A Flower In The River: State Missed Critical Clues During First Trial In Barnes Teen Murder Case

Part II of a Series Leading to the Second Murder Trial

With less than three weeks away before the State of Maryland begins a retrial of Michael Maurice Johnson for killing young Phylicia Simone Barnes, those of us who have been diligently following the honors teen from Monroe, North Carolina case can’t help but look back at a volume of miscues police, investigators, and prosecutors made which ultimate resulted in Johnson’ first trial being overturned.  The defining moment came when prosecutors discovered that their star witness had lied on the witness stand about having testified in an unrelated murder case. When the sate learned that McCray had lied, they waited three weeks before revealing to Johnson’ defense counsel that McCray had lied, violating discovery laws which requires the state to turn over all exculpatory evidence to a defendant’s attorney.

Inmate James McCray, a petty criminal testified in the trial that Johnson called him the day Barnes disappeared and admitted to killing the teen after having sex with her and that he needed help to get rid of the body. That testimony was damaging to Johnson’ defense because it placed Johnson at the teen’ sister apartment with her dead body. Defense attorneys have said that the prosecutor inflated McCray’s credibility with the jury by telling jurors that McCray testified to facts that could have only come from “first-hand knowledge” because they had not been released to the public. Although a juror came forward and gave interviews detailing that jury deliberations didn’t focus too much on McCray’s testimony in determining a verdict of guilt for Johnson, the state’ failure to disclose McCray’ s perjured testimony left Circuit Court Judge Alfred Nance no other recourse but to grant Johnson a new trial.

When prosecutors fail to follow established trial laws to obtain convictions during any criminal trial it points to “concealment” rather than “disclosure,” and almost always results in a conviction being overturned by the courts, and is exactly what happened in Johnson’ initial murder trial. It’s widely believed that the state may have bungled the Phylicia Barnes murder case from the very start. It’s disputed whether the state should have gambled with McCray’s testimony when there was a volume of other evidence which not only pointed to Johnson’ guilt but clearly may implicate other members of his family as well.

Once investigators became aware that the accounts given to them by those who were around Phylicia when she disappeared were in fact not truthful, federal search warrants were obtained for social media accounts. Through Twitter, Facebook, and Text Messages a disturbing picture can be seen outlining what may have happened to young Phylicia. One of the most compelling aspects of how social media could have impacted the first trial was revealed when a girlfriend of one of the Johnson relatives tweeted on January 28, 2011, “It’s trapped at the dam, don’t pull the lever.” The fact that at the time of the tweet, Phylicia’s body had not been located, and when she was in fact subsequently discovered floating in a river several months later near the Conowingo Damn in Northern Maryland, it became obvious that not only did the girl possibly have vital information to the case, but that pertinent information to Phylicia’ disappearance was being discussed among Johnson family members and their friends.

When the tweet became public it was so widely talked about that the public dubbed the young female as the “Twitter Girl.” Webslueths and other concerned people form the public sent The People’s Champion Blog a volume of information which contained tweets and other post within social media. I personally contacted the Maryland State Police officials investigating the Barnes murder, but by the time I reached out to them investigators had already obtained information about the tweet. At that time efforts were being made to contact the female and get and interview with her regarding the coincidence of her twitter comment considering her close relationship with one of the initial people that police had questioned during the beginning of their investigation when Phylicia first went missing. The tweet stood out and I’m certain that investigators brought it to the attention of Lisa Goldberg (State Prosecutor).

It’s unclear whether cops ever caught up with the young female, what they may have learned after speaking with her, and the decision by the state prosecutors office not to introduce it as evidence during the trial let the girl and potentially others off the hook, who could at the very minimum be charged with obstruction of justice. The female, her boyfriend who is a cousin of Michael Jonson and other Johnson family members were hanging out at the apartment where Phylicia was staying prior to her disappearance. Many of them were also questioned by police surrounding the child’s disappearance as well. The least experienced of investigators could have utilized the tweet to do damage while pursuing information regarding what happened to Phylicia Barnes. The fact that the state dropped the ball on this extremely vital piece of information is simply disturbing to many followers of the case. The state’ decision to pursue Phylicia’s murder from the McCray testimony perspective demonstrates that they were on a course that potentially could have set Johnson free all together.

