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Crime

Accused Abbotsford killer wanted to go to Alberta the day of fatal stabbing: shelter worker

Trial of man accused of killing Abbotsford teen hears testimony about mental state

The trial of an Alberta man accused of fatally stabbing a 13-year-old girl and injuring another teen at an Abbotsford high school heard from new witnesses as it entered its second day.

Gabriel Klein has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated assault in the killing of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School on Nov. 1, 2016.

Crown called Kylee Evanuk, a security guard from Abbotsford hospital, to the stand on Tuesday.

Trial of Gabriel Klein begins
Trial of Gabriel Klein begins

Evanuk testified that she remembered Klein lying on a bench in the ER waiting room on Oct. 30, 2016.

Klein appeared distressed, disoriented and in pain, and told her he had no money and wanted to go back to Alberta, she said.

Evanuk testified that she let Klein use her phone to try and contact his mother, but that he was unsuccessful. She said she felt he would benefit speaking with a social worker.

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The next time Evanuk said she saw Klein was Nov. 1, the day of the killing. She said she saw him wheeled by her on a stretcher bed, accompanied by police and in restraints, with the hospital placed on high alert.

READ MORE: Court sees graphic video as trial of man accused in Abbotsford high school murder begins

Faye Reglin, a social worker, was second to take the stand on Tuesday.

Reglin told the court she spoke with Klein on Nov. 30, describing him as calm, polite, and not agitated.

She testified that Klein didn’t express any concerns about mental health or suicidal thoughts, and that she connected him with the Abbotsford Lookout Shelter.

Reglin returned to the hospital on Nov. 1, after the stabbing, and testified that a doctor and officer asked her to help identify someone in an exam room.

She testified she recognized the man as Gabriel Klein from their interaction the day before, telling the court he was lying still on a bed, staring at the ceiling.

Klein’s defence asked Reglin under cross-examination if she knew that the accused had complained of swelling in his spine. She said no, adding that she couldn’t recall everything from the day they met.

Defence also asked Reglin if there was any concern at the hospital that Klein had been treated and released two days before the stabbing. She told the court she could not recall a conversation of that nature.

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The court also heard from Lookout Society program coordinator Andrea Desjarlais, who testified she spoke with Klein on the morning of Nov. 1.

READ MORE: ‘1 in 630-quintillion chance’ DNA found at Vancouver murder scene wasn’t from accused: expert

Desjarlais told the court she contacted Klein’s mother, who told her she did not want to speak to her son on the phone, but rather through email.

She testified that Klein became verbally aggressive when she wouldn’t connect him to his mother, telling the court “he was sort of demanding and questioning why I wasn’t going to do it.”

Klein told her he wanted to go back to Edmonton that day, she testified, adding he didn’t understand why shelter staff couldn’t give him money for a bus ticket.

She said he walked out of her office and hit a locker when she explained to him that it would take a few days to get the funds.

“I reassured him we were getting money for the bus ticket… he just left,” she said, telling the court that Klein began clearing out his locker.

Under cross-examination, Desjarlais said she believed Klein was “in a state of psychosis… he wasn’t responsive… he was quite closed off and his eyes glazed over,” and said his state showed characteristics of schizophrenia.

Hilary Cave, a resource worker with the shelter, testified that Klein appeared depressed and anxious, and that she gave him a map to the Abbotsford Community Library on Oct. 31 when he said he needed to email his mother.

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That library is connected to Abbotsford Senior Secondary School, where the stabbing occurred.

The court has already heard from several witnesses, including an Abbotsford police officer who produced the knife used to kill Letisha, along with a black jacket and a knife holder.

It has already seen video evidence, including a graphic six-second clip of Letisha’s stabbing, and security video that allegedly shows Klein stealing alcohol and a knife.

Wednesday is expected to be a particularly emotional day in the courtroom, with several witnesses who were at the school on the day of the stabbing slated to testify.

-With files from Grace Ke and Emily Lazatin