Man Accused In Phylicia Barnes Murder Will Attempt To Block 3rd Trial

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland court ruled in April that Michael Maurice Johnson, the man accused of killing a North Carolina teen visiting Baltimore in 2010, could be tried again.

Today, Johnson’s attorney says an appeal has been filed to the U.S. Supreme Court to block third trial, according to our media partners at The Baltimore Sun.

Johnson remains free but will be placed on pretrial supervision, The Sun’s Justin Fenton reports. His trial date scheduled for March 2018.

Phylicia Barnes’s body was found in the Susquehanna River months after she disappeared. She had been visiting her half sister.

Johnson was convicted of second-degree murder in 2013 but he was granted a new trial after a judge ruled prosecutors withheld evidence.

In December 2014, Circuit Judge John Addison Howard declared a mistrial in the second trial.

In June 2016, The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that a new trial could proceed.

Johnson appealed the case to the state’s highest court, which heard arguments in December, but both courts determined Judge Howard was wrong to acquit Johnson after granting the mistrial.

Prosecutors believe Johnson — who dated Barnes’ sister — raped the teen, strangled her, put her body in a large plastic container and threw it in the water.

Johnson has maintained his innocence in Barnes’ death.

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