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.

 

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

Just Posted

Rambo fever descends on Hope

Hope Cinema packed for special screening

Liberal candidate Jati Sidhu backs out of four interview appointments with The News

Jati Sidhu, the Liberal incumbent in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, said he was too busy to talk

Chilliwack maternity ward gets bundle of new equipment

Breast pumps, small fridges for patient rooms and freezer for donor breast milk given to hospital

Advance voting in 2019 federal election begins

Voting at advance polling stations has become a popular choice in Canada over the years

Hotel tax approved for Hope area accommodations

New two per cent hotel tax comes directly from room stays

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Brothers in Cowichan Valley win big in lottery for second time

Playing same numbers net big wins over a three year period

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Sentencing date set for Vancouver Island father convicted of killing his two daughters

Andrew Berry was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder last month

B.C. woman finds mysterious coin among Grandma’s collection

Grandmother died when she was very young and her past is not well known to her mother

TransLink Mayors’ voters guide singles out Conservatives on transit funding

The guide outlines the pledges major parties have made on transit funding

Overnight closures on Pattullo Bridge as earthquake warning system installed

Northbound closures are planned from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on certain nights through to Nov. 4

Advanced polls saw 4.7 million Canadians cast their ballots in the 2019 federal election

That’s a 29 per cent increase from advance polling in 2015

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

A waiver to enter the U.S. can cost $2,000 and isn’t a guarantee

Most Read