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Posts Tagged "Accused"

8Oct

Witnesses say man accused in high school stabbing wanted to go home, call mother

by admin

Six witnesses who have now testified at the trial of a man accused of fatally stabbing a student at an Abbotsford high school in 2016 all told the court Gabriel Klein said he wanted to go home to Alberta, and talk to his family, in the days leading up to the attack.

Klein is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer, and aggravated assault in connection with the stabbing of another student at Abbotsford Senior Secondary who survived. He has pleaded not guilty, and the Crown has said while it’s not being disputed that he was the attacker, Klein intends to raise the defence of not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Kylee Evanuk, who was part of the security team at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Oct. 30, 2016, testified she saw what she described as a “peculiar sight”: a man laying face-down in the waiting room on top of a large green knapsack.

“He looked like he was in some kind of pain,” Evanuk said. She told the court he eventually told her he was really sick, he needed to contact his mother, and he wanted to go back to Alberta. Evanuk testified the man she later heard being referred to as “Gabriel” was clutching his abdominal area and “scrunching” his eyes closed. She told the court the man said: “I just need to get help, I just need to get better.”

Evanuk testified she let him try to call his mother on her phone, but there was no answer. She also told the court she went to talk to hospital staff about the man, and says she was told he would be fine and that he wasn’t suicidal. Evanuk testified she later recognized the same man on Nov. 1, the day of the stabbings, being brought into the hospital in cloth restraints on a stretcher surrounded by police.

A hospital social worker, Faye Reglin, testified she was asked to find a shelter for a patient named Gabriel Klein on Oct. 30, 2016. She told the court she was called by an emergency room doctor who had assessed Klein for scratches to his arms and hands from handling chickens. When asked by Klein’s lawyer if she saw his hands and arms, Reglin said no. She testified she was also unaware Klein had been complaining of swelling in his spine.

Reglin told the court Klein appeared calm, not agitated, and made good eye contact. She first testified he was sitting upright in the exam room, but then clarified under cross examination it was more accurate to say the hospital bed was in an upright position beneath him.

Reglin also testified Klein told her he wanted to go back to Edmonton, and added his money and ID had been stolen. Reglin said she contacted the Lookout shelter and got him a taxi. Reglin testified she later identified Klein as the man who was brought into the hospital on Nov. 1, at the request of a police officer.

Under cross examination, Klein’s lawyer Martin Peters asked Reglin if she was concerned Klein was released from hospital and two days later the stabbings occurred. She eventually responded: “Based on my assessment that I completed of Mr. Klein, I did not have any concerns from my perspective.”

The court also heard from three workers at the Lookout shelter, who testified they dealt with Klein on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. All three told the court Klein said he wanted a bus ticket to go home, and wanted to contact his family.

Andrea Desjarlais testified she had spoken to his mother and she had asked he only contact her by email, not by phone.

Another shelter worker, Hilary Cave, testified she gave Klein directions to the public library attached to the high school, so he could use a computer there to email his family.

Desjarlais testified on Nov. 1, Klein became “verbally aggressive,” questioning why she wouldn’t put a call through to his mother and wanting a bus ticket, which she told the court would have taken a couple of days to get. She testified he left her office and she heard a big bang and an echo, and said it sounded like he hit the locker outside. She then told the court staff heard banging coming from the washroom and it sounded like the door was being hit from inside.

Cave testified after hearing a loud noise she opened the bathroom door after getting no response, and saw Klein staring into the mirror. She told the court he didn’t answer her.

The workers testified Klein cleared his belongings out of his locker and left.

Under cross examination, Desjarlais testified she was concerned Klein was experiencing psychosis. When asked by Klein’s lawyer, Cave testified she doesn’t remember whether any mental health services were made available to Klein during his time at the shelter.

Earlier this year, the BC Review Board found Klein fit to stand trial. Last year, the board heard he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had been hearing voices.

