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.

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

 

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

Iconic white raven returns to Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Photographer John Domovich: ‘It blew me away when I first observed it’

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

COVID-19: City of Parksville announces gradual re-opening plan

Sports courts and playgrounds to open June 5

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

RCMP: Parksville cyclist hurt after being clipped by passing vehicle

59-year-old man suffered minor injuries; driver failed to stop

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read