For the Mississippi Goddam series, the Reveal team spent three years reporting on the suspicious death of Mississippi high school football player Billey Joe Johnson Jr. during a traffic stop. This page collects important documents, police reports and official files that the team obtained while reporting the story. We’re sharing these files with the public because of the lack of transparency and accountability around Mississippi’s system of investigating these types of incidents. We’ll be updating this page throughout October and November 2021, as new episodes air.
These documents have been redacted to remove personal information.
Explore the files:
- George County grand jury report on Billey Joe Johnson Jr.’s death, published Feb. 9, 2009
- Incident reports: Reports by George County Sheriff’s Deputies Joe Sullivan and Eric Purvis on the traffic stop that ended in Johnson’s death
- Mississippi Bureau of Investigation diagrams of the parking lot where Johnson died
- Lucedale Police Department incident report on an alleged break-in at Hannah Hollinghead’s father’s home
- Narrative summary by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation of the scene of Johnson’s death
- List of witnesses scheduled to testify before the grand jury looking into Johnson’s death
- Color of Change petition to then-George County District Attorney Tony Lawrence, asking his office to examine inconsistencies in the police investigation of Johnson’s death
- Autopsy report by the Mississippi State Medical Examiner’s Office
- Computer-generated image prepared for the grand jury showing how Johnson allegedly shot himself
- Department of Justice report on Johnson’s death
- Case report from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation
- Mississippi Crime Lab forensic reports
- Dashboard camera footage: This is one of two videos taken from Lucedale (Mississippi) Police Department dashboard cameras on the morning of Billey Joe Johnson’s death. It is from the patrol car driven by Sgt. James O’Neal, who responded to the 911 call of a break-in at the home of Ed Hollinghead, the father of Johnson’s ex-girlfriend, Hannah. (Note: The time stamp on the dashboard camera is incorrect. These events happened approximately between 5:20 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. Some of the subtitles may not be 100% accurate or complete due to cross-talk and poor audio quality.)
Listen to the Mississippi Goddam series here.