In January, the accused’s lawyer reported his mental state had improved significantly, and there was a change in his medication.

The trial continues Wednesday.

 

 

7Oct

Murder trial begins for man accused of stabbing Abbotsford teen at high school | CBC News

by admin

The screams of a 13-year-old girl echoed through a New Westminster courtroom Monday as the second-degree murder trial began for the man who stabbed her at an Abbotsford high school in 2016.

There is no doubt that Gabriel Brandon Klein is the man who wielded the knife that ended Letisha Reimer’s life.

But Crown prosecutor Robert Macgowan told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that Klein — who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia — will argue he should be found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder.

Klein, who looks considerably heavier than in a photograph of him released by police shortly after the attack, stood in the prisoner’s dock as the second-degree murder charge was read into the record along with an aggravated assault charge involving a second student. 

He blurted out the words “not guilty” both times.

The 23-year-old wore green pre-trial sweats and heavy framed glasses and looked down as Holmes asked to see the video of the stabbing twice.

The day ended in a lockdown

The six-second video, filmed by a student on Snapchat, takes the camera to the edge of a balcony looking down into the Abbotsford Senior Secondary School rotunda.

Klein can be seen making a stabbing motion. He stands up and steps back, throwing the knife away.

A memorial outside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School in 2016 in the days after 13-year-old Letisha Reimer was killed. The man accused of her murder is on trial in B.C. Supreme Court. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

It was the first video shown in the trial, which is happening without a jury.

“Tuesday, Nov.1, 2016 was a school day at Abbotsford Senior Secondary that began much like any other,” Macgowan told the judge in his opening statement.

“The day ended with the school in a lockdown and two female students being rushed to hospital with serious stab wounds. Tragically, one of them, 13-year-old Letisha Reimer did not survive.”

The identity of the other victim, known as EI, is protected by a publication ban. Macgowan said EI survived but was left “both physically and psychologically traumatized.”

About a dozen people sat in the courtroom, and one young woman walked out before the video of the stabbing was played.

In order to establish that he was not criminally responsible for his actions, the onus will fall on Klein to prove he was either unable to appreciate his actions or that he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.

‘He was very matter of fact’

Macgowan began explaning the Crown’s evidence by laying out the sequence of events that took place in the hours and days before the attack, starting with Klein’s appearance two days earlier at the Huntingdon Border crossing in Abbotsford.

A Canada Border Services Agency officer was among the first witnesses. Krysten Montague was on duty when U.S. border patrol officers brought Klein in for crossing the border illegally.

Abbotsford Senior Secondary became a crime scene in November of 2016 after Gabriel Klein stabbed two girls, killing one. He is arguing that he should be held not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Montague said he claimed to have been looking for work on a farm when he accidentally strayed across the line. He was clean cut and made eye contact but had no identity papers. 

She said he claimed to have come to Vancouver from Alberta to visit cousins. He was homeless.

“He was very matter of fact in answering the questions,” Montague said.

“He seemed well spoken, He didn’t seem nervous. He was not uncomfortable with the situation.”

Montague said Klein was allowed to leave after about 20 minutes. She said she offered to help him find a place in a local homeless shelter. She said she later saw him walking along the road in town.

Pronounced dead at 3:05 p.m.

According to the Crown, Klein was later admitted to the emergency room of an Abbotsford hospital where he was treated, released and directed to a homeless shelter where he spent the next two nights.

The day before the stabbings, video cameras caught Klein going in and out of the local library, which was directly connected to the high school at the time. He could be seen talking to a woman as she exited.

A makeshift memorials appeared at Abbotsford Senior Secondary in the days after Letisha Reimer died of stab wounds. The man who stabbed her is on trial in B.C. Supreme Court. (CBC)

Macgowan said police tracked Klein’s movements through a series of CCTV cameras on the last day of Letisha Reimer’s life.

