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A Flower In The River: Three Years After Barnes Teen Killing Still No Justice

The tears have all dried up now, with no more lights from news cameras, and the story of young Phylicia Simone Barnes seems to have been so long ago. The memory of a pretty book smart kid from the rural south lives on through those who knew and loved her, but the story line which tells of her tragic ending is a constant reminder why we must never forget how she came to such a horrific demise. For many, tomorrow’s start of the second trial of Michael Johnson for allegedly killing the Barnes teen, seems insignificant because so many others who the public believes were involved in her death have already walked free. The state’ mishandling of the first trial which resulted in Johnson having been convicted, leaves much skepticism as to whether anyone will ever be brought to justice for killing young Phylicia.

So much appears to have been over looked during the investigation into her killing, and nothing could ever fill the void which now lingers in the hearts and minds of her family and friends, who mourn the lost of such a promising kid now gone forever. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this case is the trust that her family instilled in state prosecutors, who failed miserably to bring her killer(s) to justice, and little faith is held that they’ll finally get it right the second time around. The loss of the state’ star witness hinders their theory that Michael Johnson alone murdered the child, and makes a case with only circumstantial evidence an even more difficult upheaval to convict Johnson for this crime. The lead investigator of the Barnes murder was removed from the case, subsequently charged with misconduct in an unrelated case involving his own daughter, and the state’ failure to disclose documents which could have been viewed as exculpatory evidence for Johnson have all created serious suspicion regarding the prosecutor’s case against Michael Johnson.

Some believe that the state weighed too heavily upon the testimony of a known petty criminal, and instilled hope that a sex tape which captured Johnson, the Barnes teen, and others completely nude would convince a jury into coming back with a conviction. Those tactics seemingly prevailed until prosecutors failed to disclose that James McCrae (star witness) had lied on the stand about his involvement as a witness for a criminal case in Montgomery County. That revelation almost certainly would have caused Johnson’s conviction to be overturned, and if the state had turned such discovery over in a timely fashion, there would be no lingering thoughts of prosecutors attempting to “railroad” an innocent man. Now potential jurors for the second trial may serve with some form of prejudice, thinking that Johnson is being falsely charged with her killing. It’s an unfortunate reality, but prosecutors should have known better, and especially considering the history of Baltimore juries having suspicion, and anti police sentiments returning questionable verdicts even in cases where the evidence clearly points to guilt of the defendant.

Followers of this case must be mindful that police never produced any forensics which actually linked Johnson to the crime, and although many believe that he was at the very least involved in the disposal of the teen’s body, the cops never followed other leads which potentially implicate others in this crime, and as a result Michael Johnson could actually walk from these charges. As outrageous as my perspective may seem, the story of young Phylicia Barnes’ murder trial is a typical saga played out in Maryland courts when prosecutors attempt to gain a tactical advantage in criminal cases while prosecuting defendants of color. In Baltimore city alone, the issue of failing to turn over discovery evidence continues to plague the criminal justice process, and this unexpected element of the Phylicia Barnes murder case makes her story even more tragic. However, Johnson’s previous attorney has already announced that he will no longer be representing Johnson in his pending trial, because Michael Johnson can no longer afford legal expenses for his defense. Johnson who remains detained at the Baltimore City Detention Center awaiting his retrial will be represented by a public defender.

Also, despite Johnson being the only person on the hook for the Barnes teen murder, others suspected by an outraged public, will play a crucial role in how this case finally plays out. Deena Barnes who is the half sibling of Phylicia was an important element of the state’ case during the first trial. The older Barnes female testified in court that Johnson had attempted to fondle her young sibling in front of her. That testimony coincided with the state’ theory that Johnson had sexual desires for the teen. It’s not certain that Barnes will even testify in this trial considering that she no longer lives in the Baltimore area. Deena is believed to have struck a deal with prosecutors for her testimony, to avoid charges surrounding what many believe amount to child endangerment. Barnes testified in court that she allowed her minor sibling to drink alcohol and smoke pot during Phylicia’s visits to Baltimore. Deena had previously lied on podcast, to the media, and Phylicia’s mother about what was actually occurring at her apartment while the teen stayed there. Drugs, alcohol, and a volume of young men seemed to fuel a party like atmosphere which included a sex game called “joinking.”

