In April 2011, the body of a student from North Carolina was found floating
in the Susquehanna River. She had been in Baltimore visiting her sister.
Her sister’s boyfriend was charged with the teenager’s murder.
The first trial occurred in February 2013. The state’s primary witness
was an inmate who told police and prosecutors that the defendant had asked
him to help get rid of the teen’s body. The jury in that trial had
found the defendant guilty of second-degree murder; however, the judge
threw out that verdict, saying that the prosecution didn’t tell
the defense everything about the witness. Apparently, the witness had
testified in two other trials that were not related to this case. He would
have been used as a witness in another murder trial, but an officer didn’t
believe he was credible. It’s this last bit of information that
was held from the defense.
The prosecution filed over 30 motions, including one asking the prosecution
recuse themselves. Almost all of the motions were denied by the Baltimore
Circuit judge. The defense also filed a motion asking the judge to recuse
himself, too. That motion was denied as well.
The new trial just started and this time, the prosecution’s witness
— who was also the only person who could put the defendant at the
murder scene — won’t be testifying this time. The defendant
has new attorneys for this trial.
Those charged with violent crimes such as murder, rape and assault need
experienced, knowledgeable legal representation. Because the penalties
are so high, it’s important that such representation be secured
as early as possible in the case. This will allow the defendant and his
or her attorneys to put together a strong defense case based upon the evidence.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Second trial in Phylicia Barnes murder begins without key witness” Justin Fenton, Dec. 05, 2014