He could be seen walking into a liquor store and slipping two bottles of rum into his camouflage backpack. And minutes later, a camera found him walking through the parking lot on his way to the sporting goods store, Cabela’s.

Holmes and the people in the public gallery watched security video from Cabela’s, which showed Klein calmly walking to the hunting section and picking up a Buck knife. He walked out of the store without paying, box in his hand.

The same knife was entered into evidence by the lead homicide investigator in the case. He held the box at an angle so the judge could see the weapon inside.

In all of the videos leading up to the attack, Klein appears calm, walks determinedly and occasionally interacts with store clerks.

Macgowan also introduced a video taken by police in the hours after the attack in the high school.

The rotunda where the stabbings took place was by then empty of students, papers strewn on the ground alongside Klein’s backpack. Yellow police tape hung from the handrails and a video screen still displayed a message to students.

Letisha Reimer was pronounced dead of blood loss at 3:05 p.m. Nov. 1 — hours before police filmed the aftermath of the attack that killed her.

She was stabbed 14 times. Macgowan said it was an admitted fact that Klein caused every one of her wounds.

25Sep

‘There was a lot of blood’: Trial begins for man accused of murdering Vancouver couple

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Warning: This story contains content some readers may find disturbing.

A man accused of killing a Vancouver couple in their Marpole home two years ago is now on trial for first-degree murder. Rocky Rambo Wei Nam Kam has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of 68-year-old Richard Jones and his wife, 65-year-old Dianna Mah-Jones.

The couple’s bodies were found on Sept. 27, 2017. Prosecutor Daniel Mulligan told the court in an opening statement the Crown contends the pair were violently killed on the previous evening.

“The Crown will argue that the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Kam was the killer, and that these killings were the result of planning and deliberation,” Mulligan said.

Mulligan told the court when Mah-Jones, a highly-respected occupational therapist, did not show up for work at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, a sales representative for a mobility equipment company offered to stop by her home and check in.

Anthony Purcell testified when he went to the house, he noticed a knife on the ground and a hatchet that appeared to have blood on it. He told the court when there was no answer at the front door, he went around the back and saw the back door was open behind the screen door. He testified he also noticed a bloody shoeprint on the step.

“So I banged on the door…and yelled out for Dianna, and just said, ‘Dianna, it’s Anthony, I’m here to check on you, is everything OK?’” Purcell told the court. He testified when he didn’t get an answer, he went inside and saw more bloody footprints. He told the court he went towards the kitchen.

“There was a lot of blood, and there was obvious signs of struggle,” Purcell said. He testified he went outside and called 911, then stayed at the house until police arrived. He told the court he did not see anyone leaving the house while waiting for the officers to show up.

The court also heard from a former newspaper delivery person, Regan Tse, who testified he had spotted the knife and hatchet at the home earlier that morning. He told the court he had also met Jones before when he came out to get the paper, and the last time he saw him he was using a walker.

Mulligan told the court police found the bodies of Jones and Mah-Jones in the shower, and both had “cut-marks” on them. He expects a forensic pathologist will testify Jones’s death was caused by multiple sharp force injuries, including stab and slash wounds. He told the court he expects they’ll hear the doctor documented approximately 103 such injuries.

“Crown will argue that Mr. Jones was the victim of a prolonged, yet controlled attack in his kitchen,” Mulligan said.

Mulligan told the court the evidence suggests Mah-Jones was attacked when she returned home, and added they will hear evidence the cause of her death was blood loss from a laceration to the carotid artery.

“She was dragged to the kitchen where her throat was cut,” Mulligan said, adding that Mah-Jones also had injuries suggesting she had possibly struggled.

Mulligan told the court police discovered a hatchet with the same bar code had been purchased at a Canadian Tire on Sept. 13, along with other items, and the sale was recorded on security camera. That video has not yet been entered into evidence.

