NEW WESTMINSTER — A judge is scheduled to deliver her verdict on Friday in the case of a man charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a student at an Abbotsford high school.
In his closing arguments in December, defence lawyer Martin Peters said Gabriel Klein did not have the intent to kill a 13-year-old girl on Nov. 1, 2016, when he walked into the rotunda of Abbotsford Secondary School.
He urged Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court to find his client guilty of manslaughter.
Letisha Reimer died after being stabbed 14 times and her friend, who was also stabbed, suffered serious injuries, for which Klein has been charged with aggravated assault.
Peters said the Crown has proven its case in the assault against the girl, whose name is under a publication ban, and Klein should be found guilty.
However, he said there is reasonable doubt related to the murder charge because his client exhibited odd behaviour and mental distress beforehand, suggesting he did not intentionally plan to kill anyone.
Surveillance videos seen in court showed Klein stealing alcohol from a liquor store and a hunting knife from a sporting goods store hours before the attack, and Peters said his client committed the thefts because he wanted to get drunk and use the weapon to stab a police officer in hopes of triggering a suicide-by-cop scenario.
Crown attorney Rob Macgowan said in his closing argument that Klein faked symptoms of a mental disorder after his arrest in order to be found not criminally responsible of the crimes and even told a psychiatrist who assessed him at a hospital that his lawyer would use that as a defence.
Macgowan said evidence presented at the trial established beyond a reasonable doubt that Klein stabbed Reimer with such force that he had to have known she would likely die.
Klein was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a forensic psychiatric hospital in June 2017 and has been receiving treatment. He was deemed mentally fit to stand trial