A Baltimore judge denied bail Friday for the man charged in the death of Monroe teenager Phylicia Barnes.
Michael Johnson is charged with first-degree murder in the 16-year-old’s death. He was arrested Wednesday, police said.
Assistant State's Attorney Lisa Goldberg told a judge Friday that Johnson mentioned in emails and texts that he would flee the country if charged. Noting concerns about those messages, the judge ordered Johnson held without bail.
Barnes disappeared in December 2010 while visiting relatives in Baltimore. Months later, in April, her body was found in a river outside Baltimore.
Johnson is the ex-boyfriend of Phylicia’s older half-sister, whom she had been visiting when she disappeared. Police said he was the last person to see her alive.
Goldberg said Johnson used a 35-gallon tub to move Barnes’ body. She said he was videotaped buying the tub and a neighbor saw him carrying it.
Johnson has denied the charges and his attorney calls the case circumstantial.
Phylicia's father, Russell Barnes, told Channel 9 Thursday that he was suspicious of Johnson from the beginning.
"He did not help us do anything with looking for Phylicia, and it seemed bizarre and just out of touch,” Russell Barnes said.
He said he feels a sense of relief following the arrest.
Barnes was an honor student at Union Academy in Monroe. A memorial garden has been planted there in her memory.