An artist’s sketch depicts Gabriel Klein in court during his fitness hearing on April 19, 2018 at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Sketch by Sheila Allan)

Trial slated to begin for man charged with Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein accused of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in November 2016

The trial is slated to start this morning (Monday) for the man accused of stabbing a 13-year-old Abbotsford student to death in 2016.

Gabriel Klein, 24, will stand trial for the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer and the aggravated assault of her 14-year-old friend (whose name is protected by a publication ban) in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

The judge-only trial is scheduled to run until Dec. 20.

The two girls were randomly attacked on Nov. 1, 2016, as they were sitting in the rotunda of Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

Klein was first scheduled to go on trial in May 2018, but a judge ruled in April of that year that he was unfit to stand trial.

RELATED: Man charged in Abbotsford school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

The court heard that Klein, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was “intensely paranoid,” hearing voices on a daily basis, suffering from “disorganized thinking” and experiencing hallucinations.

He remained in the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

The BC Review Board then held hearings in July and September 2018 to review the matter, determining that Klein was still not fit for trial.

RELATED: Man charged in Abbotsford school stabbing still too psychotic, doctors say

But at a hearing in January of this year, the review board was told that Klein no longer hears voices and is able to focus better since starting a new medication regimen last fall.

Klein, who in previous hearings was mainly unintelligible in his responses, was able to fully answer the board’s questions. He referred to his new medication as a “miracle drug.”

The BC Review Board then determined that Klein was fit to stand trial.

His lawyer, Martin Peters, has previously said that, if the case proceeded to trial, he would argue that Klein is not criminally responsible (NCR) due to mental illness.

An NCR ruling would mean that the judge believes that Klein did not have the capacity to appreciate his actions and know right from wrong at the time of the offence.

Individuals who receive such a ruling fall under the mandate of the BC Review Board, which conducts an assessment to determine whether the person should be detained in a hospital, discharged in the community under certain conditions or discharged without conditions.

RELATED: Accused Abbotsford school killer found fit to stand trial

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Vikki Hopes | Reporter

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Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

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