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

Chilliwack prolific offender charged in four alleged incidents in 12 days

Branden Tanner busted for alleged smash-and-grab Nov. 30, then incidents Dec. 3, Dec. 8 and Dec. 11

Four companies vying to open cannabis stores in locations across Chilliwack

Rezoning applications for non-medical cannabis outlets pending, and some will require variances

Christmas cheer, crafts and music at Chilliwack and Yarrow libraries

Make festive ornaments out of old books while enjoying Christmas music at Chilliwack libraries

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

Fleeing driver picks fight with Chilliwack police dog, loses

Good dog ‘Griff’ also locates large quantity of what police believe to be crystal meth in Abbotsford

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

MAP: Christmas light displays in the Lower Mainland

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read