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Father: New indictment in Phylicia Barnes’ killing

More than four years after a Union County teenager disappeared and was later found dead in Baltimore, the man accused in her death has been indicted for a third time, the victim’s father said.

Russell Barnes, the father of then-16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, told WBTV that he learned Monday evening that his daughter’s accused killer has been indicted for a third time just weeks after all charges were dropped.

Michael Johnson has been connected to Barnes’ 2010 death. Barnes, who is from Monroe, was staying with her half sister, Deena Barnes, in Baltimore when she disappeared in December 2010. Her body was found four months later in the Susquehanna River, near Baltimore.

Johnson is Deena’s ex-boyfriend, and investigators say he was the last known person to see her alive.

“I was ecstatic. I was elated that he was indicted once again,” Russell Barnes told WBTV Monday night.

Barnes said prosecutors vowed to seek another indictment and have kept to their word.

In February 2013, a Baltimore jury found Johnson guilty of second-degree murder in Phylicia’s death. That decision was later appealed.

In December, a judge declared a mistrial for the second time. The Baltimore Sun reported that the judge declared the mistrial because prosecutors played a wiretap conversation that was supposed to be withheld. The judge believed the mistake was not intentional but said it tainted the jury.

“As a family we’re going to stay focused, And for Phylicia, we have to make sure we get justice done. You know, we have to go all the way out. Do what we have to do,” Barnes said. “We just have to stay focused and pressure, pressure, pressure the judicial system to make things happen the right way.” WBTV

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