BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The father of a murdered teenager testified Monday in the third trial for the man accused of killing his daughter.
Michael Johnson is the only person to ever face charges in the death of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes.
Russell Barnes testified about his desperate search in the days after his teenage daughter disappeared, and the moment – months later – when investigators notified him that they’d found her body.
He finally took the stand as week four of the trial began.
Leaving the courthouse Monday afternoon, Russell Barnes shied away from cameras for the first time in four weeks of trial.
Like other witnesses, he was told not to discuss his testimony, instead giving a thumbs up after taking the stand and facing the man accused of killing his daughter.
Phylicia Barnes vanished while visiting her half-sisters in Baltimore just after Christmas in 2010.
Her disappearance sparked a citywide manhunt, ending only when her body surfaced in the Susquehanna River months later.
In the eight years since, only one man has ever been charged in her death: Michael Johnson, the ex-boyfriend of Barnes’ sister, and the last person to see her alive.
Now, for the third time, prosecutors are trying to score a conviction that sticks.
For the last three weeks, lawyers have ticked through a never-ending witness list, including family, investigators, and experts.
This murder trial seems to be moving in slow motion, with no indication of when the state might rest its case.
Prosecutors are expected to call another investigator on Tuesday, who will likely spend all day on the stand.
Michael Johnson was convicted in his first trial, but the ruling was overturned before sentencing.