Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Accused Killer Found Johnston Kissing Another Man, Halifax Jury Told

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Accused Killer Found Johnston Kissing Another Man, Halifax Jury Told

Article excerpt

Butcher found Johnston with another man, jury told


HALIFAX - A witness testified Monday that he was becoming intimate with Montreal-born yoga instructor Kristin Johnston when Nicholas Butcher unexpectedly came into the bedroom, hours before he allegedly killed her.

Michael Belyea told a Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury that Butcher found Johnston in Belyea's flat in the early hours of March 26, 2016.

She broke up with Butcher, but he later returned to find her kissing Belyea in his bedroom -- who, despite the drama, said he was never concerned for Johnston's safety.

"He didn't seem aggressive with her, even verbally aggressive. He was not happy about the situation, but there was nothing that would lead me to worry about her physical safety," he testified.

Butcher is on trial for the second-degree murder of Johnston, who was found dead later that day in her Halifax-area home.

Belyea said that Johnston, 32, had come to his flat with her friend Lisa Abramowicz, where the 41-year-old carpenter and musician said the three were listening to a Johnny Cash record and sharing a drink.

He testified that he heard footsteps coming up the stairs to his upper-level flat in a two-unit house.

Belyea said it was a man in his 30s he'd never seen before, and assumed the person was looking for someone in the lower unit. He said eventually the man said he was looking for "Kristin."

"He was being very quiet and looking around a bit and I found it difficult to get an answer out of him," said Belyea. "I definitely found it strange that he was being so quiet."

Belyea said he led the man around the corner to where Johnston was, and said she appeared shocked to see Butcher, asking him how he had found her.

Butcher and Johnston talked in the kitchen and then at the bottom of the stairs before Johnston came back alone, and said she had broken up with Butcher, said Belyea.

Several friends and family have testified that Johnston was not happy in the relationship and wanted to break it off.

Belyea said Johnston then said she was tired and was going to sleep over, and went into the bedroom. He said goodbye to Abramowicz and followed Johnston. He closed the door behind him, and heard Abramowicz leave soon after.

Belyea -- who said he had previously been intimate with Johnston when they first met in 2009 -- said he laid on the bed with Johnston and they started kissing.

Then, he heard footsteps coming from the kitchen. He assumed Abramowicz had forgotten something, but then he felt a push on his shoulder.

It was Butcher.

"He said to her something like 'What are you doing' or 'Why are you doing this'," said Belyea, as the 35-year-old accused looked on emotionless from his lawyer's bench.

"I remember her saying, 'This is where I want to be'."

Belyea said he asked Butcher what he should do, and he asked Belyea to give them some space. …

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