Gabriel Klein sits in the prisoner’s dock during the first day of his trial on Oct. 7 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Sketch by Felicity Don)

Man charged in fatal B.C. school stabbing to use ‘not criminally responsible’ defence at trial

Trial begins for Gabriel Klein, charged with killing teen and wounding another girl in Abbotsford

The man charged with stabbing Letisha Reimer, 13, to death in 2016 and seriously injuring a second girl will be proceeding through his trial on a defence of not criminally responsible due to mental disorder, the court heard Monday.

The trial for Gabriel Klein – charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault in relation to the attack at Abbotsford Senior Secondary – opened Monday morning in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

In his opening statements, Crown lawyer Rob Macgowan said there is no disputing that Klein, 24, was the one who stabbed Reimer and a 14-year-old girl (who cannot be named due to a publication ban) on Nov. 1, 2016 in the school rotunda.

“This is a case where certain things are not in dispute,” Macgowan said.

He said the central issue for Crown will be proving Klein’s intent in each of the charges.

Macgowan said an autopsy showed that Reimer had been stabbed 14 times.

He said the other girl had been stabbed four times – on her right eyelid, left shoulder, right ring finger and right chest. She spent 10 days in hospital and later that month required surgery for her shoulder injury.

She was also diagnosed with “acute stress disorder,” he said.

Macgowan laid out Klein’s activities in the two days preceding the stabbing.

He said that, on the afternoon of Oct. 30, Klein was brought to the office of the Huntingdon border crossing in Abbotsford after American authorities detained him when he was found illegally crossing the border.

RELATED: Man charged in Abbotsford school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

RELATED: Accused Abbotsford school killer found fit to stand trial

That evening, he went to Abbotsford Regional Hospital, where he spoke to an emergency room doctor and a social worker. He was then directed to the Lookout homeless shelter on Riverside Road in Abbotsford, where he stayed overnight on Oct. 30 and 31.

On Oct. 31, he used the public library that adjoins Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

On the morning of Nov. 1, Macgown said Klein met with an income assistance worker at the shelter, and then left with all his belongings.

Klein’s next stop was at the liquor store in the Sumas Village strip mall on Sumas Way, where he stole two bottles of alcohol, Macgowan said.

He said that, just after noon, Klein went to the Cabela’s store on McCallum Road and shoplifted a Buck hunting knife, and then proceeded to Abbotsford Senior Secondary, entering through the public library at about 2 p.m.

The attack occurred shortly afterward, with police receiving multiple 911 calls from the school at 2:06 p.m.

Macgown said evidence obtained from the scene included the hunting knife and sheath, a black jacket and printouts with Google Map directions.

Other evidence includes a six-second video shot by a student at the school. The footage, played in court Monday morning, shows Reimer being stabbed as she screams.

Macgowan said the student who shot it was on the third floor of the school, overlooking the rotunda, when he heard screaming. He thought someone had fallen or there was a fight. He had his phone in his hand with the app Snapchat open, and shot a quick video.

Afterwards, the student sent the footage to a friend for safe-keeping, and never intended for it to be released publicly, Macgowan said. But that video was widely circulated on social media.

Other video footage – from various locations that Klein had attended – was also played in court.

Macgowan said the witnesses slated to testify over the coming weeks include Lookout staff, liquor store and Cabela’s employees, hospital staff, police and corrections officers, psychiatrists, and students and staff from the school.

The girl who was seriously injured will not testify on the stand, but her video-recorded statement will be played in court, Macgowan said.

The first witness to take the stand Monday was Krysten Montague, a border services officer who was working at the front counter of the Huntingdon crossing on Oct. 30, 2016, when Klein was brought in by U.S. border guards.

She said that Klein told her he had been in Vancouver staying with cousins and ended up in Abbotsford because he had previously worked at cleaning a chicken coop there.

Montague said Klein told her had been walking around farms in the area to see if any work was available and accidentally crossed into the U.S. in an unmarked area.

She said Klein told her that he was planning to take a bus back into Vancouver but he didn’t have any money. She said she offered to contact homeless shelters in the area, but he declined.

Montague said Klein appropriately answered all her questions, made good eye contact, was well-spoken and didn’t seem nervous.

She released Klein, and, after she got off work at 3 p.m. she spotted him walking north near the Costco on Sumas Way.

Montague later recognized Klein in a photo of him released by police after the stabbing. She informed her managers, who then contacted police.

Klein’s lawyer, Martin Peters, is expected to cross examine Montague Monday afternoon.

Klein, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was found not fit to stand trial on three separate occasions before the BC Review Board ruled in January of this year that he was now fit.

The trial is scheduled to continue until late December.


@VikkiHopes
vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary. A second girl, 14, was seriously injured.

Just Posted

COVID-19: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation asks Tofino businesses for support as emergency funding runs dry

“We need to pay for the work they do. It’s such important work.”

DFO says the five aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Canada can lead the way to save sharks from extinction, says fisheries expert

“Combined with fishing extraction numbers, sharks experience huge losses in the environment.”

Five Vancouver Island First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Most Read