Victim’s sister takes the stand in Kendall Johnson trial
Longview, Texas (KLTV) - Thursday was day three at the Gregg County Courthouse in the criminal trial of Kendall Damaal Johnson, of Tyler, who prosecutors say influenced a friend to stab Lashekia Shardae Kenney to death in September of 2021.
That friend, Calvin Marcelus Anderson, of Henderson, pleaded guilty to murder in January but will not be sentenced until a verdict is reached in the Johnson trial.
The prosecution introduced two DPS investigators who specialize in blood and DNA. Samples were taken from the borrowed Chrysler 300 used during the murder, and the samples showed to be a match to the victim, Kenney.
Pastor Marshall Johnson of Dale Chapel Baptist Church in Tyler took the stand. Prosecution established that Pastor Johnson had known Kendall Johnson for more than a decade. Though not relatives, they were in the same fraternity at Texas College and Freemasons. Kendall told Marshall he had written a text he wanted Marshall to send to Lashekia after they had broken up.
“Do me a favor: have a personal heart-to-heart, face-to-face with him. Go to his house. That’s one thing he dreamed of, that one day you will say, ‘Hey, I’m about to come over and chill with you,’ and show up,” Pastor Johnson read.
Pastor Johnson said Kendall had written the note as if he were the pastor.
“He wanted me to send it on his behalf, and I did not,” the pastor said.
“As if you were saying it,” the prosecution said.
“As if I were saying it,” Pastor Johnson confirmed.
Kendall sent the pastor Lashekia’s number, but Pastor Johnson said he didn’t send the message. The pastor said later “there was a Snapchat message that went out to pray for Kendall because he was deceased.”
However, the pastor said the message was untrue and that Kendall claimed his account was hacked.
“People thought that it was just to get Lashekia’s attention, so when he came back, I had a stern talk with him,” the pastor said. He also said Kendall told him he was fine.
The prosecution established the two were friends. Pastor Johnson said Kendall called on Sept. 2 between 10:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.
“He asked me what I was doing. I said I was at home. I asked him what he was doing; he said he’s been to UT Tyler. He said he was visiting a young lady,” Pastor Johnson said.
Several Kilgore Police Officers testified including Detective Joseph Johnson who was at T Blanco’s Restaurant near East Texas Regional Airport. That was where Lashekia worked. The detective said surveillance video showed Lashekia leaving work and being followed down the road by a Chrysler 300 just after 10 p.m. Sept. 2.
Kilgore PG Lt. Joe Chitwood tracked down parking lot video from UT Tyler University where the borrowed Chrysler was returned to its owner. The driver worked at UT at the time. The drivers of the Tahoe, Kendall’s vehicle, and the driver of the Chrysler both got in the Tahoe and left the parking lot.
The victim’s sister, Kieristen Rossum, took the stand. She said she and her daughter were living with Lashekia. They were home that night, and she heard a boom at the front door.
“And, I turned on the light, and I just started screaming because now I know that there is blood, and I opened the door, and I said, ‘Lashekia, what happened?’ And, she wasn’t answering me, but I knew immediately to dial 911, so I ran after the phone and called 911,” Rossum said.
The state rested its case, and the defense did not offer any evidence. Closing arguments will be made at 9 a.m. Friday.
- Trial continues for Tyler man accused of planning murder
- Trial underway for Tyler man accused of forcing friend to commit murder
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