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Johnson Pleads Not Guilty In Barnes Teen Killing: Attorney Neverdon Says He Hasn’t Seen Charge Document Against His Client

Michael Johnson was transported from the Baltimore City Detention Center to the Circuit Court of Baltimore City in downtown today with his hands shackled in the front. The highly anticipated arraignment only took a few moments as his attorney, Russell Neverdon entered a plea of “not guilty” for his client on charges that he murdered 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, and requested that Michael Johnson be tried before a jury of his peers. When asked if he understood the charges against him, Johnson simply nodded his head with his face blank and expressionless. The judge ordered Michael to speak up so the court’s microphone could hear him, and Johnson uttered “yes sir” in a extremely low audible. The judge, state’s attorney Goldberg, and Russell Neverdon all agreed on an August 13 trial date. Just like that with very little fanfare, Johnson was whisked away from the court room by Correctional Officers. This short hearing had brought a nearly standing room only audience to the Charles Street courthouse on the first hot and muggy day of the summer. Supporters of the Barnes family garnered signature purple, which have practically embodied the honors teen’s favorite color. Others in attendance appear to be in support of Johnson himself. As the quest for justice for Phylicia Barnes begins to take center stage, many believe there are no guarantees that true justice will ever be served in this senseless and tragic case. Attorney Neverdon continues to convey that Michael unequivocally denies any involvement in the killing of young Phylicia. The attorney said that the state’s case fails to connect the dots on exactly how Michael allegedly asphyxiated the studious child. Neverdon says that Phylicia’s body was void of any trauma and believes that her death would have been best ruled as unknown. He went on to say that although he has read police reports alleging that his client killed Phylicia, he has not seen the charging documents against his client. It’s unclear whether Neverdon’s comments are mere posturing tactics carefully scripted not to disclose his defense strategy, but he has already filed a MOTION FOR DISCOVER in the case and at some point he will have the state’s entire case against Johnson. Although the discovery paperwork is on record with the court, it’s not unusual that the State’s Attorney hasn’t produced it for the defense’s review at this early stage of the process. Moreover, the state’s position is best served minimizing the disclosure of specific details related to a charging document until the absolute last minute. Murder cases can create fallout that could potentially reveal witnesses against a defendant charged in a capitol crime. The identity of potential witnesses are often concealed until trial. These measures are typically used to avoid retaliation by defendants seeking to silence witnesses that present damaging evidence against them. Johnson’s pretrial judge has already stated for the record that he believes Michael is a danger to society, especially those closest to him. That comment was very telling as it is believed that parties close to Michael’s own camp may in fact be state’s witnesses against him. The public will not learn whether any of the motions before the court in this case has in fact been granted, most are only procedural filings rudimentary for most criminal cases, but it will be very interesting to learn what information Nevrdon wants stricken from the record in this case. I have already discussed the possibility of any information obtained by Russell Barnes’ brother, Baltimore Police Officer Sgt, Jackson. If any of the details contained in the state’s case against Johnson actually derived from Jackson’s intervention, it poses a dilemma and the defense could summarize that the statements are hearsay or were illegally obtained. Jackson wasn’t acting in a formal capacity at the time, and it’s doubtful that a sitting judge will permit such testimony in this case  because of the obvious conflict of interest. Also, it isn’t clear how the Chemist will be used. There has been no mention of any forensic evidence, at least publicly, in the case this far. Obviously Phylicia’s toxicology findings has some bearing on the state’s case against Johnson. The child’s mother believes her daughter may have been recovering from alcohol or drug usage she encountered during a party the night before the morning of December 28, 2010 when Johnson allegedly pounced on the child. The state just may have also come to that conclusion as well. Perhaps the biggest mystery is the MOTION FOR JOINT TRIAL OF DEFENDANTS AND CHARGES. No one other than Johnson has been mention in the death of Phylicia Barnes, and the only purpose of such a filing is to combine criminal charges against multiple defendants of a crime. I suspect that the state has turned someone involved in the child’s murder and plan to use them in court, after some plea agreement of sort, and connect the dots which supports charging documents that alleges Johnson’s involvement in this murder case. Justice continues for Phylica Barnes in this tragic Case. A Barnes teen support’s T-shirt summoned it best: “Gone but not forgotten,” it said. “The good die young.”

