Phylicia Barnes Murder: Man convicted of killing teen seeks new trial

Chief Medical Examiner David Fowler says that Barnes was the only missing person in the area who matched the age and gender of the body that was found. He says her dental records were the only set police submitted for comparison and were used to make the identification.
Personal Photo
Phylicia Barnes
Personal Photo

(CBS/AP) BALTIMORE  - Defense attorneys are seeking a new trial for a Baltimore man convicted in the high-profile slaying of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes.

Pictures: Md. man convicted of killing N.C. teen

Michael Johnson was convicted this month of second-degree murder in Barnes' death. Barnes was an honor student from North Carolina who disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore in December 2010. Her body was found four months later in the Susquehanna River.

Johnson's lawyers filed a motion for a new trial on Tuesday. Attorney Russell Neverdon says prosecutors improperly tried to bolster the credibility of a witness who testified that Johnson asked him for help disposing of Barnes' body.

Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein says the state will respond to the motion at the appropriate time.

Johnson's sentencing is scheduled for March 20. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Complete coverage of the Phylicia Barnes case on Crimesider