Barnes murder trial postponed

BALTIMORE - Defendant Michael Maurice Johnson, the man accused of killing Phylicia Barnes shuffled into court with both his ankles and wrists chained only to learn both the state and his defense needed more time before arguing his fate.

Russell Neverdon is one of Johnson's attorneys who, along with the state asked the judge for a postponement until January, next year.

The defense says there are now more than 17 thousand pages of evidence to sift through and so far none of it reveals a clear case against Johnson.

"With the discovery we've seen thus far, I'm still trying to put it together to figure out what direction they're coming from.  It just seems to me like I've said in the beginning, it's still the old cliché the last person to have seen him has to be the person responsible or involved in some way.  And I think that is pretty much where they are right now," said Neverdon.

The state disagrees.

It was in April during a bail review that we got a glimpse into its case.

Police believe Johnson killed his girlfriend's sister by asphyxiation, stuffed her body into a large 35 gallon tub and disposed of it.

Prosecutors also point to a close relationship between Barnes and Johnson and several hundred text messages between the two.

It is all evidence gathered by four different police agencies over a year and a half, both sides now afforded another five months before airing it all out in court.

"I think the client is still confident in his innocence.  He is confident we will put on a great defense.  He is confident he is going to fight this every step of the way," said defense attorney Tony Garcia.

The trial is now set for January 21 st, 2013; roughly a month after what will be the two year anniversary of Phylicia Barnes' disappearance. 

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