THE STORY SO FAR
Today marked the seventh day of the jury trial for Keith Gregory Wiens at the Kelowna Supreme Court. Wiens, a former mountie, is accused of second degree murder in the fatal shooting of his common law partner Lynn Kalmring, 56.
She was found on the bedroom floor of her Penticton home on August 16, 2011 killed by a single gunshot to the head. Police say they found a large kitchen knife in the left hand of the deceased.
Crown prosecutor Colin Forsyth told the 12-member jury they will have to decide whether the knife was in the victim's hand when she was shot or if it was placed there after. In his opening address Forsyth said he intended to prove the accused shot Kalmring with intention and without legal justification.
Over fifteen witnesses have testified so far providing evidence the jury will have to piece together before making its verdict.
Shelley Pertelson, Kalmring's sister, was the last person to speak to the victim. She had hung up from a phone call with her sister just twenty minutes before Penticton RCMP received a 911 call from Wiens saying he had shot his wife. Pertelson said her sister was crying when she called, upset about a fight she was having with Wiens over financial matters.
A recording of the 911 call was played in court and Wiens is heard saying, “can you hear me... I just shot my wife.” The police officer who arrived on scene to arrest Wiens said he was calm and cooperative but noted the smell of alcohol on him.
Police witnesses gave similar accounts of how they found the victim's body lying in a blood-splattered master bedroom of an otherwise immaculate home in a gated community on 3333 South Main St. in Penticton. They said the body was lying in a pool of blood at the doorway and holding a 12-inch kitchen knife stained with blood. Cpl. France Burke said she pulled the knife from the victim's hand without any resistance.
Firearms expert Lauren MacAulay said the bullet retrieved from the victim's skull was fired under a 30-inch range. Doctor Gilles Molgat who performed the autopsy said Kalmring died from brain trauma caused by a single low-velocity gunshot to the left side of her face.
Police witnesses also described a number of items at the crime scene relevant to the investigation. Among them was an opened bottle of vodka in the kitchen, a wedding ring sitting on $2,005 US cash and a pile of documents detailing household expenses.
Two weeks prior to the fatal shooting, Kalmring's daughter Brandy Cummings said she went on a family picnic at Okanagan Falls with her mother and Wiens. In her testimony this week, she said Wiens made some comments about her mother at the picnic.
“He told me that my mom better get her ass back to work... that she had better start pulling her weight,” she told the court.
The couple had recently returned from a one-month holiday at their property in Arizona, where they planned to spend the winters. Cummings said her mother was working as a nurse at a senior's home during her relationship with Wiens.
Kalmring's three ex-husbands also testified yesterday. They gave similar descriptions of Kalmring's behavior when drinking, saying she was never violent towards them. When cross-examined by defence lawyer Ian McKay, Wayne Kalmring said he recalled having “a handful” of fights over money matters during his marriage with Kalmring.
The crown expects to call its final witnesses next week before closing its case. Justice Geoff Barrow will make the final ruling, deciding whether the law supports the jury's verdict.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.