Gabriel Klein fit to stand trial for stabbing death of Abbotsford teen, B.C. judge rules
Klein accused of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School in 2016
A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Thursday that Gabriel Klein is fit to stand trial for the stabbing death of an Abbotsford teen.
Klein is accused of stabbing and killing 13-year-old Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School in November 2016. He is also accused of wounding another girl, 14, in the attack. Klein was 21 at the time of the incident.
He was charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault, but in April 2018 was found mentally unfit for trial.
Klein has schizophrenia and suffers from auditory hallucinations, paranoid delusions and thought disorder.
A spokesperson for the B.C. Prosecution Service said Klein's trial is scheduled to start Oct. 7, 2019.
Found fit at earlier review
The B.C. Review Board, which periodically examines cases where individuals are found to be unfit to stand trial, found Klein fit for court earlier in January.
Board chair Bernd Walter explained when an accused person is declared mentally unfit to stand trial, they are eventually reviewed by the board to see if they can competently participate in the court process.
Then, if the board declares the accused is fit, the case is reviewed by a judge, as Klein's was Thursday.
"If I'm going to go on trial today, I've got to be able to understand what's going on, the charges I face. I've got to be free of symptoms enough that my mental illness is not interfering or impairing my ability to instruct my counsel, listen to the evidence and ... give evidence myself," Walter said.
"I have to understand the nature of the trial and what it could mean for me in terms of its consequences."
Klein had been evaluated by the board in July and September 2018 before being declared fit at January's hearing.
Court heard Thursday that Klein is taking a new medication that has made it easier for him to understand court proceedings and communicate.
His lawyer Martin Peters told a B.C. Supreme Court judge on Thursday that his client has made "tremendous gains" since he was declared unfit last April.
"From the standpoint of being able to interact with him, they're extraordinary — a miracle of pharmaceuticals," Peters said.
He will remain at a psychiatric hospital for the duration of the trial instead of going to a pre-trial centre.
With files from The Canadian Press