It’s that very culture and environment she was exposed to, coupled with the older Barnes’ failure to protect young Phylica that many believe is the actual cause of the child’s demise. Now over three years later, there only appears to be a glimmer of hope that anyone will be held responsible for her killing. Phylicia Barnes was an innocent, naïve, silly, but book smart kid who fell victim to a gang of monsters who manipulated her, cornered her, and meted out sexual desires before discarding of her body in a river. To her mother Janice Mustafa, Phylicia was like a precious flower, and it’s just unfair that her daughter has been taken away from her, while the cowardice monsters who took her life remain free. May justice prevail in this senseless and tragic case. Rest now pretty flower, for you are remembered, and loved.,

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. A 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:
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The tears have all dried up now, with no more lights from news cameras, and the story of young Phylicia Simone Barnes seems to have been so long ago. The memory of a pretty book smart kid from the rural south lives on through those who knew and loved her, but the story line which tells of her tragic ending is a constant reminder why we must never forget how she came to such a horrific demise. For many, tomorrow’s start of the second trial of Michael Johnson for allegedly killing the Barnes teen, seems insignificant because so many others who the public believes were involved in her death have already walked free. The state’ mishandling of the first trial which resulted in Johnson having been convicted, leaves much skepticism as to whether anyone will ever be brought to justice for killing young Phylicia.

So much appears to have been over looked during the investigation into her killing, and nothing could ever fill the void which now lingers in the hearts and minds of her family and friends, who mourn the lost of such a promising kid now gone forever. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this case is the trust that her family instilled in state prosecutors, who failed miserably to bring her killer(s) to justice, and little faith is held that they’ll finally get it right the second time around. The loss of the state’ star witness hinders their theory that Michael Johnson alone murdered the child, and makes a case with only circumstantial evidence an even more difficult upheaval to convict Johnson for this crime. The lead investigator of the Barnes murder was removed from the case, subsequently charged with misconduct in an unrelated case involving his own daughter, and the state’ failure to disclose documents which could have been viewed as exculpatory evidence for Johnson have all created serious suspicion regarding the prosecutor’s case against Michael Johnson.

Some believe that the state weighed too heavily upon the testimony of a known petty criminal, and instilled hope that a sex tape which captured Johnson, the Barnes teen, and others completely nude would convince a jury into coming back with a conviction. Those tactics seemingly prevailed until prosecutors failed to disclose that James McCrae (star witness) had lied on the stand about his involvement as a witness for a criminal case in Montgomery County. That revelation almost certainly would have caused Johnson’s conviction to be overturned, and if the state had turned such discovery over in a timely fashion, there would be no lingering thoughts of prosecutors attempting to “railroad” an innocent man. Now potential jurors for the second trial may serve with some form of prejudice, thinking that Johnson is being falsely charged with her killing. It’s an unfortunate reality, but prosecutors should have known better, and especially considering the history of Baltimore juries having suspicion, and anti police sentiments returning questionable verdicts even in cases where the evidence clearly points to guilt of the defendant.

Followers of this case must be mindful that police never produced any forensics which actually linked Johnson to the crime, and although many believe that he was at the very least involved in the disposal of the teen’s body, the cops never followed other leads which potentially implicate others in this crime, and as a result Michael Johnson could actually walk from these charges. As outrageous as my perspective may seem, the story of young Phylicia Barnes’ murder trial is a typical saga played out in Maryland courts when prosecutors attempt to gain a tactical advantage in criminal cases while prosecuting defendants of color. In Baltimore city alone, the issue of failing to turn over discovery evidence continues to plague the criminal justice process, and this unexpected element of the Phylicia Barnes murder case makes her story even more tragic. However, Johnson’s previous attorney has already announced that he will no longer be representing Johnson in his pending trial, because Michael Johnson can no longer afford legal expenses for his defense. Johnson who remains detained at the Baltimore City Detention Center awaiting his retrial will be represented by a public defender.

Also, despite Johnson being the only person on the hook for the Barnes teen murder, others suspected by an outraged public, will play a crucial role in how this case finally plays out. Deena Barnes who is the half sibling of Phylicia was an important element of the state’ case during the first trial. The older Barnes female testified in court that Johnson had attempted to fondle her young sibling in front of her. That testimony coincided with the state’ theory that Johnson had sexual desires for the teen. It’s not certain that Barnes will even testify in this trial considering that she no longer lives in the Baltimore area. Deena is believed to have struck a deal with prosecutors for her testimony, to avoid charges surrounding what many believe amount to child endangerment. Barnes testified in court that she allowed her minor sibling to drink alcohol and smoke pot during Phylicia’s visits to Baltimore. Deena had previously lied on podcast, to the media, and Phylicia’s mother about what was actually occurring at her apartment while the teen stayed there. Drugs, alcohol, and a volume of young men seemed to fuel a party like atmosphere which included a sex game called “joinking.”

It’s that very culture and environment she was exposed to, coupled with the older Barnes’ failure to protect young Phylica that many believe is the actual cause of the child’s demise. Now over three years later, there only appears to be a glimmer of hope that anyone will be held responsible for her killing. Phylicia Barnes was an innocent, naïve, silly, but book smart kid who fell victim to a gang of monsters who manipulated her, cornered her, and meted out sexual desires before discarding of her body in a river. To her mother Janice Mustafa, Phylicia was like a precious flower, and it’s just unfair that her daughter has been taken away from her, while the cowardice monsters who took her life remain free. May justice prevail in this senseless and tragic case. Rest now pretty flower, for you are remembered, and loved.,

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. A 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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