Mich. wife charged with murder in husband's death; police find human tissue, scalpels in home

items the woman's mother insists are related to her husband's treatment for a chronic open wound.

Laura Johnson, 46, was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and unauthorized practice of medicine. In court, the sobbing woman asked to be released to attend her husband's funeral.

"I will help catch the real people who did this," she told Judge Marla Parker, who ordered her held without bond. Johnson said she would get her own defense lawyer and a not guilty plea was entered on her behalf.

Lloyd Johnson, 47, was rushed to a hospital Monday after reportedly suffering a heart attack in his Farmington Hills home along a cul-de-sac about 15 miles northwest of Detroit, according to court documents. He died Wednesday. The county medical examiner is awaiting toxicology reports to determine a cause of death.

A police search of the house turned up bloodstained sheets, surgical supplies, prescription medication for both Lloyd and Laura Johnson and bags of "suspected human tissue" from a kitchen refrigerator and freezer, according to search warrant documents.

"I couldn't make this stuff up," said Prosecutor Jessica Cooper, who declined to release further details about the investigation.

But Laura Johnson's mother, Josephine Michalik, told The Associated Press by telephone from her Miami-area home that Lloyd Johnson's doctors had authorized his wife to perform in-home care for an open wound he had on his buttocks.

"She was not doing anything unauthorized," said Michalik, 68. "Mr. Johnson has been hospitalized over the last two years about 10 times because of a wound that broke open that had been concealed since he was a teenager."

Michalik did not know exactly what caused the wound, but said Lloyd Johnson suffered some type of infection as a teen. Wound care nurses had been ordered to go to the home but "failed to do what they were supposed to do," she said.

"After subsequent hospitalizations, they always instructed my daughter on wound care," Michalik said. "My understanding is ... she would have to apply something to exfoliate the dead tissue." Laura Johnson also had to administer medication through a syringe, Michalik added.

The couple believed the problem had been exacerbated by black mold in a home where they once lived, Michalik said.

"This is the reason why they had human tissue in the freezer," she said. "They were saving it as evidence for a lawsuit."

Cooper declined to comment on Michalik's statements, saying more information would come out during a preliminary examination scheduled for Oct. 6.

Brian Dailey, a friend and lawyer for Lloyd Johnson's adult children, told reporters Lloyd Johnson had recently told his wife he wanted a divorce. Michalik disputes that.

"They were madly in love," she said. "He was setting up a new practice and Laura was his means of support."

Michalik said the couple married in 2006. It was Lloyd Johnson's third marriage and her daughter's second. They moved into the Farmington Hills home about a year ago. Laura's two boys, ages 10 and 8, lived in the home, and recently, Lloyd Johnson's teenage daughter, moved in, Michalik said.

Lloyd Johnson had worked for well-known trial lawyer Geoffrey Fieger until embarking on his own in 2009. His new practice was home-based, Michalik said.

Victor Paul, who has lived across the street from the Johnson home for 15 years, said his kids often played with Laura Johnson's sons.

"It's tragic for the kids, both his and her kids," Paul said. "I didn't really know what was going on over there. Our kids played with her kids. It's hard on my kids, too. They know something is going on."