The man who killed a 13-year-old girl and injured her friend at a high school in Abbotsford, B.C., has been asked to read the victim impact statements before he appears for sentencing next month.
Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes told defence lawyer Martin Peters that she would like Gabriel Klein to reflect on the statements that were given by family members during his sentencing hearing this week.
Klein was convicted of the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer and the aggravated assault of the other girl, whose name is under a publication ban.
The murder conviction brings an automatic life sentence, but Holmes still must determine when Klein will be eligible for parole.
Holmes said Friday that she will release her decision July 7.
Klein will have a chance to address the court, if he desires, during that hearing, Holmes added.
Peters told the court Klein should be eligible for parole after 12 years, while the Crown is calling for 18.
He told the court it’s not completely accurate to label Klein a “high risk to reoffend,” because he is willing to continue treatment to control his schizophrenia and his risk only rises if his mental health issues are not properly managed.
“He’s at a high risk for violence if there’s an elevation in those risk factors,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that he’s at an imminent risk for violence.”
Peters also asked the court to take Klein’s Indigenous background into account as well as the ongoing trauma suffered by him and family members due to the intergenerational impact of residential schools.
“Mr. Klein is young. He has a long life ahead of him with prospects of rehabilitation,” he said.
Peters said Klein was in his mid-20s. He was 21 years old at the time of the attack.
Family members of Reimer and her friend addressed the court on Wednesday, describing their concerns that Klein will not receive a fit sentence for the damage he has caused.
Eliane Reimer told the court the world stopped on the day her daughter “died on the cold floor of her school.”
Ulrich Reimer said he struggles with anger and grief over the death of his daughter.
The mother of the other victim told the court of her guilt and sadness that her family is able to celebrate life’s milestones with her daughter, while the Reimers struggle with the death of their own child.
In April, Holmes ruled against Klein’s claim that he suffered a mental disorder that made him unable to appreciate the nature of his actions or that they were wrong.
Klein was convicted in March 2020 and applied for the hearing claiming he was not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder a week before his sentencing hearing in September. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental disorders while in custody.
During the hearing to determine if he was responsible for the crimes, Klein said he saw monsters, not girls, in the rotunda of the school and that voices in his head ordered him to kill them. The court heard he had no prior connection to Reimer or her friend.
— Nick Wells, The Canadian Press