A woman has been charged with murder in the death of Simon Hubbard in Ottawa's New Edinburgh neighbourhood on New Year's Day.

Charged with one count of second-degree murder is Jennifer Bird, 26, of Ottawa.

At a court appearance Monday, she showed no expression as she was ordered held in custody until another hearing on Friday.

Hubbard, 43, left a trail of blood in his final moments as he stumbled from his basement apartment on Stanley Avenue, in which it's believed he was attacked, to a two-storey red-brick home next door.

Neighbour Joyce Goodhand spotted Hubbard around 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the base of some stairs and called 911.

"I peeked out my side window that overlooks the kind of side of the yard, and yeah, there was a young fellow lying there face down," she said.

"He was pretty grey, and I don't know how long he'd been there, but it was pretty apparent that he wasn't going to get up."

Paramedics arrived within minutes, Goodhand said, and pronounced the man dead at the scene. The death was the city's first homicide of 2011.

An autopsy on Monday concluded that Hubbard died from stab wounds, police said.

Hubbard was an avid musician and had studied electrical engineering at Algonquin College. Police have not commented on his relationship with Bird.

Bird, who's being held at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, had been living downtown at the Shepherds of Good Hope emergency shelter for people with addictions or mental health issues.

Several police constables monitored the shelter's rear area on Monday, though they wouldn't divulge why.

Residents of the building said they were shocked to hear their neighbour had been charged.

"She's a nice girl, a nice woman, and she's very calm, and she said to me there's somebody she was afraid [of]," neighbour Robert Cormier said.

The shelter is about a kilometre away from New Edinburgh, a tree-lined area near the prime minister's residence and Rideau Hall.

"I was a bit startled, because this is such a quiet neighbourhood, nothing ever happens," Suzanne Drapeau, a neighbour of Hubbard's, said Monday.