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Posted: 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013
By Blair Miller
More than two years after a Monroe teenager disappeared, the trial of a man accused of killing her is now under way in Baltimore.
The case made headlines across the country. Sixteen-year-old Phylicia Barnes, a one-time honor student at Union Academy in Monroe, vanished in December 2010.
She was last seen in Baltimore while visiting family.
Then, months later, her body was found in the Susquehanna River in Maryland.
It took nearly a year before police arrested Michael Johnson and charged him with first-degree murder.
Her family said at the time they were relieved.
“Let me just say I am grateful for this day,” her uncle, Harry Watson, said at the time.
Barnes' brother and others who were close to her said last year that Johnson was on their radar from the beginning.
“Everything pointed back to him,” said her brother, Bryan Barnes.
He'd dated her sister for years and had just broken up with her shortly before Phylicia disappeared.
Lawyers for Johnson have denied the charges and question the evidence, saying the case is circumstantial.
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