Michael Maurice Johnson, who was convicted and later cleared of killing 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, has been charged with strangling and raping a young woman in Baltimore County.

The alleged victim told police that Johnson, 40, overheard her on the phone talking about a boy and became enraged, assaulting her throughout the night, including punching her, strangling her until she lost consciousness and raping her. He was charged Monday and ordered held without bail the following day. He did not have an attorney listed in court records.

Barnes, an honors student in North Carolina, was visiting family in Northwest Baltimore in 2010 when she went missing, and her body was later found in the Susquehanna River. Johnson, who had gotten to know Barnes from dating her older half-sister, was the last known person to see her alive and would be charged with killing her.

The case was circumstantial — prosecutors theorized that he had become obsessed with the teenager, and that he strangled her and killed her. The key evidence was a neighbor’s observation of Johnson struggling to move a large plastic storage bin the day she disappeared. Though prosecutors believed the girl’s body was inside, they couldn’t prove it.

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Johnson was convicted by a jury in 2013. That verdict was overturned, and his second case was thrown out in 2015. City prosecutors re-indicted Johnson, sending him to a third trial in 2018 where a judge acquitted him.

“The bottom line is that there are far, far too many questions left unanswered … for any fact-finder to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” Judge Charles J. Peters said at the time.

Court records in the new case say Johnson has been living in York, Pennsylvania. The alleged victim, who is 19, said she had known him since June of last year, and “considered him a sugar daddy and started dating him.” At one point she lived with him in Pennsylvania last year for three months, “until her foster care reported her missing,” police wrote in charging documents.

When police met with her, she had visible injuries, including popped blood vessels in her eyes, and had so much trouble speaking due to her tongue and mouth being severely swollen that she typed out messages to show detectives on her phone. She said Johnson had attacked her over a period of six hours, at one point using the cord of a fan.

Johnson told police that the alleged victim got mad at him for text messaging another woman, and that she struck him in the face and arm. Police observed scratch marks on his forearms and a knot on his head, which they said were consistent with the alleged victim attempting to defend herself from strangulation.

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Phylicia Barnes’ father, Russell, told The Banner that he believed Johnson killed his daughter and feared he would harm someone else.

“My heart goes out to the victim’s family and we pray it’s a different outcome” this time, he said.

Johnson was previously charged in Pennsylvania on Jan. 10 after the same woman called police and said Johnson choked her, according to court records there. She said Johnson had been drinking all day in Baltimore and they drove back to his house in Pennsylvania and got into an argument about him driving while intoxicated. He grabbed her by the throat and threw her out of the car, she said, according to charging documents; she declined medical attention.

Police said they located him driving his red Tesla, and after pulling him over could smell the odor of alcohol. He was also staggering while walking, police said.

He was charged with strangulation, driving under the influence and possession of a small amount of marijuana. The York County District Attorney’s Office later withdrew the charge of strangulation; they declined to say why.

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The district attorney’s office rejected him for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD, a diversionary program for first-time offenders that allows people to avoid a criminal conviction.

At the time of Barnes’ disappearance in December 2010, city police expressed frustration about their attempts to publicize the case, raising the issue of a racial double standard. The body of Barnes, who was Black, was found in April of 2011, and the medical examiner concluded she had been asphyxiated.

Johnson was arrested and charged a year later. There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.

Prosecutors told jurors the then-26-year-old had exchanged 1,200 text messages with the teen in the six months prior to her death. Defense attorneys said none of the messages were sexually explicit or suggestive, but prosecutors countered that he was “grooming” her and careful with his words.

Other evidence supporting the theory was a “sex tape” filmed that summer in which Barnes, Johnson, Barnes’ older sister, Deena, who had been dating him, Deena, and Johnson’s younger brother engaged in “naked touching.” Johnson that same night tried to touch Barnes, who swatted his hand away, prosecutors said.

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From that, prosecutors theorized that Johnson waited to get Barnes alone and strangled her, then moved her body out of the apartment by stuffing it into the storage container. His cellphone was turned off during the period when the killing allegedly occurred, and he had called out of work.

“Lil sis is up and active,” Johnson texted Deena Barnes the afternoon of the girl’s disappearance.

Johnson had been in the process of moving out of the apartment, and defense attorneys said he was simply removing personal items.

Maurice Johnson, who was convicted, then cleared in the 2010 killing of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, has now been charged with the rape and strangulation of a woman in Baltimore County. (WJZ)

After Phylicia Barnes’ body was found, Maryland State Police wiretapped Johnson’s phone, and he was recorded wondering whether his DNA could have been found under the girl’s fingernails, saying they had wrestled the day she went missing. He also spoke of fleeing the country.

“I feel like everything is about to hit the fan. I don’t know if I’m ready to deal with it,” he was recorded saying.

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His attorney said he merely felt pressured because police were wrongly targeting him.

The first case, in which Johnson was defended by current State’s Attorney Ivan Bates, ended with a conviction, but questions were later raised about a jailhouse informant, and Judge Alfred Nance threw out the conviction at what was to be the sentencing hearing.

In Johnson’s second trial, where he was represented by the public defender’s office, Judge John Addison Howard declared a mistrial after jurors heard a recording that was not supposed to be played for them, then reversed his mistrial ruling and granted a motion for judgment of acquittal, saying prosecutors had failed to prove the case.

Prosecutors took the case to the state’s highest court and won the ability to charge him again, this time before a judge.

“We grieve for the Barnes family and this tragedy, but convicting an innocent man is not justice for Phylicia Barnes,” Johnson’s attorney Katy O’Donnell said outside of the courthouse. “We hope that one day, what really happened to Phylicia Barnes will be discovered and her family will get the peace they deserve.”

Video coverage of Johnson’s third trial — and acquittal

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This article will be updated.

Banner reporter Dylan Segelbaum contributed to this article.