Assisted living client pleads guilty to murder in fatal stabbing of case worker

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Deborah Onwu, 47, was fatally stabbed by a Woods Homes client in 2019. Brandon Newman has pleaded guilty to murder. (Facebook - image credit)
Deborah Onwu, 47, was fatally stabbed by a Woods Homes client in 2019. Brandon Newman has pleaded guilty to murder. (Facebook - image credit)

A Calgary man with developmental disabilities has pleaded guilty to murdering a youth counsellor.

Brandon Newman was 18 years old when he fatally stabbed Deborah Onwu, 47, on Oct. 25, 2019.

Newman was a resident of a Woods Homes suite in Marda Loop at the time where Onwu was working as a youth and family counsellor.

In earlier court appearances, Newman has been described as "childlike."

The crime was detailed in an agreed statement of facts prepared by defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli and prosecutor Carla MacPhail.

'Why are you doing this to me'

The night she was killed, Onwu agreed to work a shift for a coworker.

Another woman was working in the downstairs suite while Onwu worked upstairs.

Newman came home around 2 a.m. on Oct. 25, 2019. At first, as noted by Onwu, he "was in good spirit."

But 30 minutes later, the downstairs counsellor, identified in court documents as AA, heard screaming.

"Why are you doing this to me," Onwu screamed.

'The boy stabbed me'

AA ran to help and found Onwu coming down the stairs to the outside of the home.

Onwu was suffering from 19 stab wounds including three that hit vital organs.

"The boy stabbed me," she told her coworker.

AA laid Onwu down on the ground floor and called 911.

When the first officer arrived on scene, AA was frantic, yelling "help her, help her."

Officer performed CPR

Onwu was motionless and covered in blood. The officer tried to perform CPR but it was too late and Onwu died at the scene.

Newman left the scene and hid the knife under a bush. He took a taxi downtown to the Calgary Drop-In Centre.

Police arrested him not long after.

According to Iovinelli, Newman has "significant difficulties," which will be elaborated on during the sentencing hearing.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Jim Eamon will hear sentencing submissions later this year.

A second-degree murder conviction comes with a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years.

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