Maryland State Court Of Special Appeals Sends Murdered Teen’s Case Back To Baltimore Circuit Court: Accused Killer Michael Johnson Will Go Back On Trial For Honors Kid Slaying

Her smile was contagious, she brought laughter to every setting that her infectious character ever embraced, and her silly wit was the trade mark that many have said was so alluring. The memories of her have often faded, but the circumstances surrounding her sudden and tragic death has never completely dissipated. The story of late Phylicia Simone Barnes sometimes seem like a reoccurring nightmare that continues to appear over and over again, but like a haunting ghost, the spirit of her murder refuses to die. Snatched from this world far too soon at the hands of heartless monsters, the promising honors kid fell prey to cowards she became exposed to by her own half sibling.

Her mother Janice Mustafa and her oldest sister Shauntel Sallis-Evans have both described Simone as a Sweet but naive “country girl.” While she was entrusted to the care of her half sister she visited in Baltimore over the Christmas holiday back in 2010, she became exposed to a culture of drug usage, alcohol, and a group of adult men that many believe were responsible for the sixteen year old’s demise. In a strange sequence of events, young Simone went from being closely guarded and monitored by her two older adult half siblings, to mysteriously disappearing without a trace on the only day that she had been left at her siblings apartment alone. The exact details of what happened to her have always been sketchy and played out in a series of live radio, television, and podcast shows. The most noted broadcast highlighting the child’s family version of what happened, occurred on January 19, 2011 during a broadcast of a The People’s Champion Blog affiliate, and the nationally recognized child advocacy organization of “Peas In Their Pods.”  It was a broadcast that angered many, as the siblings could be heard whispering, and even laughing at one point during the broadcast (Listen here: “Where Is Phylicia Barnes?”).

Despite Simone’s family requesting candor and honesty regarding what happened to the child, the “Peas” broadcast was the first media outlet of any kind to capture statements on record, and became a valuable source of information that helped the public formulate their own version of the truth when court testimony by one sibling revealed that she had been lying about elements of Simone’s case all along. Her sibling told a volume of lies about the allegations of having exposed to her kid sister to drugs and alcohol, and the flat denial about any sexual activity between her sister and older males. Court testimony revealed that the older sibling Deena Barnes admitted in court to allowing her sister to drink vodka and smoke marijuana. When the host asked the siblings about sexual activity pertaining to sixteen year old Simone, response was a resounding denial. However, Deena Barnes testified in court that she allowed her pretty baby sister to run around naked in public with her boyfriend, his brother, and his cousin.

A volume of other lies were also told during the investigation when Simone was first reported missing. Those lies led to search warrants for phone records and social media accounts of many of the men who were hanging out at the older Barnes’ sibling apartment. Those warrants uncovered a video of the child streaking nude with her sister and three males. Investigators also uncovered a volume of text exchanges between Simone and Deena’s boyfriend Michael Johnson. The content of those exchanges and other pieces of circumstantial evidence resulted in Johnson’s indictment for the murder of the child. Prosecutors utilized the fact that he was the last known person to see her alive, the video, text messages, and a witness account that places Johnson in the stairwell of the apartment building on the day she disappeared. Johnson was apparently seen struggling to carry a large plastic tote, that police authorities believe contained the child’s body. Police reports also indicate that a police cadaver canine lost the child’s scent in the parking lot at the exact location where other witness say the vehicle Johnson was driving in was parked on the day of her disappearance.

The lies that were told during the initial phase of her disappearance investigation gave her killer(s) time to cover up their crime and eliminate crucial evidence. While the cops were on a wild goose chase looking for clues, Simone’s nude and lifeless body was frozen in the chilled waters of the Susquehanna River in Northern Maryland near the Conowingo Dam. Yet, significant clues did emerge shortly after she went missing. Like the tweet by a female friend of one of the males who was hanging around the apartment during the time Simone went missing. She tweeted “its trapped at the dam, don’t pull the lever.” The tweet which was later taken down was screen captured in time, and forwarded to the authorities. The female made the twitter post on January 28, 2012, and just a month after Simone had gone missing. That particular fact is very haunting, disturbing, and just outright heartless to know that there was an obvious connection to Simone’s disappearance, especially when she was in fact ultimately found near a dam, and no one had the courage to speak up for young Simone. What did she (“the Twitter Girl”) know? Why was that element of the case never brought to the forefront by investigators?

