Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary. (Facebook photo)

Verdict slated in trial of man charged with Abbotsford high school stabbing

Decision expected Friday morning in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster

The man who went to trial for the fatal stabbing of an Abbotsford high school student will find out today (Friday) whether he is guilty of manslaughter or second-degree murder.

Justice Heather Holmes is scheduled to render her verdict against Gabriel Klein, 24, at 10 a.m. in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. It is not known whether a sentencing hearing will follow or will be scheduled for a later date.

During closing arguments in December, both lawyers agreed that Klein was responsible for killing Letisha Reimer, 13, by stabbing her 14 times while she sat in the rotunda of Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Nov. 1, 2016.

The lawyers also both agreed that Klein was guilty of the aggravated assault of a 14-year-old girl (whose name is under a publication ban) who was also stabbed by him.

RELATED: Man charged in fatal Abbotsford school stabbing to use ‘not criminally responsible’ defence, trial hears

However, defence lawyer Martin Peters said Klein should be found guilty of manslaughter in Reimer’s death because he did not intend to kill her.

Peters said Klein, who stole alcohol from a liquor store and a hunting knife from a Cabela’s store in the hours before the attack, 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.

Peters said Klein was experiencing a “mental dysfunction” and he thought Reimer was a “shape-shifting witch” and the other girl was a “monster with maggots coming out of her back.”

RELATED: No defence witnesses in trial of man charged in killing of Abbotsford student

But Crown lawyer Rob Macgowan said a second-degree murder conviction would be more fitting because Klein – who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia – was not experiencing a mental disorder at the time of the attacks.

Peters had been expected to call evidence supporting an argument of “not criminally responsible (NCR) due to a mental disorder,” but he announced in court in early December that he was not calling any evidence on Klein’s behalf, and he did not use the NCR defence in his closing arguments.

A conviction for second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence, but parole eligibility can range from 10 to 25 years and is determined by the judge.

There is no minimum sentence for manslaughter (unless committed by a firearm, in which case the minimum is four years), but any term – including life imprisonment – is an option for the judge.

– with files from The Canadian Press

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Vikki Hopes | Reporter

@VikkiHopes

Send Vikki an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

BC Supreme Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Gabriel Klein sits in the prisoner’s dock during the first day of his trial on Oct. 7 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Sketch by Felicity Don)

Just Posted

Historical artifact found in Maple Ridge returned to Katzie First Nation

Katzie chief Grace George is grateful to have stone maul returned

Thieves target Maple Ridge grocer

Bandits stealing copper from FreshCo forces store to be shut down for half day amid COVID crisis

Doctors still seeing patients in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

Appointments over the phone or by videoconference

BC Cowboy Hall of Fame: Allison Everett (White) honoured as Builder of Western Culture

Allison grew up in Maple Ridge riding both English and Western style

VIDEO: 84-year-old great grandma joins evening cheer squad in Maple Ridge

People cheer at 7 p.m. to salute health care workers

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read