The family of North Carolina high school student who was slain in Baltimore in 2010 will have to wait for justice a bit longer. Reports WBFF-Fox 45:
A high profile Baltimore murder case ends in a mistrial Monday morning leaving a family looking for answers. 30-year-old Michael Maurice Johnson is accused of killing 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes in 2010. Days into his new trial, a judge declared a mistrial. Outside court, the teenager’s father Russell Barnes was raw with emotion. “Oh Lord, how am I going to tell my family man, they are going to be hurting. Oh Lord,” he said. He felt like life had hit him with another sucker punch.
RELATED STORY: Arrest Made In Phylicia Barnes’ Murder
Twice, now, a judge has found that prosecutor error had tainted the case presented to jurors. According to the Baltimore Sun:
Circuit Judge John Addison Howard granted a defense motion for a mistrial, saying prosecutors had twice exposed jurors to material that was supposed to have been withheld. The move came after prosecutors concluded two weeks of testimony and as defense attorneys for Michael Maurice Johnson were set to begin their presentation.
The judge’s ruling is the latest setback for prosecutors. Johnson’s previous conviction in 2013 was overturned after the judge who oversaw that case, Alfred Nance, ruled that prosecutors had withheld information about an alleged witness to the crime that might lead jurors to question his credibility. And before that, the lead detective on the case was himself arrested and charged with going on a rogue hunt for his own missing daughter.
The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office said Johnson will continue to be held without bail, and Howard said a new trial date will be set Tuesday.
Johnson was reportedly the last person to have seen 16-year-old Barnes alive. He was a former boyfriend of her half-sister, Deena, whom she was visiting in Baltimore.