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

Long awaited Kelowna murder trial is scheduled to begin Monday

Stephen Pirko is charged in the killing of Christopher Ausman in 2014

Arrest made in off-road Vernon park detour

RCMP air services helps track down 36-year-old suspect

O’Keefe Ranch animal pen relocation project gains grant

Okanagan Basin Water Board supports the project, gives $5,182 grant.

Rising Vernon MMA star wins Canadian amateur

Rylie Marchand, 17, nearly slept through first bout; recovered to win national championship

Video: Large dust devil swirls through downtown Chase

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

Let the city govern the city

LETTER: Vernon applauded for getting IHA to re-examine OPS

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Osoyoos among B.C. resort towns to get share of $2.5-million in tourism cash

Changes to RMI funding are bringing more money to places like Harrison and Tofino

Petition urges limits on retail cannabis stores in Summerland

Ban on downtown stores, increased regulations in other areas proposed

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Most Read