Janice Johnson Obituary, Death – On Friday, journalist Janice Johnston, who had a career spanning several decades and had a significant impact on how justice and crime were reported in Edmonton and Alberta, passed away. It was the year 62. Johnston, who had a very short battle with cancer before passing away, was born in London, Ontario, on March 2, 1960. Over the course of more than three decades, Johnston covered crime and the judicial system in Alberta, and her commitment to the beat was unparalleled. Her spouse Scott Johnston, her daughter Samantha Milles, her son-in-law Demetri Milles, and her granddaughter Calliope are among those who are left behind after her passing (Cali). In an interview on Friday, Samantha Milles stated that her mother was always driven by a “electric spark” that fueled her work, and that she succeeded as a journalist from the very beginning of her career. “Just a few months ago, she was reporting on issues about which she still had a great deal of enthusiasm to speak and about which she felt very profoundly. To fulfill the role that she played in the organization was, in all honesty, her vocation “Milles said. Johnston discovered that relaying the stories of how justice was done gave his life significance. According to Stephanie Coombs, who is the director of news and programming at CBC Edmonton, she pursued her stories with a lot of perseverance. Coombs characterized Janice as “the kind of journalist who lived and breathed the news,” and he felt that describes her perfectly.
“She had a firm conviction that it was her responsibility, in her capacity as a crime reporter, to inform the general public about what occurred within the judicial system, both in the courts and behind the scenes. Janice had the desire to investigate and bring to light anything that was hidden but was considered to be in the public interest.” Coombs recalls working closely with Johnston on an investigative series for 2021 in which a police officer served as a whistleblower and provided Johnston with information that had never been seen before. “It was a credit to her standing as a journalist in Edmonton that she obtained the news and was able to share it with the public,” she said. “She was able to get the story because she was able to share it with the public.” Johnston was no stranger to either the legislature or city hall; yet, the courthouse was where she felt most at home. Brian Beresh, a criminal defense attorney in Edmonton, stated that Johnston leaves behind a history as a highly trusted reporter who tenaciously pursued the truth.
Beresh referred to her as “the ultimate court reporter” when he spoke about her. “She possessed the keen perception necessary to be able to tell the story in an objective manner. And the quality that impressed me the most about her was her compassion; although she was fierce, she was also fair.” Over the course of several decades, Johnston has provided the people of Edmonton with information regarding two key cases: the disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann, two seniors from St. Albert, and the case of alleged “Dexter killer” Mark Twitchell. She went to North Carolina to investigate a case that involved a man from Alberta who had confessed to killing his wife. Johnston devoted a significant portion of his career to chronicling dangerous felon Leo Teskey’s journey through the legal system. Because of her findings, the provincial administration decided to make it unlawful for repeat offenders and dangerous individuals to change their names. Her reporting on the trial of a 13-year-old boy from Alberta who was found not guilty of killing his violent father earned her a national prize from the Radio Television Digital News Association in 2016. The award was presented to her in 2016.
She covered how police agencies in Alberta were suppressing the names of homicide victims and was tenacious in her efforts to make the judicial system accountable for its actions. She broke the story that a victim of sexual assault who was testifying against her abuser was locked up while she was in jail.