BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Fireworks flew inside a Baltimore courtroom for the fifth day of the trial surrounding the murder of Phylicia Barnes.
Michael Johnson, the ex-boyfriend of Barnes’ half sister, was the last person to see Phylicia alive and is being charged with her death.
In the first trial, Johnson was convicted of murder, but that was later overturned. A judge declared a mistrial the second time around.
Johnson is being tried for a third time, leading to a great deal of old evidence to be revisited.
Friday’s drama was centered around a storage container that was in the courtroom. It’s being referred to as a tote, and the size of the one that went missing is being examined. Prosecutors claim Johnson used a similar one to move Barnes’ body.
Also, a lot of focus was centered around a video that showed Barnes partially naked. Prosecutors believe Johnson became obsessed with the 16-year-old.
“It’s just a tragic thing that happened to a 16-year-old, and just should never happen,” said Phylicia’s father, Russell Barnes.
Barnes disappeared back in 2010 while visiting her half sisters in Baltimore. Her body was later found floating in the Susquehanna River.
On Friday, the defense focused on a blue storage container in the courtroom, similar to the one the state claims Johnson took from their apartment and used to stuff Barnes’ body in.
The defense caught Barnes’ half sister, Deena, in conflicting statements as she first told investigators years ago the container that went missing was smaller.
Investigators said, “So you’re talking 2 x 2 x 2?”
Deena responded, “Yes…you could carry it.”
The defense hinted that size isn’t big enough to fit a body. But in redirect, Deena said she wasn’t mentally stable when she made those comments years ago.
“I was all over the place. I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless,” she said.
“It was a rough road, but we’re going to get through it. So we’re positive, still staying positive and optimistic,” Russell said.
Meanwhile, prosecutors believe Johnson became obsessed with Phylicia after the teen was recorded partially naked in a video that Johnson was there for and had a copy of.
While history is not on their side, the Barnes family isn’t losing hope.
[Reporter: Do you feel the evidence is strong enough, are you still confident?]
“Always confident,” Phylicia’s father said.
Deena, Johnson’s ex-girlfriend, was on the stand for the third day in a row, crying at times. She’s now done testifying. She told the court he never asked about Phylicia after she went missing.
Trial resumes Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.