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Posted: 5:38 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013
Jurors will reconvene Tuesday morning inside a Maryland courtroom to try and decide if Michael Johnson is guilty of killing Monroe native Phylicia Barnes.The 16-year-old went missing in 2010 while visiting her sister in Baltimore.During closing arguments, prosecutors admitted they are missing a so-called smoking gun in their case against Johnson, but they are asking jurors to piece together the evidence that they do have. They believe that Johnson was romantically interested in Barnes and jealous of the time she spent with others.The defense claims the state’s evidence is circumstantial and there is no physical evidence linking Johnson to the killing.The state said when you add all the pieces together, it points to first-degree murder.Cameras have not been allowed in the courtroom for the trial, but a reporter for an ABC affiliate in Baltimore who has been in courtroom said the Barnes’ family is confident in the state’s case.Their case rests on testimony given by James Lee, a man with a criminal history, who said he saw Barnes’ body and helped Johnson move it.The defense said his testimony should be discredited.The jury has the option of deciding between first- and second-degree murder in the case.In an unusual offer, the judge gave the jury the option of taking an early lunch break Tuesday so they could go to the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory parade.The jury declined the offer.WSOCTV.com will send out a breaking news alert when the verdict is announced. Sign up for breaking news alerts here.
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