Keith Gregory Wiens had no time to make a 911 call when a fight with his partner turned hostile. Instead, he chose to arm himself with the loaded handgun he kept in his dresser drawer, the Kelowna Supreme Court heard today.
In his cross-examination today crown lawyer Colin Forsyth pressed Wiens to explain why he resorted to using a firearm the night Lynn Kalmring was fatally shot in her Penticton residence.
Jury members are expected to deliberate sometime next week, deciding whether or not Wiens is guilty of second degree murder in the August 16, 2011 shooting death of his common-law partner, Lynn Kalmring.
He told the jury today he recalls sitting on the edge of his bed thinking, “should I phone police, should I phone my dad?” But things happened too quickly, he says.
“I didn't have time to call police.”
Forsyth reminded him he had enough time to remove a small wooden box from Kalmring's closet to brace the bedroom door. Wiens described this as “a makeshift alarm system,” since the door had no lock.
Forsyth asked him why he didn't just use the weight of his 200 pound body to hold the door shut.
“She came flying through it... I didn't have enough time to properly secure the door,” he says. All in a matter of seconds Wiens says Kalmring was coming at him with a knife pointed at his neck and chest area, and he pulled the trigger.
“You intended to kill her?” Forsyth asked.
“I can't answer that...if I didn't do it I would have died...I intended to protect my life,” he says.
As he watched her head drop to the floor, he says he was dazed, “shaking like a leaf.” But just seconds later he had his gun disarmed and back in its holster, making the gun safe, he says.
Forsyth suggested to Wiens a different scenario: that he shot Kalmring out of anger and when he realized what he'd done, pulled her body towards the door and placed a knife in her hand.
“I didn't touch her...not her feet, not her hands, not her head,” Wiens says.
Forsyth noted Wiens already had his gun cocked before seeing Kalmring with the kitchen knife later found by police in the left hand of her dead body.
Before Kalmring went to the kitchen for the knife, Wiens says they had “an extreme confrontation” in the bedroom, “nose to nose...she was purple,” he says.
This was the worst confrontation of his life, he says. “Even as a police officer?” Forsyth asked, to which he replied “Yes, sir.”
Kalmring was hysterical about being kicked out of the home, repeating at least six times: “I'll fucking die,” he says.
“When people die often they take others with them,” he says.
“Why didn't you follow her down the hallway?” Forsyth asked. Wiens says there was “no way” he would follow her.
“She was absolutely berserk,” he says, having just been assaulted by her. While he testified yesterday Kalmring hit him upside the head when he was sleeping that night, today he couldn't recall if he was hit or grabbed and pulled from his bed.
And while Wiens says the fight had nothing to do with finances, Forsyth asked if he told Kalmring: “Bottom line is, get a fucking job.”
“I may have said that,” Wiens says.
Forsyth suggested he struck Kalmring in the face in the course of the confrontation, causing her to bleed.
“That's ludicrous...what you're insinuating upsets me,” he says.
In the transcript of the 911 call Wiens made shortly after the shooting, he says: "This is just a great big huge mistake" but when the operator asks him to explain what happened, he answered: "Uh, I can, but I'm not going to threaten the police."
Forsyth suggested he changed the subject intentionally, never explaining the story he gave today in his testimony.
Defence counsel will be calling two final witnesses to the stand next week before resting their case.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at email@example.com or call (250)718-0428.