Lennon Lacy, 17, was found hanging from a swing set on August 30, 2017. Lennon was a linebacker for his high school football team, went for a walk, as he usually did, and never returned home.
On the morning of August 30, 2017, a 911 call was made at 7:25 a.m., Lennon’s body had been discovered. According to document written by an expert pathologist hired by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), “Investigative information provided was that he was found by one individual and a different female called 911 and stated that she was going to cut him down.” Emergency Medical Technicians arrived on scene at 7:30 a.m. and pronounced him dead. The coroner arrived on scene at 8:20 a.m. and found Lennon’s body lying on the ground; he was wearing white Nikes without any laces and was covered in fire ants. The noose was fashioned out of two belts (one was “blue canvas” and the other was “black and webbed”) which had been tied together. Dr. Deborah Radisch, the medical examiner completed the autopsy and determined the cause of death to be asphyxia due to hanging. Dr. Radisch. also “failed to find any signs of struggle or fight” and the manner of death was ruled a suicide. Hubert Kinlaw, coroner, also ruled his death a suicide.
The Lacy family did not believe Lennon would take his own life. He had been working hard in school to be able to play in an upcoming football game. He had packed his gym bag for the following school day. The NAACP became involved and hired an outside party to do an investigation. Dr. Christena L. Roberts, who is an expert pathologist, reviewed the protocols and information collected by the police and the SBI.
Lennon had left his house wearing gray Air Jordan sneakers, size 12; he was found wearing white Nike’s, without laces, size 10.5. The white Nike sneaker were lost in transportation.
Lennon’s hands were not bagged to preserve DNA. His body and under his fingernails were not forensically examined.
It was determined that there is a variation of the choke hold, the lateral vascular neck restraint, could show the same cause of death as a hanging. Both the original medical and the follow up pathologist agreed an autopsy would not be able to distinguish if the cause of death occurred by the choke hold, then was places in the noose.
The noose that was found did not appear to be cut – as the 911 caller stated she did. The original Medical Examiner, Dr. Radisch, agreed a portion must be missing.
Lennon weighed 207lbs and took 3 men to help move him. It is unlikely the 911 caller, who was an older woman, would have been able to remove Lennon from the swing set.
An item for Lennon to stand on was not located at the scene. The only way he would have been able to hang himself if he had climbed up the swing set base, as the swing set did not have any swings on it for him to stand on.
It may be important to note that Lacy attended the funeral of an uncle who he was close with the day before he died and had been asking questions about death. Though his family states he was not depressed just processing what happened.
Another notable point to add is Lennon’s relationship. He had recently been dating an older (15 years his senior) white woman, Michelle Brimhall. Brimhall may have been using substances at the time and there are theories that he may have been killed due to drugs. There are also theories that Brimhall may have known what happened to him. Brimhall stated in an interview with the Daily Mail she believes he was killed for because of their interracial relationship. There is also a theory that Brimhall’s ex-husband killed Lennon. Nothing is confirmed.
Days after his funeral, Lennon’s grave was desecrated; a hole was dug on his grave and the flowers were thrown near the road.
The Lacy family had tried to Lennon’s his case reopened. They wanted to know why nobody was questioned, interviewed, or spoken to. They also state that the two belts that were tied together to form the noose did not belong to Lennon. They have many unanswered questions and firmly believe that Lennon was murdered.
The FBI launched their own investigation and did not find anything substantial and ruled the death a suicide. There is a summary of their findings here:
PBS made a documentary about the death of Lennon Lacy titled Always in Season. You can learn more about the documentary here:
You can also read the autopsy and Dr. Roberts’s pathologist report here: