BALTIMORE A jury will continue to deliberate Wednesday in the trial of a Baltimore man accused of killing a 16-year-old honor student from Union County in 2010.
The teen, Phylicia Barnes of Monroe, was visiting family in Maryland in 2010 when she disappeared. Her body was found naked and floating in the Susquehanna River four months later. Her half-sister's former boyfriend, Michael Johnson, is accused of killing the teen.
The jury began deliberating Monday after a seven-day trial, and continued deliberations all day Tuesday. The judge sent jurors home for the night after they requested a second viewing of two videos, including an explicit 16-minute video that showed Johnson and Barnes naked.
During the trial, Barnes’s half-sister Deena Barnes gave tearful testimony that she let Barnes drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and spend the night in rooms with boys. She also testified Johnson had made a sexual advance toward the 16-year-old, including reaching for Phylicia’s genitals.
Prosecutors used the video and testimony as an example of how Johnson, now 28, wanted to be more than just friends with Phylicia Barnes. They claim Johnson killed Barnes likely after forcing himself on her in her half-sister’s apartment. He then used a large plastic storage container to hide and move the body, they suggested during the trial. A neighbor claimed to see Johnson struggling to carry a storage container, but did not see inside.
Defense attorneys said Johnson and Deena Barnes had recently broken up after a 10-year relationship. The containers were used to move out his things, they said. They said Johnson had no motive to kill the teen.
The jury will resume its deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Johnson’s attorneys have argued prosecutors failed to present physical evidence, inluding DNA, proving Johnson killed Barnes.
But prosecutors urged jurors to look at the sum of evidence that they say points to Johnson, including testimony about the storage container and a man’s testimony that Johnson confessed to him and asked for help in disposing of the body.
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