UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

The BC Review Board has determined that the man accused of the fatal stabbing of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 2016 is fit to stand trial.

The board issued its decision on Tuesday afternoon, following a hearing held earlier in the day at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam.

Klein will now have a date set to go back to court, where a judge will make the final determination on Klein’s fitness and whether a date will be set for trial.

He is accused of the second-degree murder of Reimer and the aggravated assault of a 14-year-old girl (whose name is protected by a publication ban).

At his hearing on Tuesday morning, Klein said he no longer hears voices in his head and is able to focus better since starting a new medication regimen last fall.

READ MORE: Man charged in Abbotsford school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

READ MORE: Publication ban lifted on Letisha Reimer’s name

The board also heard from Klein’s psychiatrist and his lawyer.

They were told that, following Klein’s last hearing in September, he was placed on the anti-psychotic drug Clozapine to treat his schizophrenia.

Klein, who in previous hearings was mainly unintelligible in his responses, was today able to fully answer the board’s questions.

He referred to his new medication as a “miracle drug.”

“When I first came to this hospital, I felt enslaved to the voices in my head. The Clozapine makes me feel like I’m not ill anymore,” Klein said.

He said he used to hear four or five voices constantly speaking to him with “pretty derogatory, sometimes uplifting” messages.

Klein said the voices sometimes spoke about aliens and sometimes came from the TV, making it difficult for him to focus on conversations.

Today, Klein was able to accurately answer questions from board members about the court system and what the possible outcome can be for someone charged with a crime.

Dr. Andrew Kolchak, who began treating Klein last fall, said he has no concerns about Klein now standing trial.

He said Klein’s symptoms have greatly diminished, allowing him to engage much better with people and participate in “fairly lengthy” conversations.

Kolchak said he expects that Klein will make continued progress.

One of Klein’s lawyers, Martin Peters, asked the board to find that Klein is now fit to stand trial.

“Mr. Klein is able to focus on what is presented before him, thus able to instruct counsel on what he would like to occur in terms of legal proceedings,” Peters said.

Board members who commented were in agreement that Klein now appears fit to stand trial, saying that his symptoms have lessened, he has a good grasp of his situation, and he is represented by experienced legal counsel.

After the hearing, Dave Teixeira, spokesperson for Letisha Reimer’s family, said the family was relieved that the hearing was quick – lasting less than an hour – and that the matter can now move forward.

“The family is not vengeful. The family is not trying to ensure he’s locked up and the key is thrown away. They want to see justice, whatever that may look like,” he said.

Also speaking after the hearing, Peters said Klein is also eager for the matter to proceed.

“He’s been very clear to Dr. Kolchak and myself that he wants to go to court, he wants to deal with this charge and, like everyone, he wants some finality to this process. He’s a young man. He wants to know what the rest of this process will look like, and where he will serve his time,” Peter said.

Klein was first found unfit to stand trial in April 2018 by a B.C. Supreme Court Justice.

The BC Review Board then held hearings in July and again in September to review the matter, determining that he was still not fit for trial.

They scheduled their next hearing for today to allow Klein more time for treatment to take effect.


@VikkiHopes
vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Gabriel Klein is charged with the 2016 stabbing death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary and the aggravated assault of a 14-year-old girl.

Just Posted

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Smoke-free summer a boon for West Kootenay tourism

Tourism centres seeing numbers up

Black Press Kootenay Career Fair underway in Cranbrook

Today, Thursday, August 22, around 40 employers will be waiting to meet potential new employees

National trail group decries province’s plans for West Kootenay trail

Converting trail back to motorized use will harm its international reputation, says official

Cannings to pedal through South Okanagan — West Kootenay riding

MP leaves from Nakusp on Aug. 23 and ends in Kaleden on Aug. 29.

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Most Read