That wasn’t the only clue to finding young Simone that emerged during the search for her. Psychics told The People’s Champion Blog that young Simone was in a body of water near a bridge that ran between two larges land mass. Their vision was spot on, and when the waters began to thaw, the secret of what happened to the pretty and promising honors kid from Monroe North Carolina finally emerged from the shadows of dispare when state environmental workers spotted the child’s badly decomposed body in the water. The mystery of her whereabouts had been solved, but how she ended up over 30 miles from where she was staying in West Baltimore still hasn’t been discovered.

For a period of time my blog seemed like the only media outlet that was beating the drum for justice in young Phylicia Simone Barnes’ tragic murder, but along the way followers of her heartbreaking story sent information, pictures, and other vital clues to help solve her murder case. From California to Virginia they came curious, tearful, angered, and resolved to find her killers. The public outcry was simply devastated when state prosecutors muffed the case, by gambling and putting a questionable witness on the stand who not only had a criminal past, but also had serious credibility issues that they knew about well in advance prior to putting him on the stand. The witness claimed to have been an eyewitness to seeing Michael Johnson with Simone’s dead body in her sister apartment on the day she disappeared.

Prosecutes put a man name James McCray on the stand who said that Johnson had telephoned him for his advice regarding what to due with the child’s body. McCray told the court that Johnson stated that he had raped the child, she wouldn’t stop crying, and he strangled her to death. McCray said he advise Johnson to get rid of the child’s clothes, wrap her body in bed sheets, and discard her in water to hide potential evidence. His testimony seemed plausible on its face because it matched exactly what the killer had done with Simone’s remains. Defense lawyers fought back and argued that the child’s case was widely broadcast on television and McCray could have easily learned the details of the case be simply viewing the evening news broadcast. To add insult to injury, when defense attorney’s challenged McCray to recall the time period he saw Simone’s body with Johnson, and McCray stated that it was before Christmas. The defense had no further questioning for McCray, abruptly ending questioning of him, and in a fashion that appeared to be an obvious exclamation point for the defense. Simone disappeared after Christmas and the defense did a great job exposing inconsistencies in McCray’s testimony that was so poignant that he appeared as a bold face liar.

The prosecutor’s office not only gambled by putting McCray on the stand, but they deliberately failed to turn over exculpatory evidence that was favorable to Michael Johnson’s defense. McCray had also testified during trial that he had given testimony for the state in a Montgomery County criminal case. The only problem with his testimony, is Montgomery County officials contacted the Baltimore prosecutor’s office and notified them that they backed off on using McCray as a witness, because his testimony had credibility issues. This discovery meant that McCray had perjured himself by lying during testimony in the Michael Johnson murder trial. Instead of the state turning this crucial and exculpatory evidence over to Michael Johnson’s attorney, they concealed the discovery evidence, and leaving the judge no other recourse but declare a mistrial in his case.

The prosecutor’s office quickly brought the case back to court a second time, and during those proceedings the judge ordered the state to redact parts of an audio recording prior to playing it before the court and jury. Despite the judges’ instructions the state played the tape unedited in court. This led to a second mistrial, but the judge then ruled an acquittal setting Michael Johnson free of all charges. The judge cited the lack of evidence to proceed with criminal charges in the case. Although the judge set him free, the state argued that the judge abused his authority by granting Johnson and acquittal after having initially declared a mistrial in the case. The state believed that the judge had no legal authority after he ruled a mistrial. The state sent the case to the Maryland Special Court of Appeals, and the court agreed with the state by reversing the acquittal ruling given to Michael Johnson by the lower Circuit Court of Baltimore, and paving the way for the Baltimore State’ Attorney’s office to put Johnson on trial for the killing of young Phylicia Simone Barnes once again.

It hasn’t been proven in a court of law that Michael Johnson is responsible for the murder of young Simone, and I’m sure that I speak for the late child’s family by stating that they want justice for their child, but real justice and not through covert tactics that violate Johnson’s civil rights. A fair trial is all they are after in the name of justice. To the Mustafa family and the Sallis-Evans family my prayers are with you, as you embark on yet another course seeking justice for the senseless killing of your daughter and sister. It is my greatest hope the justice prevails in this case so that young Simone may finally rest in eternal peace. I’m still with you, and the purple candle still burns in memory of such a promising child who wanted to dedicate her life serving others. Justice for Phylicia Barnes … #RIPSimone #emonis In your memory with love forever! (To read all of the articles written by me for Phylicia’s case, go to the home page and type Phylicia Barnes in the search engine at the top of the page for a list of articles related to her case)

 

To be continued …

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Blogger 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

Her smile was contagious, she brought laughter to every setting that her infectious character ever embraced, and her silly wit was the trade mark that many have said was so alluring. The memories of her have often faded, but the circumstances surrounding her sudden and tragic death has never completely dissipated. The story of late Phylicia Simone Barnes sometimes seem like a reoccurring nightmare that continues to appear over and over again, but like a haunting ghost, the spirit of her murder refuses to die. Snatched from this world far too soon at the hands of heartless monsters, the promising honors kid fell prey to cowards she became exposed to by her own half sibling.

