'The boy stabbed me': Calgary care worker stabbed 19 times, client admits killing

·2 min read

CALGARY — A Calgary man has admitted to stabbing his care worker to death at an assisted-living facility in the city nearly two years ago.

Brandon Newman, who is now 20, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the death of Deborah Onwu on Oct. 25, 2019.

A jury trial was to begin next month.

Newman, wearing a blue prison jumpsuit, sat quietly in the prisoner's box in court. He said nothing except when asked if he understood what was happening. He confirmed he did.

Court heard that in 2019 he had recently moved into temporary housing at Wood's Homes, a mental health centre that provides treatment and support for children and adults.

Onwu was filling in for a friend and working the night shift at the facility. She noted to a colleague that Newman had missed the 11 p.m. curfew.

He arrived home after 2 a.m. and a half-hour later another staff member heard what sounded like a fight in the unit.

"She heard Ms. Onwu scream, 'Why are you doing this to me!'" said Crown Prosecutor Carla MacPhail, reading an agreed statement of facts.

MacPhail said the worker went to check and found Onwu coming out of the centre.

"She encountered Ms. Onwu coming down the stairs from the upstairs suite to the front of the residence. Ms. Onwu said, "'The boy stabbed me.'"

Onwu died of blood loss at the scene, MacPhail said.

"Mr. Newman attacked Ms. Onwu with a knife. He stabbed her 19 times in various parts of her body ... head, face, neck and chest, breasts, thigh, foot, ankle and inflicted one incised wound to her hand," she said.

"Three of the stab wounds penetrated vital organs — her lungs and heart. In inflicting these wounds, Mr. Newman intended to cause Ms. Onwu bodily harm that he knew was likely to cause death and was reckless as to whether she died or not."

She said Newman left the residence, disposed of the knife a few houses away and convinced a cab driver to give him a free ride to the Calgary Drop-In Centre, claiming he was homeless.

Police arrested him later hiding under an underpass with a group of homeless people. He was wearing clothes that were soaked with Onwu's blood.

Newman's lawyer said his client wants to be sentenced as soon as possible.

He is to be back in court on Sept. 24, when a date will be set for his sentencing hearing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 17, 2021

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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