Old Barrhaven Still Reeling After Homicide

By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent 

A community in Old Barrhaven is still reeling from the effects of Sunday night’s homicide as more details about the sinister act come to light. 

On Sunday, dozens of police and tactical units swarmed Sherway Drive near the Walter Baker Centre after a couple in their 60’s were stabbed multiple times. The incident took place at around 9:30 pm that night. After the victims were tended to, the accused, 39-year-old Conor Donnelly, barricaded himself in the home which belonged to his parents. He was arrested shortly before 2am the next morning. 

The incident left 64-year-old Linda Frederick dead, and her husband, Michel Sabourin —who was the suspect’s step father —fighting for his life in serious condition at an Ottawa hospital. He’s now listed in stable condition. 

The couple lived in their semi-detached home for over two decades and were known to be active in the Barrhaven Legion. Neighbours say the couple were always friendly, and were frequently seen out biking or walking in the community. 

Sabourin, who was also known as “big Mike”, used to work for Canada Post, and Frederick at a dental office. 

Frederick also recently became a new grandmother, after her daughter gave birth to a baby boy. She was “over the moon” with excitement. 

A History Of Mental Health

According to a recent CBC Ottawa report, Donnelly dealt with schizophrenia, which his parents tried to help get under control. Kim Kennedy, who was a friend of the family, said after years of issues, Donnelly was diagnosed with the illness, which three per cent of Canadians will deal with in their lifetime. 

The family friend says she’s known Fredrick for more than 30 years, and quickly bonded over long phone conversations, primarily about their kids. When news broke of a homicide on Sherway, Kennedy’s husband worried it may have been Donnelly, but quickly took the thought out of his mind. 

Kennedy states that Frederick and Sabourin dealt with Donnelly’s admission to The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and stays at the Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital.

During Donnelly’s first major episode, according to Kennedy, he thought people were after him with guns. Because he was so unstable, Frederick was unable to visit Donnelly during his stay at the Royal Ottawa, but called her son to offer comforting words. 

“She and Mike tried everything, everything in their power to help him,” Kennedy told the CBC. “It was up and down.” She also states Donnelly would take his medication but then stop, an outcome which would leave Frederick “beside herself.” 

At the time of the stabbing, Donnelly was living in the room of a residence on Monterey Avenue, located in the Leslie Park neighborhood. On the day of the incident, police responded to a call at that home, after reports came in about a dispute between the 39-year-old and a neighbour, according to the CBC. 

In his younger days, Donnelly attended St. Pius High School. According to his Facebook page, he was currently studying at Algonquin College. He also worked as an aid at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, and dipped his toes in rap music. 

Chaos In The Court

On Monday afternoon, Donnelly was charged with one count of Second Degree Murder and another count of Attempted Murder. He appeared in court via video link. 

As the proceedings went on, Donnelly had to be muted after threatening the Justice of the peace. He called him a “fake judge”, a “loogin”, and threatened to “annihilate” those addressing him. He also called them “losers.” Donnelly stated that he was a “front line worker” who knew his rights, and would take the situation seriously after appearing in a real court. 

The accused, who did not yet have a lawyer, was also verbally aggressive toward the Crown prosecutor who misspelled his step dad’s name; he called the whole thing a “farcical court.”

Donnelly has been ordered to not communicate with three people, and will appear back in court today. He has been ordered to undergo a mental health assessment.