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Same man convicted and later acquitted of killing Phylicia Barnes is back behind bars for alleged rape

Posted at 1:45 PM, Jul 03, 2024

BALTIMORE — A man convicted and later acquitted for the 2010 murder of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes is behind bars again for allegedly raping a young girl.

This latest incident happened July 1 at an apartment complex on Marquette Road.

A social worker called Baltimore County Police on behalf of the girl, who reported being strangled and raped by her boyfriend, Michael Johnson, 40.

Charging documents say the girl had popped blood vessels in the eyes, and a "severely swollen" mouth and tongue which forced her to speak with officers via cell phone message.

According to the victim, she and Johnson have been in a relationship since June 2023. During an interview with investigators, she described Johnson as a "sugar daddy."

The two reportedly lived together in York, Pennsylvania for a period of time last October, before the girl's foster care got involved.

Johnson apparently became furious when he overheard the victim talking to her sister on the phone about another guy.

This prompted an unrelenting attack on the victim, which she says lasted around six hours.

During that time she claims Johnson repeatedly choked and raped her to the point of unconsciousness.

At one point the victim recalled defending herself by punching Johnson in the face, but that only made matters worse.

The girl said she finally allowed Johnson to continue on with the assault so it would end.

When it was all over, she notified her social worker.

Police later responded to the apartment and located Johnson sleeping in the bedroom.

He admitted to having sex with the victim, adding they each smoked marijuana and took mushrooms.

Johnson's version of how things started differed from his girlfriend's.

According to his story, the victim got mad and hit him first for texting another woman.

While noting a knot on Johnson's head, along with scratch marks to his forearms, detectives believe those were from the girlfriend trying to defend herself.

Johnson later demanded an attorney, answering no more questions from investigators.

It's not the first time Johnson's been accused of violent crime.

He previously was in a relationship with the sister of Phylicia Barnes, 16, whose body was found in the Susquehanna River after disappearing during a family visit to Baltimore in 2010.

Johnson was charged and convicted in Barnes' murder, only for that verdict to be overturned later.

After three separate trials, a judge ultimately acquitted Johnson for lack of evidence.

Now, following these latest allegations, Johnson finds himself back behind bars without bail.