State rests in Barnes trial


On Friday afternoon shortly before 4 o'clock, the state rested its case against the man it believes murdered Phylicia Barnes.

It's been six days, more than 30 witnesses, a sex tape and a witness who says he saw the body of Phylicia Barnes on the defendant's bed.

The state began its sixth and final day with a neighbor to Michael Johnson.

He testified that on December, 28th 2010 at some time in the morning he witnessed Johnson struggling to move a big, heavy, blue plastic tote up the common stairs in their apartment building; one stair at a time.

He testified he asked Johnson if he needed help because he seemed like he needed it; according to testimony, Johnson said no and told his neighbor he was fine.

It has been the state's theory Johnson killed Phylicia Barnes in his apartment and transported the body in the blue tote.

The state never did recover that storage bin in question leaving the state's theory not exactly air tight, a lack of physical evidence Johnson's defense team has been quick to point out all week.

The only testimony that closes that hole is that of a convicted criminal James Lee who testified Johnson not only admitted to forcing himself sexually on Phylicia Barnes, but choked her to death when she wouldn't stop crying afterward.

Lee said on the stand Wednesday he saw the body of Phylicia Barnes and told Johnson how to dispose of it.

To further legitimize Lee's testimony Friday afternoon the state called the city police homicide detective who interviewed him.

Detective Ray Bennett testified that Lee "never asked for anything" in return for his testimony and seemed credible as Bennett checked out his story.

Johnson's defense countered saying police didn't check out lee's story thoroughly enough and that there is no record on Johnson's cell phone indicating he called Lee on December, 28 th 2010.

Johnson's team of attorneys will have their say with the jury come Monday morning.


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