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)

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 Abbotsford school stabbing to use ‘not criminally responsible’ defence, trial hears

Trial has begun for Gabriel Klein, charged with killing Letisha Reimer and injuring another girl

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.

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

Just Posted

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
Abbotsford care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Morning mist clears over the Hope Slough at Camp River Road on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Sunny skies in the forecast for Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Rain and wind expected Sunday night through Monday morning, then clear skies

The Abbotsford School District head offices. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford school district spent majority of emergency funds on staffing: report

District laid out spending plan for COVID-19 funds received from province and feds

LEFT: Krista Macinnis, with a red handprint across her face that symbolizes the silencing of First Nations people, displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
RIGHT: Abbotsford School District Kevin Godden says the district takes responsibility for the harm the assignment caused.
Abbotsford school district must make amends for harmful residential school assignment: superintendent

‘The first step is to unreservedly apologize for the harm … caused to our community’: Kevin Godden

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Elissa McLaren broke her left elbow in the Sept. 20, 2020 collision. (Submitted)
Surviving victims of fatal crash in Fraser Valley asking for help leading up to Christmas

‘This accident has taken a larger toll financially, mentally and physically than originally intended’

Most Read