inmates in even more danger because they have to endure the retaliations now. Demus told me over the phone in March that according to Sgt. Bussey (Russell County Jail) my son had "fully cooperated with jail personnel" but that Dr. Warr (Russell County Jail) has verified my son's injuries. He told me that there is "no evidence that my son got abused" and that too much time has past. He said that my son does not have any injuries on him now (then 5 months later) and that he is fine. He also told me that "prisoners lie all the time." And that after he told me a bold face lie! Lt. Ricky Peak from ABI does not know Demus, but Demus told me that Lt. Peak has asked him to investigate. If I want a copy of the investigation report, I would have to supoena it, that means I have to pay a lawyer, because that is the only way I would get a copy.
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#7 Jul 12, 2006
I'm not sure if I am understanding what you are saying. You spoke with Investigator Demus in March of 2006. At this time, he admitted that Dr. Warr from the Russell County Jail had documented your son's injuries, but in the same conversation states there was no abuse because to much time has passed? In addition, he misrepresented himself as working for the ABI. Are you stating that Sgt. Bussey did the right thing in reporting this abuse to Investigator Demus, but he did not care because to much time had passed? Let me get this straight, Investigator Demus stated that prisoners lie all the time, but he does not put any importance on the lies he told you?
Angelika Sherrill_AL

Troy, AL

#8 Jul 12, 2006
A Jacobs wrote:
I'm not sure if I am understanding what you are saying. You spoke with Investigator Demus in March of 2006. At this time, he admitted that Dr. Warr from the Russell County Jail had documented your son's injuries, but in the same conversation states there was no abuse because to much time has passed? In addition, he misrepresented himself as working for the ABI. Are you stating that Sgt. Bussey did the right thing in reporting this abuse to Investigator Demus, but he did not care because to much time had passed? Let me get this straight, Investigator Demus stated that prisoners lie all the time, but he does not put any importance on the lies he told you?
You got almost everything straight except that Sgt. Bussey told Investigator Demus that my son fully cooperated and, therefore, did not get beaten up that night. When Demus told me that over the phone in March I requested for him to talk to Dr. Warr - which Demus did not want to do at first because he did not saw a need for that since there was nothing in my son's health record that he even went for treatment. I insisted for Demus to talk to Dr. Warr and I told him that Dr. Warr verified the injuries of my son over the phone to me (I recorded that conversation. Demus finally asked Dr. Warr and he called me back the next day to tell me that Dr. Warr verified the injuries to Demus too, but Demus still told me that there is no evidence that my son got abused. He also told me that I cannot speak for the other inmates but told me that one of the other inmates told him that he got kicked by somebody in the back of his head that night. This inmate wrote a statement too and listed a lot of names then. Unfortunately, he is still an inmate at Russell County jail and I believe that he is receiving retaliations too. All of this could have been prevented if an investigation would have been started when it was promised to me, which was in November 2005! If you have valid information, please make it public as soon as possible! My very short interview was broadcasted on WRBL on Monday, July 10. Chief Alexander said that my son is a troublemaker and they had to move him and other inmates into a more secure area. He also said that they had to carry my son because he refused to be moved. If that would have been the case, my son would have gotten a disciplinary, but he did not get one from Russell County jail. He also said that AL Dept. of Corrections has cleared the jail of any wrongdoing.(5 months after the abuse happened from an agency that was supposetely not authorized to investigate and investigated under false pretense!)
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#9 Jul 13, 2006
I have already tried to make it public on Tuesday. Don't give up! I'm working on it. I will never let this matter drop!
Angelika Sherrill_AL

Troy, AL

#10 Jul 13, 2006
A Jacobs wrote:
I have already tried to make it public on Tuesday. Don't give up! I'm working on it. I will never let this matter drop!
You said that you tried to make it public. What happened? Did you watch the news on channel 3 on Monday? I have replied about this because my comments were totally taken out of context. There should be an open letter in the Ledger either this week or next week, unless they decide not to publish it.
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#11 Jul 14, 2006
Yes, I knew that you had been on channel 3. I tried to back up what you were saying in regard to the November 2005 incident. I have a feeling that the Ledger will publish your letter. I would like to explain what happened, but no telling who is reading these post. I will say it was not a bad outcome, it will just take a little longer than I had expected.
russell county student

