This image of Gabriel Klein was released by police at the time of his arrest in November.

Man accused of Abbotsford school stabbing hearing voices, intensely paranoid

Lawyer says Gabriel Klein not fit to stand trial in May because of deteriorating mental state

The man charged with the 2016 fatal stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary was placed in seclusion at a psychiatric hospital last week after he heard voices telling him to rape a fellow patient.

Gabriel Klein, 23, is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Nov. 1, 2016. He is also charged with the aggravated assault of Reimer’s friend (who cannot be named due to a publication ban), who was 14 at the time of the attack.

Klein was scheduled to go to trial in May, but a hearing is being held this week to find whether Klein is fit to stand trial, after his lawyer drew attention to his client’s worrisome mental state.

Wednesday’s hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster was a “fact-finding” process that attempted to answer the question of whether Klein has the ability to understand and follow the proceedings and/or is able to communicate and give direction to his lawyer.

A finding of “not fit to stand trial” is not permanent; legal proceedings could restart if and when Klein’s mental health improves.

Dr. Marcel Hediger, who treats Klein at the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital where Klein has been held off and on since his arrest, testified Wednesday that Klein is schizophrenic, “intensely paranoid,” hears voices on a daily basis and experiences hallucinations.

“Mr. Klein is currently actively psychotic,” Hediger said.

Klein, who remained calm throughout Wednesday’s proceedings, has been taken from pre-trial custody to the hospital four separate times, the court heard. He has been at Colony Farm since last being admitted there in August 2017.

Hediger said he conducted two “fitness” assessments of Klein – one last week and one this week – and Klein understood his charges, could describe the court proceedings and understood that he could be sentenced.

Klein also said he had killed someone and seriously injured another person, but they did not discuss the specifics, Hediger said.

The doctor said that the two assessements were conducted in calm circumstances, but in stressful situation, Klein’s symptoms – and the risk of violence – can intensify. He quantified his concerns about Klein’s behaviour as “high level.”

Hediger said Klein was placed in seclusion last week after he reported hearing voices telling him to rape and harm a fellow patient. He said Klein also believes he is being monitored by the CIA, including through security cameras in his hospital unit.

During a court appearance last week, Klein heard voices to such an extent that he couldn’t focus on the proceedings, Hediger said. He said Klein’s mental state appears to have deteriorated in the last week or two.

“His mental state is extremely fragile,” he said.

Hediger said it doesn’t appear Klein is faking or exaggerating his symptoms. Klein is on three different medications, but none lead Hediger to believe the psychosis is “remotely treated.”

Klein is also on a new medication regimen that Hediger said could impact his ability to follow the court proceedings.

“I do think Mr. Klein will have difficulty in sustaining his ability to closely follow trial proceedings,” Hediger said.

If the trial proceeds, it is expected to take one to two months.

The hearing is set to continue Thursday morning.

With files by Tyler Olsen

Just Posted

BC Hockey to improve concussion care for players

BC Hockey has partnered with HeadCheck Health Inc. to establish standardization, and… Continue reading

Nanoose farm hopes to be more agriculturally transparent

Goal is to have new barn open to the public by spring of 2019

Drug-busted building in Parksville declared a ‘nuisance property’

RCMP has attended 354 Island Hwy. West 86 times since 2007

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

UPDATED: Lawsuit filed against city by GoFundMe group against Corfield supportive housing project

Supreme Court of B.C. files show four petitioners in the lawsuit

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Man plows truck into Houses of Parliament in London

UK police treat Parliament crash as terrorism, man arrested

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Smokey skies across Vancouver Island expected to last until Wednesday

The province of B.C. has issued a special bulletin for all of Vancouver Island

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Most Read