The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Hate crime targets LGBT youth

On March 2 2016, the body of LGBTQ teen, Kedarie Johnson, was found in an alley in Burlington, Iowa. His chest was filled with gunshot wounds and a black plastic bag was placed over his head. Earlier that day, Johnson had told a friend that he was afraid of a boy named “Lumni” and that a red car had been following him.

Pages of court documents explain the brutal killing and evidence suggests that he was also sexually assaulted. An empty bottle of chlorine was found beside him and the Iowa Department of Criminal Justice, along with the local police, decided that the homicide “indicates planning and preparation to cause the death of Johnson, as well as efforts to conceal and destroy items of evidentiary value connected to the homicide.”

Katrina Johnson, Khadari’s mother, is sure that his life was taken because of his LGBTQ identity. “I have always said it was a hate crime,” Katrina Johnson said. “I had to view his crime scene photos, and the photos in itself, it screams hate crime all over it.” Her son had been wearing women’s clothes and a long hair weave during the time of his killing.

The case has received national attention and Christopher J. Perras, a Justice Department hate crime lawyer, was recently added to the prosecution’s team. The FBI, along with the Department of Justice, have taken part in the case.

Jorge “Lumni” Sanders-Galvez, 23, and Jaron “Wikked West” Purham, 26 were charged with first-degree murder in January of this year. In Iowa, the Class A felony involves a life sentence. He may also face the death penalty if an indictment on a hate crimes charge is handed down in federal court. Sandars-Galvez had a hearing on October 19 2017 and his trial will begin tomorrow.

Johnson’s funeral took place on March 9 of 2016 and the following day, the house where Sanders-Galvez and Purham were staying was searched. There, a backpack with Johnson’s school ID, a fake fingernail, a box of black plastic bags and used condoms were found.

The incident has taken a toll on the life of Johnson’s mother. Earlier, she felt as though the wound was healing but with the upcoming trial, she feels it has just reopened. She hopes that after the nerve-wracking trial, she might find a “little peace of mind”.

“Dealing with a mother’s pain like this, that is something you can never be ready for,” she said. “I don’t care how strong she is, you can never be prepared to actually come face to face with the person that has participated in taking your son’s life.”

Katrina Johnson still has not removed her son’s clothes from his closet and whenever the pain is too striking, she pulls out her phone and watches videos of her son. “When all you have left to go on is pictures and the [photographic] memories and the videos and stuff that you have in your phone, it’s, like, it’s never enough. I can never feel that warmth anymore.”

View Comments (1)
Donate to Spartan Shield
$480
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa. Your contribution will allow us to purchase needed equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Alexia Lara, Student Life Editor
Hi, I’m Alexia Lara. This year I am a senior and the student life editor for the Spartan Shield. I enjoy playing softball and I am lucky to be a part of Pleasant Valley Softball’s first state title. The next chapter in my life will be taking place at Drake University in Des Moines.
Donate to Spartan Shield
$480
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All Spartan Shield Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • S

    SamanthaNov 20, 2017 at 9:15 am

    You mention in the article that Kedarie was apart of the LGBTQ+ community, but you didn’t mention what part (lesbian, transgender etc) Would you mind mentioning it in the comments because I am curious.

    Reply
Activate Search
Hate crime targets LGBT youth