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Woman charged with first-degree murder in Ottawa's first homicide of 2014

Gurpreet Ronald, 34, has been formally charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jagtar Gill.

The 43-year-old mother was found stabbed to death in her Barrhaven home Jan. 29. Her death is Ottawa's only homicide in 2014.

Dozens of Gill's family members and friends filled the small courtroom Wednesday morning to support her widower, Bhupinderpal Gill.

He is an OC Transpo bus driver and knows the accused and her husband, who both also worked as drivers for the bus company.

The Ronalds live one block away from the Gill home in the same quiet, family neighbourhood that's part of a new development in Barrhaven.

When she appeared in court, Gurpreet Ronald kept her head down and arms folded in front of her, her long black hair hanging in curtains beside her thin face.

She was, "very upset and shocked by the charges but responsive and able to understand my questions and able to respond to me, so she's, I think she's as good as someone in this situation can possibly be doing," said her lawyer, Bruce Engel.

He said she was asked to come to the police station Tuesday to provide some blood samples and was then taken into custody. She called Engel then and he conveyed the news to her husband.

"He is probably in more shock than she is," said Engel.

"I was the one who told him, so I called him to let him know, whereas my client called me so she knew well before so I really didn't gauge her reaction, I didn't advise her what was going on, I advised him. So, he's in shock," he said.

Ronald's husband sat in the front row of the courtroom throughout her brief court appearance, fidgeting and holding his head in his hands.

Ronald will appear again in court by video April 16.

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