Man convicted in stabbing at B.C. high school says he saw witch, zombie
By Amy Smart - CP
By Amy Smart - CP
(CP) NEW WESTMINSTER – A man convicted of stabbing a high school student to death in Abbotsford, B.C., says he began hearing voices in his head years before the murder but also acknowledged he has given contradictory accounts.
Gabriel Klein testified at his own hearing in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.
“My recollection changes all the time,” he said.
Klein was convicted in March of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and aggravated assault for injuring her friend in an attack at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School in 2016.
Klein’s lawyer is seeking to have his client found not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder.
The Crown sought Monday to establish a pattern of lies by Klein to avoid a life sentence.
Under questioning by his lawyer Martin Peters, Klein told the court that over the years, he became paranoid that he was being followed by shadows, by the RCMP and by the Hells Angels.
He said a good voice would tell him to do good things and a bad voice would tell him to do bad things, and if he didn’t comply they took control of his emotions.
“I’ve had some strange disturbances in my life thinking aliens are watching me, mocking me, things like that. It seems weird to me now because I’ve been on the proper medication for a couple of years,” Klein told the court.
“I had a strange way of thinking.”
Klein told the court he has schizophrenia and is on anti-psychotic medication.
He was 21 at the time of the stabbings, and said the voices began when he was 15.
During cross-examination, he said the voices began at 16 and got worse at 18 or 19.
Crown prosecutor Rob Macgowan asked if he remembered telling psychiatrists and psychologists after the murder that the voices began as recently as 2016, the year of the attack.
Klein said he misspoke.
“I’m not necessarily lying but it’s how I describe each voice,” Klein said.
“Sorry, you’re not necessarily lying?” Crown lawyer Rob Macgowan asked.
“I don’t really have good social skills,” Klein responded.
Klein moved to B.C. from Alberta by hopping on a freight train because he was paranoid he was being followed, he testified.
He said he smoked about a gram of marijuana every day, consumed alcohol and also used methamphetamine. He later added cocaine, mushrooms and a form of acid to the list of drugs he has tried.
On the day of the attack, Klein said he was planning to email his mother because he was suicidal and wanted to say goodbye. He felt like his brain was swelling, he said.
He went to the public library, connected by the rotunda to the high school, to use a computer, he said.
The voices spoke to him that morning, he said.
“It feels like If I disobey the negative voice, I get emotionally tortured,” he said, adding that meant he would feel sadness, depression and anger.
On his way, he screamed, yelled and walked into traffic. He took three to four shots of rum but no drugs that day, he said.
“After I crossed the road and all the vehicles stopped it felt like my emotions were pushing me, I felt like I lost control of my body and my mind.”
When he arrived at the library, he said all the computers were occupied so he sat in a chair near the door in the rotunda to wait.
“As soon as I sat down, I looked to my left. I saw two people that I describe as monsters,” he said.
One looked like a witch with a deformed face and the other looked like a zombie with maggots coming out of her back, he said.
“The voice in my head was telling me to kill, kill, kill,” Klein said.
“It happened so quickly.”
When the attack finished, the voice told him he was going to hell, he said.
Under cross-examination, Klein said he has previously seen witches while on drugs.
“Mr. Klein you’d agree that shadows following you, hearing voices, seeing people’s faces changes and mutating into monsters and witches – these are all things you’ve experienced before when using drugs,” Macgowan asked.
“The difference was, I wasn’t using those types of substances when that happened,” Klein said.
Klein said he had a difficult time at the pre-trial centre after the murder and before being transferred to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital. He said other inmates assaulted and threatened him and poured water under his door.
In an incident unrelated to the stabbings, he said he lied to several people about being robbed.
“I was just looking for help,” he said.
“You thought that it might make people feel sorry for you,” Macgowan said.
“You are correct.”