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Man guilty of murder, aggravated assault in B.C. high school stabbings

Image Credit: Cliff MacArthur/
March 06, 2020 - 7:00 PM

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. - A judge has found a man guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in an attack more than three years ago on two students at a British Columbia high school.

Defence lawyer Martin Peters had argued in December that 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, but she found Klein guilty of second-degree murder today.

Letisha Reimer died after being stabbed 14 times and her friend, who was also stabbed, suffered serious injuries, for which Klein was charged with aggravated assault.

Several people in the packed courtroom were asked by Holmes to cover up or reverse black T-shirts they wore with "Abby Strong" printed on them in red.

Sentencing has been scheduled for two days, starting June 1, when victim impact statements will be heard by the court.

The sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with the earliest chance of parole set at 10 years.

Klein, who was dressed in a dark green sweatshirt, was 21 at the time of the attacks.

Peters said in his closing arguments the Crown proved its case in the assault against the girl whose name is under a publication ban, and Klein should be found guilty on that charge.

However, he argued there was 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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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