The day after his 29th birthday, Michael Johnson walked out of Courthouse East facing up to 30 years in prison‚Ä¶now convicted for the second degree murder of Phylicia Barnes.
“Justice is served, Phylicia can sleep now.¬† She’s in a much better place.¬† We the family, we’re going to hold on, we’re going to pull our pieces together and we’re gonna keep moving on,” said father Russell Barnes.
But before they move on, they reflect outside the courthouse; prayers answered, closure in hand, Phylicia’s mother still trying to process this morning’s end to such a long and painful story.
“I can’t tell, I really don’t know.¬† Well, [it feels like] the elephant took one foot off my chest so I can breathe a little bit now,” said Janice Mustafa.
The smile that crept on her face as she said those words was almost as telling as the stone cold look on Michael Johnson’s family, obviously disappointed in this morning’s verdict and still believing in his innocence.
“It is what it is and we still feel in our hearts that Michael Johnson is not guilty,” said father Glenton Johnson Sr.
Two families once so close to one another, connected by the decade long high school sweet heart relationship between Phylicia’s older sister Deena Barnes and Michael Johnson, today on the same courthouse steps on the opposite ends of murder verdict.