Mulligan said he also expected a forensic witness would testify Kam’s DNA profile matched one generated from the fingernails on Mah-Jones’s left hand, as well as from swabs from the knife found in the yard.

Mulligan told the court Kam was living less than a kilometre away from the couple, and Crown will argue he was captured on video in the neighbourhood.

Mulligan also said the Crown has no evidence of any relationship or connection between the accused and the victims. He told the court the Crown’s theory is Kam purchased the axe and other items “specifically to use to kill someone.”

“There is no evidence as to when or why Mr. Kam targeted Mr. Jones. However the Crown will argue the purchase of the items used in the killing, along with the manner in which the victims were killed, is evidence upon which the court can conclude that these killings were the result of planning and deliberation,” Mulligan said.

The court also heard from a former neighbour of Mah-Jones and Jones, Emma Greenhalgh, who testified she saw a Kia Soul drive off after being parked outside the couple’s house on the evening of Sept. 26. She told the court Mah-Jones drove that kind of vehicle, and said it was very unusual for her to leave at that time of night, and added her neighbour usually parked in the garage. She testified she did not see anybody get in, but it appeared there was only one person in the vehicle.

Mulligan told the court Mah-Jones’s vehicle was not located near her home, but was found the next day, and added the keys were found in a flower bed.

Greenhalgh also testified Jones and Mah-Jones had a suite in the basement they rented as an Airbnb. When asked by crown if she recognized Kam as he sat in the courtroom, Greenhalgh said she did not.

The defence has not yet presented its case. The trial continues Thursday.

Warning: Graphic content. CTV News Vancouver’s Maria Weisgarber is covering the case live from court. Follow along below.

26Aug

B.C. man accused of putting hidden camera inside winery bathroom

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A Kelowna man has been arrested for allegedly putting a “small camera” inside a staff washroom at a winery.

Kelowna RCMP were called to the business after someone found the camera hidden inside the bathroom. Authorities have not released exactly where the camera was discovered.

Mounties said an employee of the business was arrested and could face possible voyeurism charges.

“Evidence has been seized in relation to this offence and once it has been properly processed, RCMP will be able to determine how many victims may be involved and further charges could be forwarded,” said Const. Lesley Smith.

The CEO of Summerhill Pyramid Winery confirmed to Castanet News the incident happened at their business, adding the “staff member involved is no longer a staff member.”

Ezra Cipes said management did a sweep of the winery to ensure there were no other hidden cameras and the public is not at risk of any danger.

“This happened to us, not by us,” he said. “This has been very hard to deal with.”

Kelowna RCMP said it’s unclear how many people were recorded.

The suspect was released from custody on a promise to appear at an upcoming court date.

16May

‘Deeply upsetting’: Long time Summerland, B.C., lifeguard accused of indecent acts involving children | CBC News

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A long time lifeguard and aquatic centre supervisor in Summerland, B.C., has been charged with 10 criminal counts for alleged sex crimes against children between 2008 and 2014, according to the RCMP.

Edward Casavant, 54, of Penticton was arrested on Wednesday on an outstanding warrant in relation to a child sexual assault and pornography investigation that began last November when someone contacted investigators at the Penticton RCMP detachment, according to police.

“Mr. Casavant was also known as ‘Eddie Spaghetti’ and was employed as a lifeguard for over 30 years beginning in the late 1980s,” said RCMP Cpl. Chris Manseau.

“We believe that Mr. Casavant used his position to gain access to school-aged children and in addition he volunteered as a lifeguard at various local summer camps.”

Cpl. Manseua said Casavant is facing the following criminal charges:

  • 2 counts of making or publishing child pornography.

  • 1 count of importing or distributing child pornography.

  • 1 count of possession of child pornography.

  • 1 count of accessing child pornography.

  • 1 count of secretly observe/record nudity in private place.

  • 1 count of sexual exploitation of a person with a disability.

  • 1 count of sexual assault.

  • 1 count of sexual interference of person under 16.

