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.

Workers at the Conowingo Dam discovered her body on April 20, 2011, and authorities identified the teen by her dental records.

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.

See Related: 

  • Former Boyfriend of Phylicia Barnes' Sister Indicted on Murder Charge
  • Investigation into Death of Teen Moves to ‘New Place’
  • Two Bodies Pulled from Susquehanna River
  • Female Body Found in Susquehanna River is Missing Teen from Baltimore
  • Police Still Searching for Missing 16-Year-Old
  • Search for Missing Girl Brings Maryland Rescue Teams Together
Sanchez February 08, 2013 at 04:36 PM
"He wouldn't have been confronted if he hadn't been following him in the first place," More revisionist bullshirt. If you listen to the 911 call, NOT the NBC one, you will hear "911 dispatcher: Are you following him? [2:24] Zimmerman: Yeah. [2:25] 911 dispatcher: OK. We don’t need you to do that. [2:26] Zimmerman: OK. [2:28] 911 dispatcher: Alright, sir, what is your name? [2:34] Zimmerman: George. He ran." He stopped when told to stop according to the transcript. "Did it ever occur to you that his behavior might have been a bit scary for Trayvon?" Yes! I did wonder about that. i wondered why he would cause a confrontation when none were needed! If I was scared in his position I would have left the area. Another thing ingrained in us, fight or flight. He fought and paid the price. Sometimes the best course is flight. He was apparently feeling big and bad enough that flight was not an option. He paid the price for his poor decision.
M. Sullivan February 09, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Good job, Sanchez. These women who see Trayvon as some poor innocent victim are part of the reason these thugs continue to get a free pass until they finally do something so horrendous that it can't be brushed off. Trayvon messed with the wrong guy and paid the price. End of story.
franking February 09, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Absolutely. The time line proves that he wasn't just walking home from the store, or he would have been back at the Brandy townhome long before he assaulted Zimmerman.
Janice Elizabeth February 10, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Please take some advice. Seek help!
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