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Defence won’t present evidence at trial of Alberta man accused of killing Abbotsford student

Crown presents last witness in trial of man accused of killing Abbotsford student
WATCH: Crown presents last witness in trial of man accused of killing Abbotsford student (Aired: Nov. 1, 2019)

WARNING: This story contains graphic details which may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.

Defence in the trial of an Alberta man accused of murdering a 13-year-old girl in an Abbotsford high school three years ago will not present any evidence.

Gabriel Klein’s lawyer made the surprise revelation Monday, meaning the trial will go to final arguments next Monday, Dec. 16, a process expected to take two to three days.

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Defence counsel Martin Peters had previously told Global News he expected Klein would testify.

Psychiatrist testifies at trial of Gabriel Klein
Psychiatrist testifies at trial of Gabriel Klein

Klein, 24, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated assault in the slaying of Letisha Reimer and the stabbing of her friend at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School on Nov. 1, 2016.

Neither side denies that Klein stabbed the girls. The case instead hinges on Klein’s mental state at the time of the killing, and whether he can be found not criminally responsible for the action because of mental disorder.

READ MORE: ‘We could feel her pulse fade’: Witnesses recount fatal stabbing at Abbotsford school

A forensic toxicologist has testified that Klein had alcohol and THC in his system during the attack, but that the combination would not produce mental confusion.

Other witnesses have testified that Klein was exhibiting strange behaviour before the attack, including grunting and making high-pitched noises.

Unnerving video evidence presented at Abbotsford school stabbing trial
Unnerving video evidence presented at Abbotsford school stabbing trial

A psychiatrist who assessed him four days after the killing testified Klein said he heard voices saying “kill, kill, kill,” and that when he saw Reimer and her friend he “saw two monsters.”

Klein has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and other witnesses have said they saw Klein exhibit symptoms of the mental illness.

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The court has previously heard from shelter workers who testified Klein had wanted to return to Edmonton the day of the killing, and had become frustrated that a ticket could not be arranged for him that day.

READ MORE: Accused Abbotsford school killer was on alcohol and drugs, final Crown witness testifies

It heard that a shelter worker had given Klein a map to a public library that is connected to Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

Gabriel Klein trial: witnesses recount fatal stabbing at Abbotsford school
Gabriel Klein trial: witnesses recount fatal stabbing at Abbotsford school

Reimer’s friend, who can not be identified because of a publication ban, described the attack, which left her with wounds to the chest, left shoulder, hand and eye in video testimony.

In an audio statement played to the court, a second student described seeing a man push EI off her chair and stab her about four times.

The trial was put on hold in November while defence sought a forensic psychiatrist’s mental health assessment of Klein to determine whether he was not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder.

Klein was found mentally fit to stand trial in January.

— With files from Jill Bennett and Sean Boynton