 

Danisha McIntosh tweeter "is s trapped at the dam. don't pull the lever", months before Phylicia Barnes body was found near the Coniwingo Dam. She is friends with Glenton "Bootz" Johnson and Dorian Carpenter who were questioned about the disappearance and murder of Phylicia Barnes.

This woman tweeted “it’s trapped at the dam. don’t pull the lever”, months before Phylicia Barnes body was found near the Coniwingo Dam. She is friends with Glenton “Bootz” Johnson and Dorian Carpenter who were questioned about the disappearance and murder of Phylicia Barnes.

 

Additionally, police investigating Phylicia’s murder failed to properly analyze tweets from Michael Johnson, his brothers Glenton, Glenn, and cousin William Johnson. TPC outlined in an article how tweets from the men on the day Phylicia disappeared held valuable clues to what happened to her. In the article (read it here) information from Johnson family member comments on social media are utilized to show how Johnson more than likely wasn’t alone around the time he says he last saw the teen alive. Now that we have learned more information about the case from the first trial, it’s firmly believed that Glenton Johnson (Michael’s younger brother) was with him during the early morning hours just before Phylia went missing.

My previous article also details how one of the Johnson cousins William Johnson engaged TPC and readers in the Blog’s chat room, while revealing that Michael Johnson has a nickname (“Ease”) he obtained from a xbox game tag. The exchange in the Blog chat room caused many to believe that cops had compelling and sufficient evidence to charge Glenton “Bootz” Johnson along side his older brother Michael for the killing of Phylicia Barnes. The tweet that points to Glenton and Michael riding together in a car smoking marijuana is here:

12-28 12:59 pm Glenton twitter~~> –@AYOKrazie yo me an ease mixed some grass in da
hookah dat shyt had me stupid high like my second time smokin–

This shows that if William Johnson is correct that Michael’s nickname is in fact “Ease” then it means that he and Glenton were together minutes before the teen disappeared. Michael told cops that he last saw the pretty teen asleep on the couch at her sister’s apartment on December 28, 2010 around 1:30 p.m., but when we consider tweets from Glenton on the same day minutes before she was last seen alive by anyone, a  very scary picture is revealed and might indicate that Glenton and Michael may have in fact kidnapped the child and used force to get her to comply with their demands.

Tweets on December 28, 2010

12-28 1:03 pm Glenton twitter~~> –Whoop her ass #ladyinthestore–

12-28 1:23 pm Glenton twitter~~> –**** dat don’t tella twice whopp her ass–

Glenton’s tweets are both compelling and scary as he is telling someone to whoop a female’s ass just 7 minutes before Phylicia Barnes was reportedly last seen alive by Michael Johnson.

During the Peas In their pods interview of the Barnes siblings it’s revealed by Phylicia older half-sister that Michael Johnson went by her apartment early that morning to do laundry and that he eventually took his kid brother Delanie home because he didn’t have permission to be at the apartment. Many followers believed it was just a very bad idea to leave a pretty teen girl alone with males present that weren’t related to her. However, there are other tweets by Glenton Johnson that compels many of us to believe that  he and Michael wanted to isolate the child.

