Crown tells jury 'predator' Kalen Schlatter must be convicted of murder
Judge set to charge jury before deliberations on Friday
Accused killer Kalen Schlatter is a "predator" who must be convicted of first-degree murder for killing Toronto woman Tess Richey, Crown attorney Bev Richards said Tuesday in her closing address to the jury at Schlatter's trial.
"Kalen Schlatter is lying to you and to this court to protect himself because he murdered Tess Richey," Richards said.
"Find Kalen Schlatter guilty of first-degree murder."
The Crown's closing address signals the trial's final days. It is moving forward this week even as most criminal trials in Ontario have adjourned because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
Justice Michael Dambrot gave the jury the option to suspend proceedings Monday, but they chose to carry on.
The Crown alleges Schlatter sexually assaulted and then strangled Richey before leaving her body at the bottom of an outdoor stairwell in the city's gay village in 2017.
Schlatter, 23, has pleaded not guilty in connection with the 22-year-old woman's death.
The jury has seen security camera footage of Schlatter and Richey together in the early morning hours of Nov. 25.
That includes video showing the pair walking up a driveway to the outdoor stairwell, where her body was later discovered at 582 Church St., before Schlatter emerges alone about 45 minutes later, heading back the way they came.
WATCH: Kalen Schlatter and Tess Richey walking together
Court has also heard Schlatter's DNA was found on Richey's clothing.
As Richards gave her outline of the case and how she believes the jury should interpret the last several weeks of evidence, one of Richey's sisters quietly cried in the courtroom. Members of both Richey's family and Schlatter's family have been at court each day.
In her closing, Richards pointed to several instances that she said showed Richey did not want to stay with Schlatter that night — including Richey walking toward a cab, later hailing another cab, and later still, ordering an Uber to take her home.
"Tess Richey has ordered an Uber that she believes will be arriving soon. She has no interest in Kalen Schlatter," Richards said. "But Kalen Schlatter was not prepared to give up just yet ... [he] has not had the sexual interaction he has been hunting for all night."
Richards also reminded the jury that according to Schlatter's testimony, it was Richey's idea to go into the stairwell where her body was later discovered.
"That manufactured tale is betrayed by the evidence. Tess Richey was not interested in Kalen Schlatter," she said.
Richards also touched on J.G. — a man called by the defence as an alternate suspect, one of the trial's final witnesses. His name cannot be used because of a publication ban. He sat in the body of the court Tuesday.
Richards said his DNA was not found on Richey's body, and added that J.G., who appears to be around five feet tall, didn't jump several fences in the dark and land completely undetected so he could "attack an unsuspecting Tess Richey" in the stairwell after Schlatter had left.
"That's ridiculous," she said.
Schlatter might try to "scapegoat" J.G., but "the truth of the matter is, [J.G.] did not kill Tess Richey," Richards said.
With closing addresses now finished, the judge is scheduled to give his charge to the jury on Friday, after which they will deliberate on a verdict.