Jury Delivers Verdict in Phylicia Barnes Murder Trial
Michael Maurice Johnson of Baltimore was found guilty of second-degree murder.
A jury Wednesday found a Baltimore man guilty of second-degree murder in the case of Phylicia Barnes, a teen whose body was found in the Susquehanna River in 2011, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Michael Maurice Johnson, 29, of Baltimore, who had dated Barnes' half-sister Deena for several years, was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in April. He was reportedly the last person said to have seen Barnes alive.
The 16-year-old Barnes, a student from Monroe, NC, was visiting her half-sister in northwest Baltimore when she went missing Dec. 28, 2010. Several search parties attempted to locate the teen, who was said to be an honor student.
Jurors have been deliberating since Monday, after the judge expressed "great concern" about what was presented during the 11-day trial, according to WBAL TV.
Most of the evidence was circumstantial, several media outlets indicated.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the major pieces of evidence were two videos—a Walmart surveillance tape showing Johnson purchasing a plastic tub that prosecutors said he put Barnes' body in, and a cell phone video showing Barnes, Deena, Johnson and others intoxicated and kissing.
One man, who CBS News said provided "key testimony," said Johnson told him that he raped Barnes, choked her because she wouldn't stop crying and asked for help disposing of her body.
"There is only one person in this investigation that all of the facts and circumstances point to," the assistant state's attorney said, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Upon hearing the guilty verdict on Feb. 5, Barnes' mother said "Yes!" and her father said, "Now she can sleep," the Charlotte Observer reported.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 21, and Johnson may face up to 30 years in jail.
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- Female Body Found in Susquehanna River is Missing Teen from Baltimore
- Police Still Searching for Missing 16-Year-Old
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