Man Charged with Strangling Wife to Death Pleads Not Guilty

32 year-old Staryal Dedrick Johnston, the man accused of strangling his wife to death in front of his children early in September, appeared in Missoula District Court before Judge Shane Vannatta for his official arraignment on a charge of deliberate homicide.

At his initial appearance on September 4, Deputy County Attorney Brian Lowney addressed the court on the matter of bail.

“The state is asking for the court set a $ 1 million dollar bail here, and that’s largely based on the nature of this offense but also the effects of the offense, as the court can see from the affidavit,” said Lowney. “This involves Mr. Johnston committing a brutal murder of his partner with a ligature strangulation.”

Lowney then added the mitigating factors in his bond argument.

“Additionally, this crime was committed in front of his children, and I worry to think about how law enforcement might have become aware of this were it not for the bravery of the 11 year old child that was in the house, and so the state feels that Mr. Johnston is simply too dangerous to remain in the community.”

At his District Court arraignment on Thursday, Judge Vannatta addressed the defendant.

“Mr. Johnston, I just want to confirm

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