New Trial For Man Convicted of Murdering Phylicia Barnes
A judge said prosecutors didn't share required information.
The Baltimore man found guilty last month of murdering 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes will get a new trial, according to WBAL-TV.
A judge Wednesday was supposed to sentence Michael Maurice Johnson. Instead, Judge Alfred Nance said prosecutors failed to give Johnson’s lawyers new information about one of their witnesses, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Johnson faced 30 years in prison for killing Barnes, a North Carolina resident who was in Baltimore visiting her half-sister. She went missing in December 2010. After a search that spread throughout much of the state, including Howard County, Barnes’s body was found Susquehanna River in April
Johnson’s attorneys said prosecutors overstated the credibility of James McCray, a witness who testified that Johnson called him and said he’d murdered Barnes and needed help getting rid of the body, according to WBAL-TV.
"It's obvious that the jury was misled and improperly influenced to believe his testimony, and this extremely prejudiced the defendant," Johnson’s attorneys reportedly said.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Johnson’s attorneys say that he cannot be tried for first-degree murder since he was acquitted of that crime when he was convicted of second-degree murder.