Accused murderer was released from Abbotsford hospital days before teens stabbing – CBC.ca

Accused murderer was released from Abbotsford hospital days before teen\s stabbing - CBC.ca
Gabriel Klein in agitated state at hospital two days before attack – BC News
A man on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer in 2016 was assessed and released from Abbotsford Regional Hospital two days before the killing.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge heard testimony Tuesday from a security guard who spoke with Gabriel Klein in the hospital emergency room and the social worker who later got him a cab to a homeless shelter on the evening of Oct. 30, 2016.

Two days later, Evanuk says the same man was brought into the ER in restraints surrounded by police after the hospital was notified patients would be arriving in serious condition, perhaps suffering from gunshot or stab wounds.

The two women gave very different accounts of their encounters with the 21-year-old who would kill Letisha Reimer and gravely injure another student in the halls of Abbotsford Senior Secondary two days later.

Both women also happened to be in the hospital two days later, when Klein was held in restraints and surrounded by police in the aftermath of the tragedy.

The social worker — Faye Reglin — said the hospital's risk manager spoke with her prior to her testimony. She said the risk management team wanted to advise her on courtroom dress and demeanour.

Kylee Evanuk says she encountered an agitated young man named Gabriel in the ER waiting room on Oct. 30, 2016, and he said he needed to call his mother but she couldn't reach the woman.

But Klein's lawyer, Martin Peters, suggested the team may have been more concerned about liability.

He questioned Reglin repeatedy about worries she and the hospital might have had about sending Klein to a homeless shelter without seeing a psychiatrist, days before the killing.

The Crown attorney said in his opening statement that Klein's defence will be that he is not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

"I asked if it was a concern of yours that Mr. Klein had been treated and released from hospital two days before he murdered Letisha Reimer," Peters asked.

Klein was caught on camera stabbing Reimer. The Crown and the defence agree that he wielded the knife that killed the teenager and wounded her friend.

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.

But Klein — who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia — plans to argue that he should not be held criminally responsible for either attack because of a mental disorder.

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.

He showed up at Abbotsford Regional Hospital a few hours after he was released from the custody of the Canada Border Services Agency for crossing into the United States without any identification.

Security guard Kylee Evanuk was working as an "ER ambassador" when she spotted the tall young man lying on top of a huge backpack in the emergency room. 

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.”

"The knapsack was on the bench, and then he was laying face down on top of the knapsack and he looked like he was in some kind of pain," she said.

Evanuk said she tried to speak to Klein but he didn't respond. She later saw him walk toward the exit and tried again. She said Klein was clutching his abdomen.

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.

"He said to me that he was really sick. He really wasn't feeling well, that he didn't know what he was going to do, that he had no money, that he had to get in contact with his mother, that he was trying to get back to Alberta," she said.

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.

"He sounded pained in the tone of his voice. He didn't really follow normal social cues."

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.

Evanuk said she spoke with a triage nurse who assured her Klein wasn't a suicide risk. Evanuk also let him use her phone to try to call his mother, but there was no answer.

Im asking about your concerns in coming here to testify in court and having a discussion with risk management that a patient who was released two days before was not kept at the hospital for treatment by a psychiatrist, that he was released into the community and killed, Peters said.

Reglin said she first laid eyes on Klein as he lay on an upright bed in an emergency room a few hours later.

A doctor told her Klein had been assessed for scratches on his arms he got working on a chicken farm; he needed help finding shelter.

Based on my assessment I did not have any concerns, said Reglin, who told the court she gave Klein a bagged meal and called a cab so he could go to a shelter where shed arranged a bed for him because he had nowhere else to go.

According to a triage note later read in court, Klein also complained that his spine was swollen and that he had an inability to plan.

"He didn't speak of being in any pain or distress," Reglin recalled. "He sat very calmly, making good eye contact."

Evanuk said two days later, the same man was brought into the ER in restraints surrounded by police after the hospital was notified patients would be arriving in serious condition, perhaps suffering from gunshot or stab wounds.

Reglin said Klein said he had been robbed of his identification and his money. He wanted bus fare back to Edmonton.

Klein has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer on Nov. 1, 2016, and aggravated assault in the wounding of another student whose name is protected by a publication ban.

The social worker said she gave Klein a bagged lunch and helped him call the Lookout shelter. She later watched him get into a cab.

The program co-ordinator at the shelter also testified on Tuesday about events on the morning of the killing, when Klein left the shelter. Andrea Desjarlais said he wanted to use her phone to call his mother.

But she said Klein's mother had already told her she only wanted to communicate with her son by email. Desjarlais said he also said he wanted to go back to Alberta immediately. She said it would take a few days.

Martin Peters questioned a social worker about having spoken with the risk management team of Abbotsford Regional Hospital before testifying Tuesday about her dealings with Gabriel Klein on Oct. 30, 2016.

Klein then went into a bathroom where Desjarlais said it sounded like he was kicking the door from the inside. When he emerged, she said she tried to reassure him.

"He didn't react to me," she said. "He had a blank look on his face. There was no facial emotion."

Faye Reglin was called in on her day off because of a "traumatic tragedy." A police officer and physician asked her if she could identify the young man who she had assisted two days earlier.

She said Klein was under guard, lying still, staring at the ceiling. She identified him and gave a police statement.

"I was trying to fit the puzzle together," she said. "I was tired. I was confused."

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