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Md. judge upholds acquittal in Phylicia Barnes case

A judge has upheld the acquittal of a Baltimore man in the killing of a North Carolina teenager and prosecutors are vowing to appeal.

Judge John Addison Howard on Thursday upheld his decision in January to dismiss charges against Michael Maurice Johnson, who prosecutors say killed 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes. Her body was found in the Susquehanna River months after she disappeared while visiting family in Baltimore in 2010.

Johnson was convicted of second-degree murder in 2013, but was granted a new trial after a judge ruled that prosecutors withheld evidence.

In December, Howard declared a mistrial in the second trial. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby re-filed charges against Johnson last month, arguing that Howard didn’t have the authority to grant acquittal after the mistrial. Mosby says she will appeal.