BALTIMORE -- Michael Johnson, who was convicted last month of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, will be sentenced on Wednesday in a Baltimore court.
The disappearance of Phylicia Barnes, an honor student from Union Academy in Monroe, in December 2010 captured national attention. Police called it the “Baltimore Natalie Holloway case,” a reference to the white Alabama high school student who caused a media sensation when she disappeared during a school graduation trip to Aruba.
Barnes was scheduled to graduate a year early. She had “a stack of acceptance letters” to college, according to prosecutors. She planned to attend college at Towson University, just north of Baltimore.
A jury of six men and six women deliberated Johnson’s fate over the course of three days before finding him not guilty of the more serious charge of first-degree murder but convicting him of second-degree murder.
The verdict capped more than a week of salacious trial developments that included more than 30 witnesses and a 16-minute sex video showing Phylicia, her half-sister, Johnson and another man naked and kissing.
Her older half-sister, Deena Barnes, who dated Johnson for 10 years, tearfully admitted allowing her to drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and sleep in rooms with boys.
Johnson faces up to 30 years in prison.