Murder trial of Nicholas Butcher to go ahead next year

Nicholas Butcher is accused of killing his girlfriend, Kristin Johnston.

Cause of victim Kristin Johnston's death has never been released

Nicholas Butcher arrives at provincial court in Halifax on April 12, 2016. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Nicholas Butcher has a new lawyer and a new date for his second-degree murder trial.

Butcher, 34, was supposed to go to trial last month for the March 2016 killing of his girlfriend, Kristin Johnston. But he fired his lawyer, Roger Burrill, just before the trial was to begin.

This morning, Peter Planetta appeared with Butcher in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax to set new trial dates.

Butcher's five-week trial is now set for April 2018.

Johnston, 32, was an entrepreneur and yoga instructor who lived in Halifax. She owned and operated Bikram Yoga in a downtown studio, which was renamed and closed after her death.

Police have not released the cause of Johnston's death.

Kristin Johnston owned and operated Bikram Halifax. (Facebook)

Butcher has been kept in custody since he was arrested.

Police said Butcher did not have a criminal record. He's a graduate from Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law. The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society have said they have no record of him obtaining an articling position in the province.