Military Murder Podcast Featured the Suspicious Death of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Lavena Johnson in Balad, Iraq (July 27, 2020)

“Lavena Johnson was a smart, witty woman, born and raised in Missouri.  Her senior year of high school she decided she would join the Army in an effort to not burden her parents with out of state tuition for college.  Although Dr. Johnson (Lavena’s dad), begged her not to join the Army – she did so anyway.  She thought the Army was a good deal – you serve your country a few years and then you get 4 years of college paid! Recruiters promised her she would likely not deploy, even though in 2004 there was an uptick in deployed troops.”

Listen to Ep 40:  Did Lavena Johnson commit suicide? on the Military Murder Podcast here.

Related Links:
Ep40: Did Lavena Johnson commit suicide? | Military Murder Podcast
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Investigation Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)
‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq (July 1, 2014)
The Generation Why Podcast Featured the Suspicious Death of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Balad, Iraq: Was It Suicide or Murder? (November 19, 2017)
The Strange & Unexplained: ‘The Biggest Suspicious Unsolved Military Mysteries’ (August 15, 2018)
Crime Junkie Podcast Featured the Suspicious Deaths of LaVena Johnson & Tina Priest in ‘Conspiracy: Women in the US Military’ (October 22, 2018)
Seven Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System

15 Movies and Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System

A Few Good Men (Sony Pictures):

Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a military lawyer defending two U.S. Marines charged with killing a fellow Marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Although Kaffee is known for seeking plea bargains, a fellow lawyer, Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), convinces him that the accused marines were most likely carrying out an order from a commanding officer. Kaffee takes a risk by calling Col. Nathan R. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) to the stand in an effort to uncover the conspiracy. -A Few Good Men, Sony Pictures Entertainment (December 9, 1992)

About | A Few Good Men | Sony Pictures Entertainment (Drama)

Soldier’s Girl (Showtime):

New Army recruit Barry Winchell is assigned to a base in Tennessee. One night out to a local bar hosting a drag show. Calpernia Addams an in-transition transsexual drag queen, fascinates Barry, and they strike up a relationship. -Soldier’s Girl, Showtime (January 20, 2003)

Showtime Entertainment Released ‘Soldier’s Girl’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Barry Winchell

In the Valley of Elah (Warner Bros):

“In the Valley of Elah” tells the story of a war veteran (Tommy Lee Jones), his wife (Susan Sarandon) and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective (Charlize Theron) who helps in the investigation. -Warner Bros. (September 14, 2007)

Warner Bros. Premiered ‘In the Valley of Elah’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Benning Army Spc. Richard T. Davis

The Tillman Story (The Weinstein Company):

Pat Tillman never thought of himself as a hero. His choice to leave a multimillion-dollar football contract and join the military wasn’t done for any reason other than he felt it was the right thing to do. The fact that the military manipulated his tragic death in the line of duty into a propaganda tool is unfathomable and thoroughly explored in Amir Bar-Lev’s riveting and enraging documentary. -The Tillman Story (August 20, 2010)

The NFL, the MilItary, and the Hijacking of Pat Tillman’s Story

The Wounded Platoon (Frontline PBS):

The Wounded Platoon

Since the Iraq War began, soldier arrests in the city of Colorado Springs have tripled. FRONTLINE tells the dark tale of the men of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st battalion of the 506th infantry, and how the war followed them home. It is a story of heroism, grief, vicious combat, depression, drugs, alcohol and brutal murder; an investigation into the Army’s mental health services; and a powerful portrait of what multiple tours and post-traumatic stress are doing to a generation of young American soldiers. –The Wounded Platoon (May 18, 2010)

Frontline PBS: The Wounded Platoon Documentary [Full Episode]

On the Dark Side of Al Doura (Maverick Media):

U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow soldiers in Al Doura, Iraq. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which, in the public interest, are now released in this video. John paid a terrible price for his opposition to these acts. His story is tragic. –On the Dark Side in Al Doura (2011)

On the Dark Side in Al Doura (Iraq): Documentary Gives You an Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the U.S. Army

The Invisible War (Cinedigm):

The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire with the number of assaults in the last decade alone in the hundreds of thousands. -The Invisible War (June 22, 2012)

Military Rape Documentary Funded and Distributed by “Serial Predator” and Hollywood Movie Executive Harvey Weinstein

Women of War Documentary (Sundance Films):

Military Sexual Trauma or M.S.T. has been a fixture in the military for as long as human war has existed, and is still quite prevalent even in today’s modern military. This feature length documentary uncovers the origins and offers solutions to M.S.T. -Women of War Documentary (February 4, 2013)

Women of War Documentary, Phil Valentine [Full Episode]

The Frozen Ground (Grindstone):

