Baltimore Man Granted New Trial in Phylicia Barnes Murder Case
The teen's body was discovered in the Susquehanna River in April 2011.
A Baltimore man who appeared for sentencing Wednesday in the case of Phylicia Barnes' death was instead granted a new trial.
Michael Maurice Johnson, 29, was convicted of second-degree murder in February. On the heels of the conviction, his lawyers argued that the state withheld information about its witness and made improper statements in the two-day trial.
When Johnson showed up for sentencing Wednesday in Baltimore City's Circuit Court, he faced up to 30 years in jail.
Now he has a new trial, according to WJZ, which reported that the judge agreed with Johnson's attorneys that the state's key witness was of questionable credibility. According to The Baltimore Sun, the state failed to provide information to Johnson's lawyers that became available after he was convicted.
It is the right of a person accused of a crime to have access to information and evidence that may be used against him at trial.
Barnes, a 16-year-old honors student from North Carolina, was reported missing after Christmas 2010; her body was found in the Susquehanna River in April 2011.
Johnson had previously dated Barnes' half-sister and was said to have been the last person to see the teen alive.
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