Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear Nicholas Butcher’s appeal of murder conviction

Click to play video: 'Butcher to serve at least 15 years' Butcher to serve at least 15 years
Wed, Aug 22: Nicolas Butcher, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend Kristin Jonhston, must serve at least 15 years in prison before he's eligible for parole. Natasha Pace has more – Aug 22, 2018

WARNING: This story contains graphic details. Discretion is advised. 

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear Nicholas Butcher‘s appeal of his second-degree murder conviction.

It puts an end to a legal saga that began when Butcher stabbed and killed Kristin Johnston on March 26, 2016.

Butcher was convicted in April 2018.

The conviction carries a life sentence and Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Joshua Arnold ruled that Butcher would be eligible for parole after serving 15 years, less 880 days for time served.

Read more: Nova Scotia’s highest court dismisses appeal of convicted murderer Nicholas Butcher

Butcher appealed his conviction shortly after he was sentenced. In his appeal, Butcher alleged Arnold made an error by allowing evidence of his bad character, and hearsay statements of the deceased.

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The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal dismissed Butcher’s appeal last year and now the Supreme Court of Canada has rejected his appeal application.

As is normal with the Supreme Court of Canada, the court offered no reasons for its decision.

Click to play video: 'Man convicted for killing girlfriend in 2016 appealing conviction' Man convicted for killing girlfriend in 2016 appealing conviction
Man convicted for killing girlfriend in 2016 appealing conviction – Feb 12, 2020

Murder after attempted break up

Johnston, 32, was originally from Montreal and a popular yoga instructor in Halifax. Her body was found on a blood-soaked mattress in the bedroom at her home in Purcells Cove on March 26, 2016.

The same morning, Butcher called 911 and told the dispatcher he had killed his girlfriend and tried to kill himself by cutting off his hand.

In this artist’s sketch, Nicholas Butcher testifies in a Halifax courtroom on April 19, 2018. Nicholas Butcher has taken the stand in his own defence at his second-degree murder trial in the death of Halifax yoga instructor Kristin Johnston. THE CANADIAN PRESS/James Vincent Walsh

During the trial, the court heard that after returning from a vacation away from Butcher, Johnston expressed a desire to end their relationship.

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Day after she returned to Halifax, Johnston went out to meet friends for the evening. Butcher wasn’t invited.

The court heard that Butcher used Johnston’s computer to read Facebook and instant messages, in which she had told friends she wanted to break up with him.

READ MORE: Nicholas Butcher found guilty of second-degree murder in Kristin Johnston’s death

Later in the evening of March 26, 2016, Butcher accessed Johnston’s computer again and learned she was at an apartment with a male friend.

He drove to the apartment, entered uninvited and tried to get Johnston to leave with him. When she declined, the court heard he waited outside the home for two hours, then re-entered to find Johnston in bed with her male friend.

Johnston eventually ended up leaving the apartment with Butcher and returned home to the apartment they had been living at in Purcells Cove.

Click to play video: 'Nicholas Butcher in court for parole hearing' Nicholas Butcher in court for parole hearing
Nicholas Butcher in court for parole hearing – Jul 20, 2018

While Johnston was sleeping, the Crown said Butcher retrieved a knife from the kitchen and stabbed her to death. He then tried to end his own life by cutting off his own hand with a mitre saw, but reconsidered, the Crown told court. He then called police.

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Butcher claimed he killed Johnston in self-defence, but that claim was rejected by the 14-member jury.

— With files from Global News’ Graeme Benjamin

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