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Accused killer Gabriel Klein appears in Chilliwack court

Sheriffs arrive at the Chilliwack Courthouse on Monday morning with Gabriel Klein. They shut the doors to the garage before Klein was removed from the vehicle. - Kevin MacDonald
Sheriffs arrive at the Chilliwack Courthouse on Monday morning with Gabriel Klein. They shut the doors to the garage before Klein was removed from the vehicle.
— image credit: Kevin MacDonald

by Paul Henderson, Black Press

The man accused in the random stabbing death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Nov. 1 appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Monday morning.

With four sheriffs in the courtroom, Gabriel Klein fidgeted, rocking back and forth and biting his fingernails. He appeared confused, looking around the room when told to rise as the judge entered and exited the courtroom.

Klein faces one count of second-degree murder for Reimer's death, and one count of aggravated assault for an attack on a 14-year-old girl whose name is protected under a publication ban.

Acting on behalf of legal services, lawyer Rob Dhanu told the court that Klein did have "some level of communication" with him, and the 21-year-old will have a lawyer within 10 days.

This followed his first court appearance video on Nov. 7 in Abbotsford after Klein initially refused to come out of his jail cell. He then appeared in person in Surrey on Nov. 9. At that appearance, he was brought in and out in a wheelchair by sheriffs, restrained, saying little, and rocking back and forth.

At the end of his appearance in Chilliwack Monday, the judge addressed Klein to clearly summarize what had taken place and what are the next steps.

"Uh, I don't know what that means," Klein said.

Prior to that, Crown counsel Rob Macgowan told the court that at the Nov. 9 appearance, the provincial court judge in Abbotsford pushed the matter over to Supreme Court, which was a procedural misstep.

"That direction was not at the Crown's request," Macgowan said, and Dhanu agreed.

Macgowan said the proper course of action would be to send the matter back to provincial court to go through the normal procedures of arraignment, election and decision about a preliminary inquiry.

The judge agreed, and ordered Klein to appear in Abbotsford provincial court via video on Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. to confirm if he had obtained a lawyer.

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