Charges filed against two men suspected of killing Burlington teen

BURLINGTON, Iowa - Charges have been filed against two men suspected of shooting and killing a 16 year old Burlington High School student.

People living in Burlington say the charges are bringing hope to the community.

On Friday, December 30 2016 News 8 spoke with Des Moines county attorney, Amy Beaver who says she has filed first degree murder charges against two Missouri men accused of killing Kedarie Johnson in March of this year.

Neighbors living in the area say a conviction... will give johnson's family and the community closure.

Jenna Sansone remembers the night she saw Kedarie Johnson’s lifeless body in an alley behind her Burlington home.

“His head was up here and his feet were up there. I called 911 and was on the phone when the police came,” remembers Sansone.

The 16 year old Burlington High School student had been shot to death.

For almost 10 months investigators worked to piece together the crime. Now, the Des Moines county attorney says she will pursue first degree murder charges against two men now in Missouri suspected of killing Johnson.

People living in this Burlington neighborhood say they're relieved to hear the case is moving forward.

“I think that's important for the young people in the community that lost someone so dear to them,” says Sansone.

“I’m happy there are charges being filed and hopefully those responsible will pay for it but it's happening more and more often in Burlington,” says Justin Payne, who lives in the Burlington neighborhood where Johnson was found.

The increasing crime in the area is why organizations like Lets take back Burlington Iowa have been supporting those impacted by Johnson’s death.

“This case I think has pulled on the heartstrings of everybody in town.  16 years old is entirely too young to die from any cause let alone to be brutally murdered,” says Andrea Horton, Organizer of Lets take back Burlington Iowa.

Horton hopes this case will be a stepping stone to closing other unsolved crimes.

“If you come to Burlington and you get to know the people here. There is an amazing community that would give you the shirts off their back,” added Horton.

Jenna is one of the many neighbors standing behind the victims in this case and says in time Johnson’s family will find justice.

“I told them they could put a stone right here. I know it's been a long time. It’s felt like a long time,” says Sansone.

Those who knew Johnson say he identified himself as gender fluid and believe his murder was a hate crime but investigators and prosecutors have not confirmed that.

The Des Moines county attorney also says no hate crime charges will be filed in this case.