Saint-Charles man accused in Brady Francis’s death to enter plea in August

Brady Francis’s mom, Jessica Perley (left) and sister Sara Perley-Francis, attended Maurice Johnson’s first court appearance in Moncton Provincial Court on Tuesday. They’re hoping to get closure from Francis’s death. (Radio-Canada)

Plea postponed for Saint-Charles man accused in Brady Francis’s death

A 56-year-old Saint-Charles man charged after the hit-and-run death of Brady Francis will now enter a plea in late August.

Maurice Johnson, who is charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident, was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Tuesday, but he was not present when the case was called in Moncton provincial court.

His lawyer, Gilles Lemieux, appeared on his behalf, and a new plea date was set for Aug. 21.

Johnson was issued a summons in late June, 115 days after the 22-year-old Francis, of Elsipogtog First Nation, was killed.

Family members said they would be back again in court on Aug. 21 to see the case through and to get closure.

“I just hope and wish that he just pleads guilty and just ends it,” Francis’s mother, Jessica Perley, said. “It’s gone on way too long.”

Francis was found dead by the side of the road in Saint-Charles, about 12 kilometres north of the reserve and about 100 kilometres north of Moncton.

It’s believed he was waiting for a ride home Feb. 24, when he was struck on Saint-Charles South Road.

“He was amazing, he was everything,” said Francis’s younger sister, Sara Perley-Francis.

Brady Francis was 22 when he was struck and killed Feb. 24 by a driver who left the scene. (Facebook photo)

Following Francis’s death, rallies and vigils were organized across the province, and people pleaded for the driver to come forward and confess.

Family members said they were overwhelmed by the support from their community and the number of people who showed up at the Moncton courthouse on Tuesday.

‘He didn’t deserve this’

“I really hope Brady’s family gets the justice they deserve,” said Keora Doucette, a friend of Francis.

“As we all know the justice system has failed us many times before, but I’m very positive there will be a really good outcome out of this, not just for the community but for Brady as well, because he didn’t deserve this.”

Keora Doucette was a friend of Brady Francis and said the justice system needs to do more for the Indigenous community. (Radio-Canada)

Doucette was referring to the Tina Fontaine case in Winnipeg. She was just 15 when her body was found in Winnipeg’s Red River, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks in August 2014.

There was also Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old who was shot on a rural Saskatchewan farmyard in August 2016.

“I pray to God that justice system will understand we have rights too,” Doucette said. “Our people are dying and nothing’s been done.”

4-month investigation

News of the charge was met with feelings of relief and vindication in the Elsipogtog community after a four-month investigation produced its first charge.

“With any investigation, it takes the time it takes to conduct a proper investigation,” Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, media relations officer with the New Brunswick RCMP, said in an interview with CBC News after the charge was laid.

A sign at CC’s Entertainment Centre, where Francis worked, counted the days without a charge being laid after he was killed. (CBC)

“In this particular case, it was an exhaustive investigation. Our investigators spoke with several people and they reviewed quite a bit of evidence, and we believe the evidence gathered warrants the charge that [was] laid.”

Source: CBC News

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RCMP charge man in connection with hit and run death of Brady Francis

Brady Francis, of Elsipogtog First Nation, is shown in this undated handout image. CP/Garnett Augustine

A 56-year-old man is facing charges in connection with the hit-and-run death of Brady Francis from Elsipogtog First Nation.

According to media reports Maurice Johnson of Saint-Charles, N.B., has been charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death.

Francis a well-liked 22-year-old was hit by a pickup truck on Feb. 24 as he departed a party in Saint-Charles, N.B., a predominantly francophone town about 12 kilometres south of the Elsipogtog reserve.

RCMP say it’s believed the Mi’kmaq youth was waiting for a drive home when he was struck.

Johnson is scheduled to appear in Moncton Provincial Court on July 10, 2018 to enter a plea.

Following Francis’s death, rallies and vigils were organized across the province, and people pleaded for the driver who hit Brady to come forward and confess.

Social media posts were circulating following the incident with pictures of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent Prairie verdicts.

Earlier this year, RCMP completed an investigation into the hit-and-run and handed the file over to Crown prosecutors to review possible charges.

This is the first charge laid in the case — four months after Francis was struck.

The news was welcomed with relief in the community.

“We’re extremely happy,” said Ruth Levi, a band councillor and director of social services at the Elsipogtog reserve.

Police say Johnson is the same person that was arrested and released without charges back in March. It was also his truck that was seized as part of the RCMP investigation.