Accused in stabbing has long U.S. criminal record
Published Wednesday, August 15, 2007 7:33PM EDT
Two young transient men charged in the stabbing death of a St. Catharines, Ont. man have been remanded in custody until the end of the month.
A judge ordered Wednesday that Douglas Fresh, 22, and Jeremy Woolley, 21, be held in custody until their new bail hearing on Aug. 28.
The two men face charges of aggravated assault in the death of Ross Hammond, who was stabbed after refusing to give the suspected panhandlers his change.
Both men are U.S. citizens who entered Canada illegally just over a month ago, and have been described as drifters and panhandlers by police.
The suspects have taken issue with the transient description.
"Certainly there has been a lot in the media about panhandling," defence lawyer Kathryn Wells told CTV News outside the courthouse on Wednesday.
"I think my client would say that's not accurate and that's an issue that will have to be sorted out as part of the investigation."
Woolley, Fresh and two women -- believed to be the male suspects' girlfriends -- are all charged in the knife slaying of Hammond, 32, who died in hospital two days after he was stabbed while walking with a friend in downtown Toronto.
Nicole Kish, of Toronto, and Santa Cruz, California-native Sarah McDermit -- who is actually named Faith Watts -- held each other and cried as they appeared in court on Tuesday.
Investigators say the women are panhandlers, while their lawyers described them as good kids from good families who don't have criminal records.
But CTV News has learned that Watts, 22, has a criminal record in California with more than a dozen arrests for drugs, theft and altercations with police.
Currently, the four face charges of aggravated assault and weapons offences, but police said Wednesday they expect murder charges will be laid later this week.
Kish is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a bail hearing, while bail appears unlikely for the other three suspects as they are in Canada illegally.
Hammond was stabbed near Trinity Bellwoods Park after an argument escalated into violence early last Thursday, police said.
The victim, who commuted into Toronto from St. Catharines, was attacked near Queen Street West and Gore Vale Avenue shortly after 12:30 a.m.
With a report from CTV's Chris Eby