Barnes, an honor student at Union Academy, was visiting family in Maryland when she disappeared two years ago. Her body was found naked and floating in the Susquehanna River four months later. Her half-sister’s former boyfriend, Michael Johnson, was charged with her murder.
The jury began deliberating Monday after a seven-day trial, and continued deliberations all day Tuesday. The judge sent jurors home for the night Tuesday after they requested a second viewing of two videos, including an explicit 16-minute video that showed Johnson and Barnes naked. Jurors returned their verdict at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
I wonder why the prosecutor went for second degree murder and not first degree murder? Maybe he didn’t plan it but he went through elaborate means to dispose of her body. Our thoughts and prayers to the family of Phylicia Barnes.
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Janet Shan is a freelance journalist and managing editor of the Hinterland Gazette, who is working on her first novel, a mystery based in the hills on Montego Bay.