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Man found guilty in Abbotsford high school stabbing death

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 6, 2020 at 8:25 pm PDT

Summary

Gabriel Klein guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer

Klein has also been found guilty of aggravated assault for stabbing Reimer's friend

Judge said there was no evidence that mental health issues affected Klein's ability to see consequences of his actions

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – A 23-year-old man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer, who was stabbed to death at Abbotsford Senior Secondary four years ago.

Gabriel Klein has also been found guilty of aggravated assault for stabbing Reimer’s friend, who suffered serious injuries.

Klein walked into the school in November 2016 hours after surveillance video showed him stealing alcohol from a liquor store and a hunting knife from a sporting goods store.


The judge said there was no evidence in the case that mental issues affected Klein’s ability to see the consequences to his actions, and that his conduct was incomprehensible.

Evidence does not give rise to reasonable doubt, the judge said, adding Klein meant to cause Reimer bodily harm.

While Klein admitted to stabbing Reimer, his lawyer had argued he should not be found criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder.

The judge said there was no evidence in the case that mental issues effected ability to see consequences actions, and that Klein’s conduct was incomprehensible.

The judge also said that doctors believe Klein’s behaviour and stories were very inconsistent.

The verdict was delivered Friday in a New Westminster courthouse, where supporters of the family showed up in “Abbotsford strong” shirts.

Dave Teixeira, speaking on behalf of the Reimer family, said outside the courthouse that the verdict was the best outcome given the circumstances.

“Second-degree murder was certainly the charge it should have been,” he said.

“He went into that school with the intention of killing people. Not harming, but killing people, and he succeeded.”

Teixeira said there’s no joy for the family in the decision, just one more step in the journey for them.

The next step will be sentencing, scheduled for June 1-2.

“It’s our understanding there should be at least 10 years, hopefully more. But let’s see what happens when sentencing comes down,” Teixeira said.

In his closing arguments in December, defence lawyer Martin Peters said Klein did not have the intent to kill Reimer on Nov. 1, 2016.

Peter urged Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court to find his client guilty of manslaughter.

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.

-with files from Bethlehem Mariam, Monika Gul and Mike Hall