“The Frozen Ground” is inspired by the incredible true story that follows Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) as he sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years. As the bodies of street girls start to pile up in Anchorage, fear strikes a chord with the public. -The Frozen Ground (August 23, 2013)

Serial Killer & Army Reserve Veteran Robert C. Hansen Died of Natural Causes While Serving Out a Life Sentence in Alaska State Prison

The Silent Truth (Midtown Films):

Ninety-four US military women in the military have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). ‘The Silent Truth’ tells the story of one of these women, PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson, who was found dead on Balad Air Force Base in Iraq. The army claimed she shot herself with her own M16 rifle, but forensic evidence, obtained by the Johnson family through the Freedom of Information Act, brings the army’s findings into question. The Army refuses to re-open LaVena Johnson’s case, leaving the family in limbo. ‘The Silent Truth’ follows the Johnson’s pursuit of justice and truth for their daughter. -The Silent Truth Documentary (July 1, 2014)

‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq

The Kill Team (PBS Independent Lens):

The Kill Team looks at the devastating moral tensions that tear at soldiers’ psyches through the lens of one highly personal and emotional story. Private Adam Winfield was a 21-year-old soldier in Afghanistan when he attempted with the help of his father to alert the military to heinous war crimes his platoon was committing. But Winfield’s pleas went unheeded. Left on his own and with threats to his life, Private Winfield was himself drawn into the moral abyss, forced to make a split-second decision that would change his life forever. -The Kill Team, (July 25, 2014)

The PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Reveals How the Military Justice System Operates in Response to Media Scandals

Gangs in the U.S. Army (A&E Television):

Sworn to protect us from every enemy, foreign and domestic, and every day the majority of soldiers do just that ! yet some units are being compromised and turn into street gangs. An FBI report recently showed an increased gang activity within US soldiers. -Gangs in the U.S. Army Documentary (2017)

Gangs in the Military: Armed and Dangerous Forces

The Kill Team (A24):

When a young US soldier in Afghanistan witnesses other recruits killing civilians under the direction of a sadistic sergeant, he begins to fear that the men he’s serving with might be the ones to kill him. -The Kill Team (October 25, 2019)

‘The Kill Team’ Movie Released: Based on the True Story of Army Whistleblower Adam Winfield

Leavenworth (STARZ):

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and executive producers Paul Pawlowski and David Check tell the story of First Lieutenant Clint Lorance. Watch the Official Trailer for the upcoming STARZ Original Docuseries, Leavenworth, premiering October 20 on the STARZ App. (August 28, 2019)

STARZ Premiered ‘Leavenworth’: Docu-Series Examines Army 1st Lieutenant Clint Lorance Afghanistan ‘War Crimes’ Case

Ready for War (Showtime):

Andrew Renzi sheds light on the lives of three of the estimated thousands of immigrants who volunteer for service in the American military, yet find themselves deported from the US once their tours of duty are over. -Ready for War, Showtime (November 22, 2019)

The ultimate threat for deported U.S. veterans? Drug cartels, new documentary says

The Generation Why Podcast Featured the Suspicious Death of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Balad, Iraq: Was It Suicide or Murder? (November 19, 2017)

“Death of LaVena Johnson. July 19, 2005. Balad, Iraq. Nineteen years of age and recently deployed to Iraq, LaVena Johnson had everything going for her. A great education, determination, goals, and a great family. In letters and calls to home, she seemed quite candid about conditions there, both the good and the bad, but was also looking forward to being home for Christmas. On July 19th, though, a grim discovery was made. LaVena was found in a contractor’s tent, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to her head. An aerosol can was used to burn printed emails from a recent boyfriend. The Army ruled her death a suicide. Upset over the recent breakup with her boyfriend she must have hit her breaking point. The first autopsy didn’t really find anything to question this as a suicide. The Johnson family had her exhumed and two additional autopsies would make some startling discoveries. LaVena Johnson had suffered a broken nose, loose teeth, a black eye, and chemical burns on her genitals just to name a few. The Johnson family never believed that LaVena would take her own life and despite the questions surrounding her death, no one seems to want to go beyond saying that this case is ‘inconclusive’. Join us for a difficult discussion of losing a loved one under mysterious circumstances, not getting answers from investigators, and the possible reasons for why LaVena Johnson died back in 2005 in Iraq.” –Death of LaVena Johnson, The Generation Why Podcast (November 19, 2017)

