A Toronto man charged in connection with the stabbing of a 29-year-old woman at a downtown law office is expected to face upgraded charges after she died in a local hospital on Sunday, police say.
Emergency crews were called to the criminal defence firm Hicks Adams LLP on King Street East, just east of Sherbourne Street, before 2 p.m. on Thursday.
Paramedics rushed the victim, who was later identified as Julia Ferguson — an administrative assistant at the firm, to a hospital. However, she died at the facility on Sunday.
“Everybody still feels like it’s a bad dream,” Chris Ferguson, Julia Ferguson’s brother, told Global News on Monday, reflecting on how he saw himself as Julia’s protector.
“My father passed when she was 12 years old… so I really had to step up … I got to be her best friend and kind of a father figure to her.”
Praising his sister as a kind, caring and selfless person, Chris also noted she was an organ donor and that even in death she will continue to help others.
Investigators said the suspect in the case took off after the stabbing, but later surrendered to officers.
The accused in the case, 33-year-old Osman Osman, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon. He was remanded into custody.
Det.-Sgt. Tiffany Castell said the suspect is facing an upgraded second-degree murder charge. She also said it appears the attack was not random.
“The accused had a relationship with the business … not with the female victim in this incident,” Castell said, adding she couldn’t provide additional information since the case is before the court.
Christopher Hicks, a partner at Hicks Adams LLP, told Global News staff at the firm are “just shattered” by the news. He said Ferguson, who her colleagues called “Jules,” was “immensely” helpful, smart and ambitious.
“It has been a devastating experience. It’s unforeseen and unforeseeable,” he said.
As a testament to Ferguson’s personality, Hicks said her workstation was the “social centre of the firm” because everyone enjoyed her company.
“She just picked up things, and learned things, and did things, and was just such a treat to have around. That’s the other thing, I mean she was such a wonderful person. She was infinitely courteous, and calm and patient with everybody — with everybody.”
Speaking from the firm’s office, Hicks called the experience “surreal” after being initially called and told about what happened.
“You always think, ‘If I had been here at the right time… maybe I could have done something,'” he said while fighting back tears.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign launched to support the Ferguson family more than doubled its initial goal.
— With files from Erica Vella