Her mother Janice Mustafa and her oldest sister Shauntel Sallis-Evans have both described Simone as a Sweet but naive “country girl.” While she was entrusted to the care of her half sister she visited in Baltimore over the Christmas holiday back in 2010, she became exposed to a culture of drug usage, alcohol, and a group of adult men that many believe were responsible for the sixteen year old’s demise. In a strange sequence of events, young Simone went from being closely guarded and monitored by her two older adult half siblings, to mysteriously disappearing without a trace on the only day that she had been left at her siblings apartment alone. The exact details of what happened to her have always been sketchy and played out in a series of live radio, television, and podcast shows. The most noted broadcast highlighting the child’s family version of what happened, occurred on January 19, 2011 during a broadcast of a The People’s Champion Blog affiliate, and the nationally recognized child advocacy organization of “Peas In Their Pods.”  It was a broadcast that angered many, as the siblings could be heard whispering, and even laughing at one point during the broadcast (Listen here: “Where Is Phylicia Barnes?”).

Despite Simone’s family requesting candor and honesty regarding what happened to the child, the “Peas” broadcast was the first media outlet of any kind to capture statements on record, and became a valuable source of information that helped the public formulate their own version of the truth when court testimony by one sibling revealed that she had been lying about elements of Simone’s case all along. Her sibling told a volume of lies about the allegations of having exposed to her kid sister to drugs and alcohol, and the flat denial about any sexual activity between her sister and older males. Court testimony revealed that the older sibling Deena Barnes admitted in court to allowing her sister to drink vodka and smoke marijuana. When the host asked the siblings about sexual activity pertaining to sixteen year old Simone, response was a resounding denial. However, Deena Barnes testified in court that she allowed her pretty baby sister to run around naked in public with her boyfriend, his brother, and his cousin.

A volume of other lies were also told during the investigation when Simone was first reported missing. Those lies led to search warrants for phone records and social media accounts of many of the men who were hanging out at the older Barnes’ sibling apartment. Those warrants uncovered a video of the child streaking nude with her sister and three males. Investigators also uncovered a volume of text exchanges between Simone and Deena’s boyfriend Michael Johnson. The content of those exchanges and other pieces of circumstantial evidence resulted in Johnson’s indictment for the murder of the child. Prosecutors utilized the fact that he was the last known person to see her alive, the video, text messages, and a witness account that places Johnson in the stairwell of the apartment building on the day she disappeared. Johnson was apparently seen struggling to carry a large plastic tote, that police authorities believe contained the child’s body. Police reports also indicate that a police cadaver canine lost the child’s scent in the parking lot at the exact location where other witness say the vehicle Johnson was driving in was parked on the day of her disappearance.

The lies that were told during the initial phase of her disappearance investigation gave her killer(s) time to cover up their crime and eliminate crucial evidence. While the cops were on a wild goose chase looking for clues, Simone’s nude and lifeless body was frozen in the chilled waters of the Susquehanna River in Northern Maryland near the Conowingo Dam. Yet, significant clues did emerge shortly after she went missing. Like the tweet by a female friend of one of the males who was hanging around the apartment during the time Simone went missing. She tweeted “its trapped at the dam, don’t pull the lever.” The tweet which was later taken down was screen captured in time, and forwarded to the authorities. The female made the twitter post on January 28, 2012, and just a month after Simone had gone missing. That particular fact is very haunting, disturbing, and just outright heartless to know that there was an obvious connection to Simone’s disappearance, especially when she was in fact ultimately found near a dam, and no one had the courage to speak up for young Simone. What did she (“the Twitter Girl”) know? Why was that element of the case never brought to the forefront by investigators?

That wasn’t the only clue to finding young Simone that emerged during the search for her. Psychics told The People’s Champion Blog that young Simone was in a body of water near a bridge that ran between two larges land mass. Their vision was spot on, and when the waters began to thaw, the secret of what happened to the pretty and promising honors kid from Monroe North Carolina finally emerged from the shadows of dispare when state environmental workers spotted the child’s badly decomposed body in the water. The mystery of her whereabouts had been solved, but how she ended up over 30 miles from where she was staying in West Baltimore still hasn’t been discovered.

