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Bail denied for man charged in Phylicia Barnes’ death

A Baltimore judge has denied bail for a man accused of killing a North Carolina teen whose body was found in a Maryland river months after she went missing.

Assistant State’s Attorney Lisa Goldberg told the judge Friday that Michael Johnson, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, mentioned in emails and texts that he would flee the country if charged. Noting concerns about those messages, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge John Addison Howard ordered Johnson, Barnes’ half-sister’s ex-boyfriend, held without bail.

Goldberg says Johnson killed Barnes in her half-sister’s apartment, then used a 35-gallon tub to move the body. She says he was videotaped buying the tub and a neighbor saw him carrying it.

Johnson has denied the charges and his attorney calls the case circumstantial.