More Tweets from December 28, 2010

12-28 12:48 pm Glenton twitter~~>Rollin rd is gay
12-28 12:49 pm Glenton twitter Just a busy ass street for no reason–
12-28 12:51 pm Glenton twitter~~> Hurry up an buy!–

The tweets were made during the time that Glenton tweeted that he and “Ease” had put grass in a hooka getting high, it it also demonstrates that they were in a hurry by reading his tweets about Rolling Road being gay and slow for no reason. It’s compelling that they were in a hurry to get back to the apartment were young Phylicia was now alone after the younger Johnson Delanie having been taken home. It’s during that time many believe what ever happened to young Phylicia actually occurred during that time period and that Michael wasn’t alone. There were other tweets from that day that detailed the Johnson brothers active which included an older brother cautioning them to be careful of what they tweet:

12-28 3:31 pm Kevin Johnson Tweet Watch wat u tweet. “the man” is watching.. lok

The disturbing fact that police never indicated that they were aware that these tweets even existed and that the tweets never made it into court during the trial is simply unconscionable. There are so many missteps by police and the prosecutor’s office that it begs the question if they were even investigating the correct case. For some reason a tremendous amount of credibility ways given to the testimony of James McCray, which ultimately backfired for the state. Now with McCray’s credibility having been decimated by perjured testimony, it’s highly doubtful that the state will utilize him during the retrial, and has many questioning what approach, angle, or perspective the prosecutor’s office will use in an effort to obtain a second conviction of Michael Johnson. In a case that clearly has various others who could have been implicated in Phylicia’s murder, it now seems that they have slipped through the cracks of the justice system in a volatile city where killers go free all the time on the merits of prosecutorial misconduct and other technicalities.

Sadly though, it’s widely believed that Michael Johnson can not stand trial for first degree murder again, because he was acquitted on those charges during the first trial, and means that the state can only pursue second degree murder charges which is only holds a maximum of 25 years imprisonment. This would mean that if the state some how were able to obtain a second conviction, at Johnson’s age, he will one day walk the streets again. A very sad commentary of how our criminal justice system works even when violent crime cases seem positioned for certain conviction of defendants, that loop holes and poor judgement by those commissioned to protect the public fail miserably in the quest for justice. The system has made a mockery of this case and has only brought even more grief to the loved ones of the late Phylicia Simone Barnes.

 

Part II of a Series

To Be Continued …

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

 

 

 

 

 

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus

Part II of a Series Leading to the Second Murder Trial

With less than three weeks away before the State of Maryland begins a retrial of Michael Maurice Johnson for killing young Phylicia Simone Barnes, those of us who have been diligently following the honors teen from Monroe, North Carolina case can’t help but look back at a volume of miscues police, investigators, and prosecutors made which ultimate resulted in Johnson’ first trial being overturned.  The defining moment came when prosecutors discovered that their star witness had lied on the witness stand about having testified in an unrelated murder case. When the sate learned that McCray had lied, they waited three weeks before revealing to Johnson’ defense counsel that McCray had lied, violating discovery laws which requires the state to turn over all exculpatory evidence to a defendant’s attorney.

Inmate James McCray, a petty criminal testified in the trial that Johnson called him the day Barnes disappeared and admitted to killing the teen after having sex with her and that he needed help to get rid of the body. That testimony was damaging to Johnson’ defense because it placed Johnson at the teen’ sister apartment with her dead body. Defense attorneys have said that the prosecutor inflated McCray’s credibility with the jury by telling jurors that McCray testified to facts that could have only come from “first-hand knowledge” because they had not been released to the public. Although a juror came forward and gave interviews detailing that jury deliberations didn’t focus too much on McCray’s testimony in determining a verdict of guilt for Johnson, the state’ failure to disclose McCray’ s perjured testimony left Circuit Court Judge Alfred Nance no other recourse but to grant Johnson a new trial.

When prosecutors fail to follow established trial laws to obtain convictions during any criminal trial it points to “concealment” rather than “disclosure,” and almost always results in a conviction being overturned by the courts, and is exactly what happened in Johnson’ initial murder trial. It’s widely believed that the state may have bungled the Phylicia Barnes murder case from the very start. It’s disputed whether the state should have gambled with McCray’s testimony when there was a volume of other evidence which not only pointed to Johnson’ guilt but clearly may implicate other members of his family as well.