For a period of time my blog seemed like the only media outlet that was beating the drum for justice in young Phylicia Simone Barnes’ tragic murder, but along the way followers of her heartbreaking story sent information, pictures, and other vital clues to help solve her murder case. From California to Virginia they came curious, tearful, angered, and resolved to find her killers. The public outcry was simply devastated when state prosecutors muffed the case, by gambling and putting a questionable witness on the stand who not only had a criminal past, but also had serious credibility issues that they knew about well in advance prior to putting him on the stand. The witness claimed to have been an eyewitness to seeing Michael Johnson with Simone’s dead body in her sister apartment on the day she disappeared.

Prosecutes put a man name James McCray on the stand who said that Johnson had telephoned him for his advice regarding what to due with the child’s body. McCray told the court that Johnson stated that he had raped the child, she wouldn’t stop crying, and he strangled her to death. McCray said he advise Johnson to get rid of the child’s clothes, wrap her body in bed sheets, and discard her in water to hide potential evidence. His testimony seemed plausible on its face because it matched exactly what the killer had done with Simone’s remains. Defense lawyers fought back and argued that the child’s case was widely broadcast on television and McCray could have easily learned the details of the case be simply viewing the evening news broadcast. To add insult to injury, when defense attorney’s challenged McCray to recall the time period he saw Simone’s body with Johnson, and McCray stated that it was before Christmas. The defense had no further questioning for McCray, abruptly ending questioning of him, and in a fashion that appeared to be an obvious exclamation point for the defense. Simone disappeared after Christmas and the defense did a great job exposing inconsistencies in McCray’s testimony that was so poignant that he appeared as a bold face liar.

The prosecutor’s office not only gambled by putting McCray on the stand, but they deliberately failed to turn over exculpatory evidence that was favorable to Michael Johnson’s defense. McCray had also testified during trial that he had given testimony for the state in a Montgomery County criminal case. The only problem with his testimony, is Montgomery County officials contacted the Baltimore prosecutor’s office and notified them that they backed off on using McCray as a witness, because his testimony had credibility issues. This discovery meant that McCray had perjured himself by lying during testimony in the Michael Johnson murder trial. Instead of the state turning this crucial and exculpatory evidence over to Michael Johnson’s attorney, they concealed the discovery evidence, and leaving the judge no other recourse but declare a mistrial in his case.

The prosecutor’s office quickly brought the case back to court a second time, and during those proceedings the judge ordered the state to redact parts of an audio recording prior to playing it before the court and jury. Despite the judges’ instructions the state played the tape unedited in court. This led to a second mistrial, but the judge then ruled an acquittal setting Michael Johnson free of all charges. The judge cited the lack of evidence to proceed with criminal charges in the case. Although the judge set him free, the state argued that the judge abused his authority by granting Johnson and acquittal after having initially declared a mistrial in the case. The state believed that the judge had no legal authority after he ruled a mistrial. The state sent the case to the Maryland Special Court of Appeals, and the court agreed with the state by reversing the acquittal ruling given to Michael Johnson by the lower Circuit Court of Baltimore, and paving the way for the Baltimore State’ Attorney’s office to put Johnson on trial for the killing of young Phylicia Simone Barnes once again.

It hasn’t been proven in a court of law that Michael Johnson is responsible for the murder of young Simone, and I’m sure that I speak for the late child’s family by stating that they want justice for their child, but real justice and not through covert tactics that violate Johnson’s civil rights. A fair trial is all they are after in the name of justice. To the Mustafa family and the Sallis-Evans family my prayers are with you, as you embark on yet another course seeking justice for the senseless killing of your daughter and sister. It is my greatest hope the justice prevails in this case so that young Simone may finally rest in eternal peace. I’m still with you, and the purple candle still burns in memory of such a promising child who wanted to dedicate her life serving others. Justice for Phylicia Barnes … #RIPSimone #emonis In your memory with love forever! (To read all of the articles written by me for Phylicia’s case, go to the home page and type Phylicia Barnes in the search engine at the top of the page for a list of articles related to her case)

 

To be continued …

The People’s Champion

I’m Crime Blogger 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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One Response to “Maryland State Court Of Special Appeals Sends Murdered Teen’s Case Back To Baltimore Circuit Court: Accused Killer Michael Johnson Will Go Back On Trial For Honors Kid Slaying”

  1. fanc says:

    As always great article David, I pray for Justice for Phylicia I still check social media for any updates in this case.. Prayers for Ms.Mustafa and her family..

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