  • 1 count of Invitation to sexual touching under 16.

Edward Casavant worked as a lifeguard and aquatic centre supervisor with the District of Summerland for the past 30 years, retiring in late 2018. (District of Summerland)

Cpl. Manseau said investigators have identified at least two victims but believe there are others who have not spoken to police or who may not be aware they are a victim.

‘Deeply upsetting’

Casavant worked as a lifeguard and aquatic centre supervisor for the District of Summerland for 30 years until his retirement in late 2018, according the district.

In a written statement, Summerland Mayor Toni Boot described the allegations as ‘”deeply upsetting” and stated “our focus is on ensuring those impacted by these alleged incidents get the help they need, and ensure this sort of thing can’t happen again.”

Boot wrote that she understands the situation is upsetting to the community but because the case is before the courts the district is unable to answer questions about the matter.

“We know people will have questions and we will do our best to answer them when it is appropriate and when we have the authorities’ permission to do so.”

Boot stated the district and its staff will strive to ‘provide municipal facilities where people can feel comfortable, safe and free from harm or discrimination.’

Cpl. Manseau said investigators have released a photo of Casavant in hopes that additional victims may recognize him and contact police.

He asked anyone with information about the case to contact the Penticton RCMP tip line at 250-276-2177.


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27Sep

Man accused of killing Japanese student told brother where body was, court hears

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Weeks before being charged with the murder of a Japanese student he was dating, William Schneider was “sad” and “upset” over the inability to have a relationship with his teenage son in Japan, his murder trial heard Thursday.

The revelations were part of the testimony from his older brother, Warren Schneider of Kelowna, the Crown’s main witness in the second-degree murder trial.

William Schneider also faces a charge of committing an indignity against a human body. He has pleaded not guilty in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Thursday was the fourth day of the trial before judge and jury.

Warren told court that William had travelled to Japan in June and July of 2016 to visit his teenage son, Ricky, and was upset that his estranged wife wouldn’t return to Canada with their son or let the boy take his surname.

“The vacation didn’t go the way (William) wanted,” said Warren. “He was sad and lost and didn’t succeed in keeping a steady relationship with his son.”

A week after returning from Japan, William moved in to a men’s hostel, where he lived for the next six weeks, during which time he met Natsumi Kogawa.

Her body was found in a suitcase in Vancouver’s West End on Sept. 28, 2016, about two weeks after friends reported her missing.


The body of Natsumi Kogawa, a 30-year-old Japanese student, was found Sept. 28 at the abandoned Gabriola mansion on Davie Street.

Warren Schneider, according to prosecutor Geordie Proulx’s opening statement on the first day of the trial, overheard his younger brother telling his estranged wife in Japan on the phone that “I did it” or “I killed her.”

But the eight-woman, four-man jury on Thursday didn’t hear Warren testify about that phone call.

He did testify how he learned William was being sought as a suspect in the case of a missing Japanese student in Vancouver.

After police posted a photo from CCTV footage showing Kogawa and William walking together, Warren’s daughter in Kelowna contacted Warren to ask if it was Willie, as he is called, in the photo.


William Victor Schneider, is pictured here alongside Japanese student Natsumi Kogawa.

RCMP

It was a week after William had shown up in Kelowna, telling Warren and their half-brother Kevin that “he had done something bad” before leaving them shortly after arriving.

“What did you conclude?” Proulx asked Warren after he saw the photo.

“The worst,” replied Warren.

He called William in Vernon, at their father’s home, and told him about the photo, and William hung up without a word, he testified.

He drove to Vernon that night and then walked with William to buy beer.

During the walk, William said “that it’s true,” said Warren, adding he was “referring to (an) article on the Internet (about) the missing Japanese student. He brought it up. I didn’t pry.”

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The brothers that evening drank together in the park and agreed to talk more the next day, Warren said.