Once investigators became aware that the accounts given to them by those who were around Phylicia when she disappeared were in fact not truthful, federal search warrants were obtained for social media accounts. Through Twitter, Facebook, and Text Messages a disturbing picture can be seen outlining what may have happened to young Phylicia. One of the most compelling aspects of how social media could have impacted the first trial was revealed when a girlfriend of one of the Johnson relatives tweeted on January 28, 2011, “It’s trapped at the dam, don’t pull the lever.” The fact that at the time of the tweet, Phylicia’s body had not been located, and when she was in fact subsequently discovered floating in a river several months later near the Conowingo Damn in Northern Maryland, it became obvious that not only did the girl possibly have vital information to the case, but that pertinent information to Phylicia’ disappearance was being discussed among Johnson family members and their friends.

When the tweet became public it was so widely talked about that the public dubbed the young female as the “Twitter Girl.” Webslueths and other concerned people form the public sent The People’s Champion Blog a volume of information which contained tweets and other post within social media. I personally contacted the Maryland State Police officials investigating the Barnes murder, but by the time I reached out to them investigators had already obtained information about the tweet. At that time efforts were being made to contact the female and get and interview with her regarding the coincidence of her twitter comment considering her close relationship with one of the initial people that police had questioned during the beginning of their investigation when Phylicia first went missing. The tweet stood out and I’m certain that investigators brought it to the attention of Lisa Goldberg (State Prosecutor).

It’s unclear whether cops ever caught up with the young female, what they may have learned after speaking with her, and the decision by the state prosecutors office not to introduce it as evidence during the trial let the girl and potentially others off the hook, who could at the very minimum be charged with obstruction of justice. The female, her boyfriend who is a cousin of Michael Jonson and other Johnson family members were hanging out at the apartment where Phylicia was staying prior to her disappearance. Many of them were also questioned by police surrounding the child’s disappearance as well. The least experienced of investigators could have utilized the tweet to do damage while pursuing information regarding what happened to Phylicia Barnes. The fact that the state dropped the ball on this extremely vital piece of information is simply disturbing to many followers of the case. The state’ decision to pursue Phylicia’s murder from the McCray testimony perspective demonstrates that they were on a course that potentially could have set Johnson free all together.

 

Danisha McIntosh tweeter "is s trapped at the dam. don't pull the lever", months before Phylicia Barnes body was found near the Coniwingo Dam. She is friends with Glenton "Bootz" Johnson and Dorian Carpenter who were questioned about the disappearance and murder of Phylicia Barnes.

This woman tweeted “it’s trapped at the dam. don’t pull the lever”, months before Phylicia Barnes body was found near the Coniwingo Dam. She is friends with Glenton “Bootz” Johnson and Dorian Carpenter who were questioned about the disappearance and murder of Phylicia Barnes.

 

Additionally, police investigating Phylicia’s murder failed to properly analyze tweets from Michael Johnson, his brothers Glenton, Glenn, and cousin William Johnson. TPC outlined in an article how tweets from the men on the day Phylicia disappeared held valuable clues to what happened to her. In the article (read it here) information from Johnson family member comments on social media are utilized to show how Johnson more than likely wasn’t alone around the time he says he last saw the teen alive. Now that we have learned more information about the case from the first trial, it’s firmly believed that Glenton Johnson (Michael’s younger brother) was with him during the early morning hours just before Phylia went missing.

