Guilty verdict handed down in Phylicia Barnes murder trial

Guilty verdict handed down in Phylicia Barnes murder trial

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by WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 2 at 2:58 PM

BALTIMORE, MD -- A Maryland man accused of killing a Union County teen was found guilty of second-degree murder on Wednesday morning in a Baltimore courtroom, according to multiple reports.

Phylicia Barnes disappeared while visiting her sister over Christmas in 2010.  The 16-year-old's body was found floating in the Susquehanna River 50 miles northeast of Baltimore several months later.

Investigators say Michael Johnson, 28, killed the teen, putting her body in a plastic bin.

On Monday, defense attorneys called only one witness before resting their case. Johnson's lawyers have said there is no DNA evidence linking their client to the 2010 slaying.  In closing arguments, prosecutors admitted they had no smoking gun.

Jurors in the murder trial saw a sexually explicit cell phone video of the victim, her sister, Johnson and Johnson's younger brother.  Johnson had dated Phylicia's sister, Deena, for about eight or nine years before the murder.
 
The dead teen's sister testified Monday at the trial.  Deena Barnes, 29, admitted that she gave Phylicia alcohol and said she and Phylicia were intoxicated when the cell phone video was recorded.

Barnes was an honors student at Union Academy in Monroe.  She was reported missing on December 28, 2010, just weeks before her 17th birthday. 

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