Credits: The Baltimore Sun

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. A recognized Journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

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Michael Johnson was transported from the Baltimore City Detention Center to the Circuit Court of Baltimore City in downtown today with his hands shackled in the front. The highly anticipated arraignment only took a few moments as his attorney, Russell Neverdon entered a plea of “not guilty” for his client on charges that he murdered 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, and requested that Michael Johnson be tried before a jury of his peers. When asked if he understood the charges against him, Johnson simply nodded his head with his face blank and expressionless. The judge ordered Michael to speak up so the court’s microphone could hear him, and Johnson uttered “yes sir” in a extremely low audible. The judge, state’s attorney Goldberg, and Russell Neverdon all agreed on an August 13 trial date. Just like that with very little fanfare, Johnson was whisked away from the court room by Correctional Officers. This short hearing had brought a nearly standing room only audience to the Charles Street courthouse on the first hot and muggy day of the summer. Supporters of the Barnes family garnered signature purple, which have practically embodied the honors teen’s favorite color. Others in attendance appear to be in support of Johnson himself. As the quest for justice for Phylicia Barnes begins to take center stage, many believe there are no guarantees that true justice will ever be served in this senseless and tragic case. Attorney Neverdon continues to convey that Michael unequivocally denies any involvement in the killing of young Phylicia. The attorney said that the state’s case fails to connect the dots on exactly how Michael allegedly asphyxiated the studious child. Neverdon says that Phylicia’s body was void of any trauma and believes that her death would have been best ruled as unknown. He went on to say that although he has read police reports alleging that his client killed Phylicia, he has not seen the charging documents against his client. It’s unclear whether Neverdon’s comments are mere posturing tactics carefully scripted not to disclose his defense strategy, but he has already filed a MOTION FOR DISCOVER in the case and at some point he will have the state’s entire case against Johnson. Although the discovery paperwork is on record with the court, it’s not unusual that the State’s Attorney hasn’t produced it for the defense’s review at this early stage of the process. Moreover, the state’s position is best served minimizing the disclosure of specific details related to a charging document until the absolute last minute. Murder cases can create fallout that could potentially reveal witnesses against a defendant charged in a capitol crime. The identity of potential witnesses are often concealed until trial. These measures are typically used to avoid retaliation by defendants seeking to silence witnesses that present damaging evidence against them. Johnson’s pretrial judge has already stated for the record that he believes Michael is a danger to society, especially those closest to him. That comment was very telling as it is believed that parties close to Michael’s own camp may in fact be state’s witnesses against him. The public will not learn whether any of the motions before the court in this case has in fact been granted, most are only procedural filings rudimentary for most criminal cases, but it will be very interesting to learn what information Nevrdon wants stricken from the record in this case. I have already discussed the possibility of any information obtained by Russell Barnes’ brother, Baltimore Police Officer Sgt, Jackson. If any of the details contained in the state’s case against Johnson actually derived from Jackson’s intervention, it poses a dilemma and the defense could summarize that the statements are hearsay or were illegally obtained. Jackson wasn’t acting in a formal capacity at the time, and it’s doubtful that a sitting judge will permit such testimony in this case  because of the obvious conflict of interest. Also, it isn’t clear how the Chemist will be used. There has been no mention of any forensic evidence, at least publicly, in the case this far. Obviously Phylicia’s toxicology findings has some bearing on the state’s case against Johnson. The child’s mother believes her daughter may have been recovering from alcohol or drug usage she encountered during a party the night before the morning of December 28, 2010 when Johnson allegedly pounced on the child. The state just may have also come to that conclusion as well. Perhaps the biggest mystery is the MOTION FOR JOINT TRIAL OF DEFENDANTS AND CHARGES. No one other than Johnson has been mention in the death of Phylicia Barnes, and the only purpose of such a filing is to combine criminal charges against multiple defendants of a crime. I suspect that the state has turned someone involved in the child’s murder and plan to use them in court, after some plea agreement of sort, and connect the dots which supports charging documents that alleges Johnson’s involvement in this murder case. Justice continues for Phylica Barnes in this tragic Case. A Barnes teen support’s T-shirt summoned it best: “Gone but not forgotten,” it said. “The good die young.”

Credits: The Baltimore Sun

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. A recognized Journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus

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