Phylicia BarnesTwo years ago Phylicia Barnes, 16, went missing from a Pikesville, Maryland neighborhood. An honors student from Monroe, North Carolina, Barnes was visiting her half-sister Deena, after the re-connected over Facebook. On December 28, 2010, Phylicia disappeared.

Many criticized the media for not giving Phylicia’s case any attention because, in all missing persons cases, time is of the essence.  From the beginning the speculation surrounding her disappearance involved Deena’s boyfriend, Michael Johnson. Johnson wasn’t charged until April 2012, over a year after Phylicia’s body was found. According to eyewitnesses he was the person to be seen with Phylicia Barnes.

Many questioned the environment the 16-year-old was staying in and pointed out that the activity Phylicia was involved in while staying with her sister could have been the catalyst to her death.  During the stay, it’s reported that Phylicia indulged in drugs and alcohol. Phylicia also went streaking with Johnson and recorded a sexually explicit video, which was found on her sister’s phone.

Yesterday in a Baltimore courtroom, Johnson was found guilty of second-degree murder, which carries a maximum of 30 years in jail. Second-degree murder does not require premeditation or deliberation. In order to convict the defendant of second-degree murder, the state must prove that the conduct of the defendant caused the death of the victim, and that the defendant engaged in the deadly conduct either with the intent to kill or with the intent to inflict such serious bodily harm that death would be the likely result.

Even though lawyers on both sides recognized the evidence against Johnson was circumstantial, prosecutors contended that the facts pointed to Johnson as the only reasonable suspect.

Key testimony came from two people, James McCray and a neighbor. McCray testified that he gave Johnson advice on what to do with Phylicia’s body, after Johnson told him he raped her and strangled her because she wouldn’t stop crying.  A neighbor also told the jury that he saw Johnson transporting a plastic storage container from the apartment where Phylicia was staying the day she disappeared.

Phylicia’s mother, Janice Mustafa, was relieved with the verdict. “Now Simone can move on,” she said, referring to Barnes by her middle name. “This is a great day. I can breathe now.”

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  • lil ray

    ^ a website black women should look into.

  • Coccohanel31

    Very true Chilly Road. Perhaps the mother did meet the Sister Deena and deemed t he atmosphere okay, who knows! All I know is she was not deserving of this tragic end regardless! I know my crazy mother wasn’t lettting me stay with anyone at 16 that she didn’t know , especially if she did not know their parents etc…but again this is a truly tragic tale and the mom and especially sister for allowing this monster in her home, will live with the guilt for the rest of their lives. I hope that beast gets servved in prison what he was serving up smh.

    Reminds me of hte Mandeeces character from LHHATL. Just predatory character all around ..smh.

  • Kenzy

    this going to come across as irrelevant as i know there are those who will say focus on justice however, i clicked on the link clutch provided in the article and read that article too. Id like to advocate for parents to truly teach their children the responsible way to handle technology. IN this digital age we should try to embed in our children the right and way wrong way to use it..and to handle it with care. ALso to realize that once something is recorded or put on the internet its there forever. Of course kids will still do what they want, but I would like to think with more knowledge or the fear of their parents words would help. As i was reading the linked article all i kept thinking was wow a 16 year old not only recording a sex tape (or if she didnt saying agreeing it could be shot) and not only that but RECORDING IT ON SOMEONE ELSES PHONE!!!! id like to emphasize i feel bad for this family and im glad that sicko is going to jail for her murder and also that in essence this sex tape has nothing to do with her murder and justice but it is one of the things that stood out to me.. i mean honestly its no wonder teens and younger think this is ok when you have ppl who are getting “put on” by making a sex tape first ….RIP Phylicia

    • kenzy

      P.S. this stood out to me because while all this was going on i followed the case, intentionally sought out information as i knew the main stream wouldnt and kept tabs on the case and this article is the first time ive ever heard of a sex tape

  • Anthony

    The killer got off lightly with a second degree murder conviction since he killed after he raped her. That should be first degree murder from what understand of the law. I suppose the lack of stronger evidence resulted in lesser charges. A rape/murder is usually the sort of crime that results in sentences like life or the deth penalty.

    • SeeMe

      @Anthony: I’m glad that the jury gave him second degree murder. The amount of circumstantial evidence was so high and Johnson was a typical murdering narcissist, thinking he was “smart” and would get away with it. It’s definitely Second degree because he didn’t plan to murder her when he went over to the apartment; he didn’t considerate killing her until PB re-acted hysterically, in a way where it was obvious that she was going to tell the world that he did something to her. He freaked out and killed her to silence her. The act of rape is an acute assumption, technically, so he can be charged for that. Her murder, however, is a fact. That being said, the sentencing is up to the judge. He could give him ten years or 30. But I think the judge is a devil who kept unnecesarily complaining that that the evidence was “circumstantial.” Dumb. He’ll probably go light on him. The judge, when whining about “circumstancial” evidence (like he’s never seen a case with it before, duh), did NOT even consider the fact that MJ and that ghetto piglet Deena had four months to shampoo carpets, clean walls, dispose of sheets etc. I thank God for the jury because the judge was hating. Sometimes, when dealing with info the “facts” won’t be handed to you on a silver platter and you have to use your God-given common sense. I hope skinny Johnson is raped in prison. He is truly an evil man…all this murder, lying, hiding bodies. People don’t just do this kind of stuff ONCE.

  • Barbara

    Thanks for your insight.
    I was thinking “two” rapes had occurred. The Police used the Child Pornography law, which suggests that the victim was considered a child and can not give “legal” consent to have sex. The child was intoxicated. Equals rape?

    I don’t know what the “legal” age of consent is in that state.