Related Links:
The Generation Why Podcast (website)
The Generation Why Podcast (Facebook)
The Generation Why Podcast (Twitter)
Death of LaVena Johnson | The Generation Why Podcast (website)
Death of LaVena Johnson | The Generation Why Podcast | Stitcher
Death of LaVena Johnson | The Generation Why Podcast | RadioPublic
Death of LaVena Johnson | The Generation Why Podcast | PlayerFM
Death of LaVena Johnson | The Generation Why Podcast | PodBean
Death of LaVena Johnson | The Generation Why Podcast | TopPodcast
Death of LaVena Johnson | The Generation Why Podcast | Poddmap
Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Autopsy Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)
‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq (July 1, 2014)
Crime Junkie Podcast Featured the Suspicious Deaths of LaVena Johnson & Tina Priest in ‘Conspiracy: Women in the US Military’ (October 22, 2018)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
Six Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases
15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
The Death of LaVena Johnson (Unsolved Mysteries)
10 Unsolved Military Cases

Fort Hood Army Pfc. Tina Priest Died From a Non-Combat Related Incident in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Family Suspects Rape & Murder (March 1, 2006)

Tina Priest

Pfc. Tina Priest, U.S. Army

Army Pfc. Tina Priest, 20, died from a non-combat related injury in Taji, Iraq on March 1st, 2006. She was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Divison at Fort Hood, Texas. The Army ruled the death an apparent suicide but Tina’s parents dispute that finding based on the evidence and believe that she was raped and murdered; Tina reported a rape two weeks prior to her death. This case is no longer under investigation by the Army but considered an unsolved cold case because of the concerns the family has with the death investigation and cause of death ruling by the Army. Forty-one (41) female service members died of non combat related injuries while serving in Iraq; and twenty-three (23) were labeled homicide, suicide, or the cause of death is unknown. Tina’s suspicious death was discussed in the Silent Truth Documentary and on the Crime Junkie Podcast.

“What happened to LaVena Lynn Johnson and so many others speaks to a Pentagon culture which more closely resembles a rogue government–than a legitimate branch serving under civilian control. It is highly telling that this family, along with the Tillman family each had to have a documentary film made JUST TO ALERT THE PUBLIC TO THE TRUTH OF PENTAGON COVER-UPS. I urge everyone to view this important documentary – before the local military recruiter mandated under No Child Left Behind –‘friends’ their child at school. God forbid, they could wind up coming home in a body bag – like LaVena.”  Read more from Truthout here.

The Silent Truth Documentary:

Ninety-four US military women in the military have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). ‘The Silent Truth’ tells the story of one of these women, PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson, who was found dead on Balad Air Force Base in Iraq. The army claimed she shot herself with her own M16 rifle, but forensic evidence, obtained by the Johnson family through the Freedom of Information Act, brings the army’s findings into question. The Army refuses to re-open LaVena Johnson’s case, leaving the family in limbo. ‘The Silent Truth’ follows the Johnson’s pursuit of justice and truth for their daughter. -The Silent Truth Documentary (July 1, 2014)

Crime Junkie Podcast:

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Pfc. Tina M. Priest
Tina Priest’s Death In Iraq Under Investigation
Did Army do enough to prevent soldier’s death? (2007)
Family disputes Army’s suicide finding in daughter’s death
U.S. Military Is Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ ‘Suicides’
Pfc. Tina Priest’s rape and the Irony of the Iraq War
“Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within”
U.S. Military Covering Up Possible Murders of Female Service Members
Sisters in Death: The Systemic Misogyny of Militarism Leads To Deaths of U.S. Servicewomen and Iraqi Civilian Women
Is U.S. Military Covering Up Rape, Murder?
Hiding Military Sexual Trauma
A Shot Away: Personal Accounts of Military Sexual Trauma
Waging Gendered Wars: U.S. Military Women in Afghanistan and Iraq
Crime Junkie Podcast Featured the Suspicious Deaths of LaVena Johnson & Tina Priest in ‘Conspiracy: Women in the US Military’ (October 22, 2018)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Stop Killing Us!!! (YouTube)
The Silent Truth | YouTube Movies
The Silent Truth (FULL DOCUMENTARY)

Fort Campbell Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Investigation Revealed Rape and Murder (July 19, 2005)

LaVena Johnson

Pfc. Lavena Johnson, U.S. Army

Editors Note: Need to get up to speed quick with the unsolved case of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Lavena Johnson, please check out Episode 40 on the Military Murder Podcast.

Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson, 19, died of non combat related injuries in Balad, Iraq on July 19, 2005. Pfc. Johnson was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the Army’s 129th Corps Support Battalion in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Unlike most, the Department of Defense did not announce that LaVena’s death was under investigation in their press release. The Army Criminal Investigation Division later determined that Pfc. Johnson’s cause of death was suicide by self inflicted gunshot wound. The Army tried telling the family that LaVena used her own M-16 to commit the suicide. The family immediately suspected foul play and ordered an independent autopsy for LaVena. LaVena was not depressed and showed no signs of suicidal ideation. As a matter of fact, she was happy and bubbly and looking forward to going home for Christmas. After the family saw LaVena’s body and obtained investigative documents from the Army, they quickly realized that LaVena did not die by suicide, she was raped and murdered.

