The Houston Forward Times has been following the story of Jules Moor, the 13-year old African-American teenager and his friend who were assaulted by a white middle-aged female in their neighborhood in Pearland, Texas.
The Houston Forward Times ran an exclusive story back in March 2012, “Vigilante Madness in Pearland......Not Just in Sanford, Not Just Trayvon Martin!”, that rocked the nation on the heels of the Trayvon Martin situation.
Deanna Johnson, the middle-aged White female decided to slam her 2011 Jeep Wrangler into Moor’s go-cart on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, and the police chose not to make an arrest on the scene or issue her a ticket. On top of that, the district attorney’s office chose not to charge Johnson with a crime, but rather chose to send it to a grand jury.
In a follow up story to our initial report, “Pearland Vigilante Gets Away! Why do the rules keep changing?,” we reported that after six weeks of testimony, the Brazoria County grand jury ruled on May 4, 2012, that no criminal charges should be filed related to the incident.
The Moor family filed a civil lawsuit against Johnson seeking damages for injuries allegedly related to the incident, along with the other young man involved in the collision.
On May 7, 2013, Johnson chose to settle both cases and avoid going to trial on the matter.
JOHNSON ADMITS WRONGDOING
In a joint statement, signed by Johnson and the Moor family, Johnson admits to wrongdoing and having an error in judgment.
The joint statement, signed and notarized on May 7,. 2013, reads:
“The Moors and Mrs. Johnson have arrived at an amicable resolution of the dispute that arose out of the Jeep/go-cart accident of March 13, 2012 in Pearland, Texas.
Although Mrs. Johnson’s only concern was for preventing injury to the boys or others, she agrees that in hindsight, she should have called the sheriff’s department instead of trying to stop the boys.
The Moor’s do not have any reason to believe that the actions of Mrs. Johnson were racist or racially motivated.”
Johnson, who was not indicted by a Grand Jury on criminal charges concerning these matters, did believe that her actions were irresponsible and worthy of settling these lawsuits out of court.
According to Moor family attorney Sylvester Anderson, Jules Moor and his friend will be receiving a sizeable compensation payout from Johnson until they graduate from high school several years from now.
Anderson states that out of the three things that they wanted from Johnson, she complied on two of them but did not want to apologize to either of the young men for what she had done.
As a matter of fact, as a result of our Forward Times reporting, Johnson had a statement released on her behalf by a PR firm, where she tried to share her side of the story and protect her image.
In that press release, Johnson’s attorney Dennis Slate, called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said that he was “confident the legal process will prove Johnson’s innocence.”
They never got that far, because Johnson and her attorney decided to settle the cases.
A DAY TO REMEMBER
Johnson was never indicted by the Grand Jury.
Two versions of what happened were considered by the Grand Jury. The families of the two teenagers claimed the boys were seriously injured after Johnson drove off the road and crashed her jeep into the go-cart. Johnson claimed she drove off the road to try and stop the boys who swerved and slid the go-cart into her parked car.
“There was no reason for me to be concerned about any injuries to the teenagers,” said Johnson. “They were wearing harness seatbelts, motorcycle helmets and did not show any signs of injury.”
According to court documents obtained from the Moor family attorney, Sylvester Anderson, Jules went for a ride in his go-cart in his neighborhood with another 13-year old boy who had been spending spring break with the Moor family. A third minor boy, another friend of Jules’, rode a small bicycle behind the go-cart.
Jules saw two cars behind him while driving back home, so he decided to drive his go-cart completely off the road to his right onto the grassy edge of the neighborhood park to avoid being in the way of traffic.
It is then that Jules states that Johnson swung her vehicle across the south-bound lane of the road, ran over the curb onto the grass and deliberately and intentionally rammed her vehicle head-on into the go-cart.
According to Jules, Johnson got out of her vehicle and confronted the boys in a hostile and threatening manner yelling “Where do you live? Who are your parents?” while shaking her finger at the kids. Jules goes on to say, “With all due respect, Ma’am, I live down the street,” to which Johnson allegedly tells him that she didn’t care and that she was calling the police.
Jules called his mother and told her that Johnson had hit his go-cart and didn’t know why.
“He thought he was going to die,” said Theresa Moor, mother of Jules. “All I could do was stop what I was doing, grab my keys and make my way to my child.”
As Theresa arrived, she saw that the go-cart had been damaged severely and learned from Jules that Johnson had accused the boys of not living in the neighborhood. As Theresa approached Johnson to find out what happened, Johnson put her palm up to her face in a dismissive manner, refused to talk, went back to her truck and rolled up the windows.
Frustrated at the way things were transpiring, Theresa contacted the police and several Brazoria County Sheriff’s deputies arrived.
According to Theresa, she overheard Johnson claim that she was trying to “detain” the boys because they looked like some kids that they had seen earlier riding bicycles onto the driveways of houses in the neighborhood.
Jules and the other 13-year old boy in the go-cart sustained back and neck injuries as a result of the wreck. The boys had collars placed on their necks, were placed on stretchers and taken by ambulance to the emergency room of Southeast Memorial Hermann Hospital. They were treated and released.
TRYING TO HEAL
According to Anderson, the Moor family wanted to help bring closure to this horrible incident and bring healing to the community. Anderson and the Moor family are still unclear as to why Johnson decided to do what she did and are still wounded because she never apologized for ramming her truck into the go-cart and jeopardizing the lives of the children.
Anderson states that parts of this entire legal process was troubling to him, especially when he had to file an emergency appeal to stop Johnson’s attorney and the courts from demanding that Theresa Moor’s telephone records be subpoenaed.
“I don’t think this was handled properly,” says Anderson. “Ms. Moor’s phone records had nothing to do with this case, because she wasn’t involved in the incident at all. On top of that, they also asked for Jules Moor’s school records. This was an interesting case all the way around.”
Anderson states that he has learned a lot from this case and encourages everyone to try and get proper representation on any civil or criminal matter.
The Houston Forward Times will continue to follow the progress of young Jules Moor and it is our hope that this incident and the proceeds from his settlement will help him grow and succeed.