Wire-tapped phone conversations, texts, and cell phone tower data were introduced as evidence in the first-degree murder trial of Michael Maurice Johnson in Baltimore Circuit Court, which ended in a guilty verdict for the second-degree murder of Phylicia Barnes.
Police say the communications and tower data helped track the accused’s movements the day in December 2010, when Phylicia Barnes disappeared. As reported in The Baltimore Sun, on December 28th, when the 16-year-old disappeared, more than 50 cell phone calls or texts were made by Michael Johnson.
The skilled attorneys at the law firm of Alpert Schreyer understand the seriousness of a murder charge and can help protect the rights of the accused as they provide aggressive legal defense.
Communication data was presented to Baltimore Circuit Court jurors on Thursday, January 31, 2013. Prosecutors say that Johnson was afraid the Phylicia Barnes death investigation was centering in on him, so he said in a text message to a girlfriend that he was considering leaving the country. Johnson’s attorney explained that text messages about leaving the country were made because Johnson was feeling pressured about the birth of a child and that he did not want the responsibility of being a father.
Johnson says he last saw Phylicia sleeping on her couch. He left her apartment at 1:30 p.m. and drove to a Wal-Mart and then to visit relatives. His phone hit off of a cell tower in Howard County. It did not hit off a tower east of Northwest Baltimore at any time day or night. There was no evidence linking Johnson to the area where Ms. Barnes’ body was found in the Susquehanna River 40 miles north of Baltimore. But this may or may not have been a factor in the acquittal of first-degree murder charges or the subsequent guilty verdict on second-degree murder charges.
According to The Baltimore Sun, attorneys on both sides acknowledged that much of the evidence against Johnson was circumstantial, however, the facts made him the only reasonable suspect.
If you are facing serious charges for committing a crime in Maryland, the first-degree murder defense attorneys at Alpert Schreyer will help protect your lawful rights. Call us at (301) 321-7277 to discuss your case at no cost. Allow us to apply our criminal defense experience to your case. You can also fill out our contact form online to request a consultation.