The next morning, William bought some heroin with the intention of committing suicide by overdosing, Warren testified. He said William told him where to find Kogawa’s body in Vancouver so Warren could tell police after he was dead.

Warren said he took several photos of them and then called 911 to report a heroin overdose at the park.

But William didn’t overdose. “(William) realized he got ripped off. (The heroin) wasn’t strong enough and he didn’t die,” Warren said.

Later, the men’s half-sister called Warren, who told her that he was with Willie “and we were hugging goodbye because (William) had planned on getting some more heroin” to commit suicide.

The sister picked up Warren and drove him to the police station.

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25Sep

Accused killer was homeless, penniless and sought anti-anxiety pills

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William Schneider, on trial for murder of a Japanese student two years ago, lived in a homeless shelter at the time, was broke and returned to his doctor weekly for anti-anxiety pills.

Schneider, 51, is accused of second-degree murder of Natsumi Kogawa, 30, and details revealed on the second day of the trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday before a packed public gallery painted a bleak picture of the middle-aged man’s life at the time.

Kogawa’s decomposed body was found in a suitcase in the fall of 2016 hidden on a West End property in Vancouver, where Schneider told his brother it would be, about two weeks after friends reported her missing.

Schneider has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and to interfering with human remains.


Natsumi Kogawa, a 30-year-old Japanese student, was reported missing by her boyfriend in Vancouver on September 12, 2016. Her body was found Sept. 28 at the abandoned Gabriola mansion on Davie Street.

At trial Tuesday, Vancouver Police Const. Beatrice Chow described taking photographs of the badly decomposed body.

She said Kogawa’s naked body was in a fetal position in the wheeled suitcase, head down, with her arms across her chest, and that twigs, leaves and moss were stuck to her skin.

Kogawa was last heard from on Sept. 8, 2016, the day she was seen on CCTV video buying vodka and chips and walking toward Stanley Park with Schneider, Crown counsel Geordie Proulx told the judge and a jury.

Court heard Schneider was carrying a tent and he had told his brother they had planned to go to Stanley Park to have sex in the tent, but they never made it. They instead had some drinks and took drugs before she left for another engagement.


William Victor Schneider, is pictured here alongside Japanese student Natsumi Kogawa.

RCMP

Kogawa’s autopsy showed she had anti-anxiety pills in her system — Lorazepam, that had been prescribed not to her but to Schneider that summer —  said Proulx.

Court has heard Kogawa came to Canada in May 2016 on a student visa, found a place to live in Burnaby and took English classes until July 22, 2016.

A statement of facts agreed to by Crown and the defence lawyer read into court on Tuesday revealed some details about Schneider’s life around the same time.

On June 10, 2016, Schneider had flown to Japan to an airport near Osaka. Court heard that his wife lives in Japan.

Schneider returned to Vancouver on July 25, 2016, the Monday after Kogawa’s final English class.

That same day, Schneider visited a doctor and received a prescription for Lorazepam, Proulx told court.

The prescription was repeated three days later, then once a week during the month of August. He received two more prescriptions in early September, but the strength had been cut to half-a-milligram and the number of pills cut in half.

Less than a week after returning from Japan, Schneider moved into the Catholic Charities Men’s Hostel in downtown Vancouver, where he lived for the next six weeks.

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Court hasn’t heard how the two met, but hostel staff are expected to testify he told them about meeting a woman and that they had gone hiking and planned to go camping.

While homeless, Schneider’s banking records showed he was broke for most of September.

There were zero transactions on that account until Sept. 21, when a government cheque for $793.42 was deposited.

“Welfare Wednesday” cheques are typically deposited at midnight. By 6:30 a.m. that day, Schneider was on a Greyhound bus to Kelowna, where his brother lived.

A week after that, on Sept. 28, 2016, he was arrested and charged with Kogawa’s murder after being found, drunk, before midnight in an area frequented by homeless people in Polson Park in Vernon, court heard.

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