New trial for man convicted in Phylicia Barnes' murder - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

New trial for man convicted in Phylicia Barnes' murder

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BALTIMORE (WJZ/WBTV) -

The man convicted of killing 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes will get a new trial, according to CBS affiliate WJZ.

Michael Johnson, 29, was facing up to 30 years in prison after a jury spent three days deliberating in early February and convicted Johnson of second degree murder.

Prosecutors say he raped and strangled teenage honor student Phylicia Barnes, from Union County, in December 2010 then dumped her body in the Susquehanna River in Maryland.

Johnson's lawyers filed a motion for a new trial last month.

The defense says Johnson did not get a fair trial. According to WJZ, his lawyers challenged the credibility of the key witness in the prosecution's case and the judge agreed.

"At the end of the day, we're going to continue to push for what we believe is right," said Barnes' brother, Bryan.

Prosecutors say Johnson sexually assaulted Barnes, then killed her and dumped her body.

At the time of the court filing, Attorney Russell Neverdon said prosecutors improperly tried to bolster the credibility of a witness who testified that Johnson asked him for help disposing of Barnes' body.

The new trial is scheduled to begin May 28th.

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Photos: Phylicia Barnes

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Timeline of Phylicia Barnes case

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December 28, 2010 - Phylicia Barnes, 16, reported missing from Baltimore March 7, 2011 - Phylicia's sister sought restraining order against Michael Johnson April 20, 2011 - Phylicia Barnes' body found More>>

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