My previous article also details how one of the Johnson cousins William Johnson engaged TPC and readers in the Blog’s chat room, while revealing that Michael Johnson has a nickname (“Ease”) he obtained from a xbox game tag. The exchange in the Blog chat room caused many to believe that cops had compelling and sufficient evidence to charge Glenton “Bootz” Johnson along side his older brother Michael for the killing of Phylicia Barnes. The tweet that points to Glenton and Michael riding together in a car smoking marijuana is here:

12-28 12:59 pm Glenton twitter~~> –@AYOKrazie yo me an ease mixed some grass in da
hookah dat shyt had me stupid high like my second time smokin–

This shows that if William Johnson is correct that Michael’s nickname is in fact “Ease” then it means that he and Glenton were together minutes before the teen disappeared. Michael told cops that he last saw the pretty teen asleep on the couch at her sister’s apartment on December 28, 2010 around 1:30 p.m., but when we consider tweets from Glenton on the same day minutes before she was last seen alive by anyone, a  very scary picture is revealed and might indicate that Glenton and Michael may have in fact kidnapped the child and used force to get her to comply with their demands.

Tweets on December 28, 2010

12-28 1:03 pm Glenton twitter~~> –Whoop her ass #ladyinthestore–

12-28 1:23 pm Glenton twitter~~> –**** dat don’t tella twice whopp her ass–

Glenton’s tweets are both compelling and scary as he is telling someone to whoop a female’s ass just 7 minutes before Phylicia Barnes was reportedly last seen alive by Michael Johnson.

During the Peas In their pods interview of the Barnes siblings it’s revealed by Phylicia older half-sister that Michael Johnson went by her apartment early that morning to do laundry and that he eventually took his kid brother Delanie home because he didn’t have permission to be at the apartment. Many followers believed it was just a very bad idea to leave a pretty teen girl alone with males present that weren’t related to her. However, there are other tweets by Glenton Johnson that compels many of us to believe that  he and Michael wanted to isolate the child.

More Tweets from December 28, 2010

12-28 12:48 pm Glenton twitter~~>Rollin rd is gay
12-28 12:49 pm Glenton twitter Just a busy ass street for no reason–
12-28 12:51 pm Glenton twitter~~> Hurry up an buy!–

The tweets were made during the time that Glenton tweeted that he and “Ease” had put grass in a hooka getting high, it it also demonstrates that they were in a hurry by reading his tweets about Rolling Road being gay and slow for no reason. It’s compelling that they were in a hurry to get back to the apartment were young Phylicia was now alone after the younger Johnson Delanie having been taken home. It’s during that time many believe what ever happened to young Phylicia actually occurred during that time period and that Michael wasn’t alone. There were other tweets from that day that detailed the Johnson brothers active which included an older brother cautioning them to be careful of what they tweet:

12-28 3:31 pm Kevin Johnson Tweet Watch wat u tweet. “the man” is watching.. lok

The disturbing fact that police never indicated that they were aware that these tweets even existed and that the tweets never made it into court during the trial is simply unconscionable. There are so many missteps by police and the prosecutor’s office that it begs the question if they were even investigating the correct case. For some reason a tremendous amount of credibility ways given to the testimony of James McCray, which ultimately backfired for the state. Now with McCray’s credibility having been decimated by perjured testimony, it’s highly doubtful that the state will utilize him during the retrial, and has many questioning what approach, angle, or perspective the prosecutor’s office will use in an effort to obtain a second conviction of Michael Johnson. In a case that clearly has various others who could have been implicated in Phylicia’s murder, it now seems that they have slipped through the cracks of the justice system in a volatile city where killers go free all the time on the merits of prosecutorial misconduct and other technicalities.

Sadly though, it’s widely believed that Michael Johnson can not stand trial for first degree murder again, because he was acquitted on those charges during the first trial, and means that the state can only pursue second degree murder charges which is only holds a maximum of 25 years imprisonment. This would mean that if the state some how were able to obtain a second conviction, at Johnson’s age, he will one day walk the streets again. A very sad commentary of how our criminal justice system works even when violent crime cases seem positioned for certain conviction of defendants, that loop holes and poor judgement by those commissioned to protect the public fail miserably in the quest for justice. The system has made a mockery of this case and has only brought even more grief to the loved ones of the late Phylicia Simone Barnes.

 

Part II of a Series

To Be Continued …

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

 

 

 

 

 

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. Recognized journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus

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