Trial for man accused of killing NC teen Phylicia Barnes to start Tuesday

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MONROE, N.C. — The trial of a man who is accused of killing a Monroe teen will get underway on Tuesday in Baltimore.

WSOC reported that prosecutors allege Michael Johnson, 28, killed 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes while she was spending Christmas with relatives.

Barnes was visiting her older half-siblings in Baltimore when she disappeared Dec. 28, 2010.

Authorities said that workers at the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River found her body the following April in northeast Maryland. Her death has since been ruled a homicide.

Baltimore police said the teen’s disappearance was unusual because she had no history of disputes with her family or trouble with the law. Police called it one of the strangest and most vexing missing people cases they had investigated.

The trial is planned to start with jury selection Tuesday. Attorneys point out that could take time to find 12 people who have not heard of a case that garnered national attention.

Johnson had been dating Barnes’ half-sister, who she was visiting. He claims he is innocent.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have said little since a gag order was issued on the case.

Read more: WSOC.