Second mistrial in Phylicia Barnes murder case

Second mistrial in Phylicia Barnes murder case

CHARLOTTE/BALTIMORE (WBTV) - A judge declared a mistrial for the second time in the murder case against a Baltimore man accused of killing a 16-year-old Union County student four years ago.

"Completely numb," said Phylicia's father, Russell Barnes. "A mere technicality once again."

The Baltimore Sun reported that the judge declared the mistrial because prosecutors played a wiretap conversation which was supposed to be withheld. The judge believed the mistake was not intentional but said it tainted the jury.

Michael Maurice Johnson, 30, was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Phylicia Barnes in 2013. A judge overturned that guilty verdict before Johnson was sentenced.

The Monroe teenager was staying with her sister, Deena Barnes, in Baltimore when she disappeared in December 2010. Her body was found four months later in a Maryland river.

Johnson is Deena's ex-boyfriend, and investigators say he was the last known person to see the 16-year-old student alive.

Russell Barnes said the prosecution's misstep was an honest mistake. "We have to get justice for Phylicia. We'll do it again and again and again until we get justice," he said talking about the next trial.

Both sides will discussion scheduling a third trial Tuesday.

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