New Trial Ordered in Phylicia Barnes Slaying

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013  |  Updated 2:54 PM EDT
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Phylicia Barnes

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Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein said his office plans to retry Michael Johnson for the death of a North Carolina honor student who was missing for months before her body was found in a river.

A judge ordered a new trial Wednesday for Johnson, who was convicted last month in the death of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes. Johnson's lawyers said prosecutors improperly tried to bolster the credibility of a witness who testified that Johnson asked him for help disposing of Barnes' body.

Bernstein said he looks forward to a new trial in which his office will be able to present evidence and testimony they believe will establish Johnson's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Johnson faced up to 30 years in prison.

Barnes disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore in December 2010.

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