BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The defense dropped a bombshell in week four of a Baltimore man’s murder trial.
Attorneys revealed that the disgraced leader of the Baltimore Police Department Gun Trace Task Force and Detective Sean Suiter, who died on duty last year, both had a hand in investigating this case.
Both helped track Michael Johnson, the man now on trial for the murder of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes.
Late Tuesday afternoon, defense attorneys introduced evidence that former Baltimore PD Sgt. Wayne Jenkins and Detective Sean Suiter were part of the team that followed the prime suspect in Barnes’ disappearance back in 2011.
North Carolina honor student Phylicia Barnes vanished just after Christmas in 2010 while visiting her half-sisters in Baltimore.
Her disappearance sparked the biggest manhunt in city history.
It ended only when the 16-year-old’s body floated to the surface of the Susquehanna River months later.
Now, as her accused killer stands trial for the third time, the lead investigator explains what happened in the weeks after she vanished, and before that gruesome discovery.
The investigator testified Tuesday that a team of police officers and FBI agents worked together to trail the last man to see her alive: Michael Johnson, who is the only person ever charged in her death.
Tuesday afternoon, Johnson’s defense introduced bombshell evidence, revealing that this case was also touched by dirty officers.
Sgt. Wayne Jenkins is listed on the team of police officers who trailed Johnson 24 hours a day for 12 days in January 2011.
Jenkins is now behind bars. He was once the leader of the gun task force unit, and its members have been convicted of robbing citizens.
Also listed as part of the surveillance team was Detective Sean Suiter.
He was killed while on duty last year. His name surfaced during the trials of the disgraced gun task force unit, with officers accusing him of taking part in the police corruption.
When the defense read their names, WJZ’s Kimberly Eiten reports you could hear the reaction in the room.
But, beyond that, the evidence seems to have no impact on this case moving forward.
Johnson is on trial for the third time, once convicted but never sentenced for Barnes’ death.