'Panhandler' granted bail in downtown slaying
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2007 8:38AM EDT
The only suspect charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing and beating death of a St. Catharines man in downtown Toronto has been granted bail.
Nicole Kish, the sole Canadian charged in the grisly slaying of 32-year-old Ross Hammond last month, was released on $165,000 bail on Tuesday night.
The 21-year-old transient family hugged relatives outside the courthouse before a throng of reporters and cameras.
Kish is under house arrest. She must live at her grandmother's home in southwestern Ontario.
Numerous sureties, all family members, spoke on behalf of her in support of her release.
Kish's lawyer, John Scarfe, said several factors were in his client's favour, including that she was born in Canada and had no previous criminal record.
"It's very easy to put a one-word label on somebody when the story breaks, and I think what we saw in court was a much deeper look at the person," Scarfe told reporters on Tuesday.
"Of course I can't get into the evidence, but she's a good kid."
Scarfe said Kish and her family are relieved by the court's decision.
Hammond's killing made headlines around the country, in part because Kish and her co-accused were described by police as aggressive panhandlers.
Three Americans -- two men and one woman -- are also charged. They face various weapons offences and aggravated assault charges.
Kish's charged were upgraded in mid-August. Her next court appearance is Sept. 25.
Hammond was assaulted in the Trinity Bellwoods Park on Aug. 12 in the early morning hours after refusing to hand over money when asked, police said.
An argument ensued, and he was stabbed and beaten. He died in hospital two days later.
With a report from CTV's MairiAnna Bachynsky