Wilmington, OH

#12 Jul 22, 2006
did Johnny stop to think about the woman or her children before he inflicted a pain upon those girls far worse than what he is getting? I'm not saying he deserved it, but what goes around comes around.
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#13 Jul 23, 2006
Russell County Student:

Have you been reading the paper? Have you read the last article (July 13, 2006) which states there is no Forensic evidence that links Lamar Johnny Benton to this crime? Do you understand that the only way Investigators could obtain a confession from him was because he was under the influence of durgs at the time, did not have an attorney present for over seven hours of questioning, and he had never been in trouble with law enforcement before and he did not know his rights? Do you not find something strange about this? I certanily do! There is a very good chance that Johnny is innocent of this crime and there is still a murderer walking the streets. Yes, my heart goes out for Ms. Thomas' family. Does yours? If so, your remarks were out of place. Now, not only does this family have to deal with her lose, but they will never have closeure to this matter.
Blind Justice in AL - -

Troy, AL

#14 Aug 5, 2006
Patrick Swiney is a good example how the justice system here in Alabama works. Maybe you need to go that topic to find out how other people have fared that were trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it is not only Alabama that is infected with this "gangrene" of injustice, but it has taught me a lesson not to be so naive to trust the authorities to do the right thing. And still, we should be in subjection to the authorities as long as it is not something that violates God's laws and standards!? Daniel 2:44
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#15 Aug 6, 2006
Naive, yes I can certanily relate to that word. My parents brought me up to trust the authorities. They were the good guys; the ones you could count on at every turn. However, I have come to find out that they are the ones who abuse the power that they are given. Yes, I definitly was naive once, but never again. There will come a time when God will decide if they did the right thing. I wonder if in their darkest moments they understand this and pray for forgiveness.
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#16 Aug 20, 2006
Another Sunday has passed and still no new results. Are the officals, if that is what you want to call them; I can think of far mor accurate names, sleeping well? If so, I simply say enjoy it why you can because God will have the final word! God knows the truth he sees inside of your heart. A young man was accused of a crime that he did not commit, beat physically and mentally by guards at the Russell County Jail, and has died from these abuses. Citizens of Alabama seem not to care. Even though a murderer is still walking the streets, it is easier to just blame it on this young man than find out the truth. Shame on Alabama!
Blind Justice in AL

Phenix City, AL

#17 Aug 23, 2006
Unfortunately, some people here in Phenix City actually believe that he killed Mrs. Thomas just because the Sherrif says so. I tried to reason with one person but I got this weird feeling that I suddenly needed to watch my back. What is happening to freedom of speech and trying to find out the truth???!!!
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#18 Aug 27, 2006
Yes, this is certainly unfortuante because there is no evidence linking him to this crime. Some people need to read the newspaper!
Blind Justice in AL

Phenix City, AL

#19 Aug 30, 2006
John Karr's DNA testing came back negative too. They cannot link him to the crime and he said that he killed her. What is the difference between him and Johnny Benton? I do not see any, except that somebody drove Johnny to commit "suicide"?!?! Why is human life not human anymore just because you ae in jail or prison?
A Jacobs

Atlanta, GA

#20 Sep 1, 2006
Innocent until proven guilty. What a bunch of crap! This child was never proven guilty of this crime! DNA does not match and the confesion was obtained through unethical means. The difference in the cases are: John Karr's case was publized so much that authorities had to do the right thing. Whereas, with Johnny they had a young, poor, and uneducated child that was represented by two attorneys,paid for by the state, that did not do their job. When you look at Dunaway VS Newyork 1979, you realize that the authorities had no probable cause to detain Johnny in the first place. However, due to sorry, uncaring, money grubing public defenders this child's life was lost. Therefore when you add this into the equation in regard to the physical and psychological abuse this child suffered in the Russell Couonty Jail,you come to a conclusion that something has to be done. We as a society can not sit back and let this kind of behavior continue. Enough is Enough!

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