Newly released video in the trial of a man accused of murdering an Abbotsford teen and stabbing her friend could help the court determine whether the accused was of sound mind at the time of the crime.
Gabriel Klein is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and aggravated assault in the stabbing of her friend on Nov. 1, 2016.
Crown and defence in the case agree that Klein committed the stabbing. The case instead hinges on whether Klein intended to kill anyone, a factor that would determine whether he is found guilty of murder or manslaughter.
The video, which was initially played in court in December, shows Klein stealing from two stores in the hours before the stabbings at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School.
In one video, he can be seen walking into a Cabela’s outdoor outfitting store and stealing the murder weapon.
The video shows Klein enter the store, speak briefly with an employee, then go up and down the aisles comparing different knives. Eventually he exits the store with the knife.
The second video shows him enter a government liquor store, where he steals a couple of bottles of alcohol.
In the video, Klein can be seen speaking with an employee before sneaking a few bottles of booze into his backpack and leaving.
Klein has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Defence has argued he intended to commit “suicide by cop” the day of the killing.
Mental illness was not raised as a defence during the trial, but Klein’s lawyers argue the estimated 2.8 ounces of alcohol he drank, combined with mental stresses raises a reasonable doubt he meant to kill anyone.
However Crown has argued that the videos, which show Klein behaving calmly and with apparent intent, demonstrate deliberate conduct and his ability to make clear decisions.
If Klein is found guilty of second-degree murder, he will face an automatic life sentence. If he is found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter there is no minimum sentence.
Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes is expected to deliver her verdict on Feb. 21.
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