London man charged with murder in death of long-term partner makes court appearance

Police say Maryhelen Johnston, left, and James Braun, right, were in a long-term relationship prior to Johnston's death. James Braun / Facebook

A London man charged in the death of his long-term partner in an alleged domestic assault that police say later turned fatal made his first court appearance on Tuesday.

James Braun, 41, of London, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Maryhelen Johnston, 39, of London. He was initially charged with aggravated assault but received the upgraded charge following Johnston’s death.

The case began in the early morning of Sunday, May 12, when London police say they were contacted about a possible disturbance in a south London motel.

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Police say it was on that Mother’s Day morning when officers found a woman, later identified as Johnston, critically injured from an apparent assault.

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Johnston was rushed to hospital where she succumbed to her injuries three days later. A post-mortem was conducted on Thursday, but a cause of death has not yet been revealed.

Investigators say the pair were in a long-term relationship prior to Johnston’s death.

Braun appeared in court on Tuesday by video, and the case was adjourned until Thursday. The London Free Press reports that Braun is also facing additional charges, including two counts of fraud under $5,000 and two counts of possession under $5,000.

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Social media sorrow

A number of Facebook accounts associated with the pair have expressed their sorrow for Johnston’s recent death.

Comments attached to the profile picture of a user named D Johnson MacDonald are filled with condolences and well-wishes.

Johnston MacDonald comments, “my beautiful wee cousin meeting The Lord and her family it’s us that’s sad she is free.” Meanwhile, a number of other comments offer prayers for Johnston MacDonald and her family.

On the profile picture of another Facebook user, Nellie Johnston, a comment reads, “so sorry Nellie praying you and the kids.”

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More than a dozen other comments share a similar message.

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The death marked London’s fourth homicide investigation for 2019, and comes the same week a man was fatally stabbed at an apartment complex on Connaught Avenue.

Samnang Kong, 38, of London has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Issara Norindr, 55.

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