According to the family, the Army never investigated LaVena’s death as a homicide nor did they do a rape kit test or autopsy. The family gleaned from the paperwork that Army investigators first considered LaVena’s death a homicide and recorded that in their paperwork, but within a short window of opportunity were suddenly ordered to cease their investigation and reclassify her death as a suicide. Ten years later, LaVena’s father, Dr. John Johnson, continues to fight for justice for his daughter. And, although he has had struggles getting media coverage, he has forged out on his own to speak the truth for LaVena. Dr. Johnson is featured in a documentary called The Silent Truth which presents the heartbreaking story of his daughter LaVena. Pfc. LaVena Johnson was betrayed by the very people she depended on for her life, and the military industrial complex who would rather silence the truth then harm their reputation.

Petition: Reopen the investigation of LaVena Johnson’s death

In the News:

Nineteen year-old Army PFC LaVena Johnson, was found dead on a military base in Balad, Iraq in 2005. The U.S. Army ruled Lavena’s death a suicide, but an autopsy report and photographs revealed Johnson had a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, burns from a corrosive chemical on her genitals, and a gunshot wound that seemed inconsistent with suicide. LaVena’s father, John Johnson, shares his family’s fight to get answers from the military about his daughter’s death. -Protect Our Defenders (July 14, 2012)

Pfc. LaVena Johnson died in Iraq on July 19th, 2005 and her family needs your help. -Unsolved Mysteries (September 26, 2014)

Many have heard about the efforts for justice in the case of Army PFC LaVena Johnson. In 2005 after only 6 weeks of her deployment in Iraq, PFC LaVena Johnson was found dead. The Army says suicide, but after close evaluation and discovering a plethora of discrepancies in the Army’s report, LaVena’s father Dr. John H. Johnson began the fight for justice for his daughter. On this episode of The Rock Newman Show our special guest are LaVena’s father, Dr. John H. Johnson and attorney Donald V. Watkins. We warn our viewers that this episode of The Rock Newman Show goes into deep detail concerning the evidence and death of PFC LaVena Johnson. Dr. John H. Johnson and Donald V. Watkins contend that by no means is this case a suicide, and say they even know the name of the culprit. -The Rock Newman Show (February 11, 2016) 

Learn more here: ACT Now! Stand for PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
10 Unsolved Military Cases
The Silent Truth
Ten years later, a soldier’s family still grieves and questions the Army’s version of her death
LaVena Johnson: Army Still Calls Grisly Rape and Murder ‘Suicide’
A Political Season: Justice for PFC LaVena Johnson
What the Death of Army Pfc LaVena Johnson Says About Us
No Justice, No Peace: Remembering Pfc. LaVena Johnson (Includes Petition)
Justice for Pfc. LaVena Johnson?
Justice For LaVena Johnson: Raped & Murdered Or Suicide? The Evidence Says One Thing; U.S. Military Says Another
New Details Emerge After Second Autopsy of Pfc Lavena Johnson
Rape in the armed forces, Breaking the silence
Sexual Violence Against Women in the US Military: The Search for Truth and Justice
The Silent Truth Documentary aka The LaVena Johnson Murder Cover-Up
LaVena Johnson: Raped and Murdered on a Military Base in Iraq
What’s The Military Hiding About LaVena Johnson & Kamisha Block’s Deaths?
Family disputes Army’s suicide finding in daughter’s death
Suicide or Murder? Three Years After the Death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq, Her Parents Continue Their Call for a Congressional Investigation
Soldier’s Family Challenges Army Suicide Report
The Scandal of Military Rape
Documents and photos suggest foul play in death of Private Johnson
Army Pvt. Lavena L. Johnson
Who Killed PFC LaVena Johnson???
Democracy Now: Pvt LaVena Johnson
The Mysterious Death of Lavena Johnson
LaVena Johnson’s Murder, An Analysis of Crime Scene
U.S. Army Covers Up Womans Murder and gets Caught!
“The U.S. Army Raped & Murdered My Daughter!!! Justice For Pfc LaVena Johnson!!!”
Black teen in the army raped and murdered but the army says it was suicide
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Conspiracy: Women in the US Military | Crime Junkie Podcast (website)
Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Autopsy Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)
‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq (July 1, 2014)
Crime Junkie Podcast Featured the Suspicious Deaths of LaVena Johnson & Tina Priest in ‘Conspiracy: Women in the US Military’ (October 22, 2018)
The Strange & Unexplained: ‘The Biggest Suspicious Unsolved Military Mysteries’
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System
Military Murder Podcast Featured the Suspicious Case of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Lavena Johnson in Balad, Iraq (July 27, 2020)