The frat house death of Gregory Johnson Jr. remains unsolved


by Joan Moss

The Johnson family is focusing attention on this photograph showing a jagged scar on the back of Gregory’s head. It is not consistent with the cause of death on the death certificate of this popular student well on his way to graduation: suicide by hanging.Rev. Denise Johnson, Gregory Johnson Sr. and their family still actively search for answers concerning the death of their son, Gregory Johnson Jr., in the basement of Sigma Chi Fraternity House on the San Jose State University campus on Nov. 22, 2008.

University officials concluded Gregory’s death was caused by ligature hanging and call the death a suicide, but an FBI investigator worked for months and told Denise that the police report she had received was not complete. FBI investigator Alex Kozant advised Denise to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the complete police report.

However, the officials in Washington, D.C., who looked at the investigation did not want to proceed with the case, according to what Kozant told Denise.

The Johnsons are still raising money to exhume Gregory’s body from Lower Lake Cemetery for an independent pathologist to do a second autopsy.

Gregory Johnson Jr. and his mother, Rev. Denise Johnson, celebrate his birthday with the family on Aug. 4, 2008, in a luxury suite at the A’s game – his birthday gift. – Photo: Sekou Gilchrist, Gregory’s big brotherPictures of a jagged scar on the back of Gregory’s scull that indicate a blunt force injury and the fact that a paramedic pronounced Gregory dead rather than taking him to the hospital are just some of the revelations Denise and Gregory Johnson Sr. are questioning.

“Why does the police report state that paramedics kept checking Gregory’s pulse?” asks Denise.

The Johnson family took many picture of Gregory’s body when it arrived to the mortuary for burial, and these pictures do not show scars on his neck that would have been evident from a ligature hanging.

Denise is working with Assemblyman Sandre Swanson and lawyers in the Bay Area to find justice and resolve her son’s death.

Bay Area writer Joan Moss can be reached at Her earlier, comprehensive story on the death of Gregory Johnson Jr. is online at


  1. kudos to the bayview and everyone that continues to help our family. we are encouraged by people who seek the truth amist so much lies and corruption to my beloved son you know who really cared for you i love you forever icry for you daily i cannot rest i ask God to make those responsible for your senseless death naked to the world i will never forget i emplore president obama and others to sand up and demand justice for students who are killed on campuses throughout the usa and their deaths are lied about. i believe the truth always finds it way to the top emitt till was murdered and all law enforcement knew the truth and government agencies knew it took years for the family to get justice have we stepped back into the injustice of the 1960s and before ….yes all of law enforcement in san jose knew what happened the DA the coroner the frat members so many were present when he died why did the police officers keep taking his pulse why didnt the fire medics take him to the hospital where a doctor could have addressed his injuries they did not even contact the closest hospital! all this happened in the land of the free home of the brave with justice for some.

    • On the video, you said Washington decided to do no further investigation? I don't understand why? This is clearly a suspicous death, and warrants thorough investigation. There are so many recent deaths, and other crimes against African Americans where law authorities are criminally involved, and the perpetrator goes unpunished, it makes you wonder is there some kind of take over. We are indeed revisting the injustices of the 1960's.

  2. I was just wondering. The article says there was a “scar” on the back of his head and that this indicated some type of trauma leading to his death? I’m not a medical expert by any means, but doesn’t the body stop any type of healing process, such as scarring, once the body is biologically dead? If this is the case, I don’t see how this could have caused his death because there wouldn’t be scarring, it would still be an open wound.

    Also when the article says “pictures of a jagged scar on the back of Gregory’s scull that indicate a blunt force injury….,” is this the opinion of the mortuary/doctor (i.e., a professional) or of the family/author of this article.

  3. just blind any intelligent person can see that he has a wound on the back of his head i see dried blood and redness on the right side of his scalp. and inside the wound. just blind did the wound turn red after he died !
    i would like to see this wound blown up.

  4. i feel so bad for this family it is
    clear that this was a cover up of a students murder . i was reading that chief andre barnes retired from sjsu in june, but now he is police chief at sf city college after 5 a half years at sjsu he needed to retire? the handwriting is on the wall! get out while you can still breathe

  5. I pray that God will reveal everything there is to know about the cause of this young man’s death. The God I serve will not let this stay in the dark. My heart and prayers go out to the Johnson family. God is still in control exclamation

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