Abbotsford stabbing suspect appears briefly in court

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The 21-year-old man charged in the stabbing death of a 13-year-old girl in an Abbotsford, B.C., refused to speak during his first court appearance.

Gabriel Brandon Klein appeared via video conference while sitting motionless in a wheelchair, apparently shirtless and wrapped in a beige blanket.

Klein had originally refused to leave his jail cell, but was eventually compelled by the judge.

He was addressed by the judge three times but refused to answer. He was eventually wheeled out.

Klein has now been ordered to appear in person in Surrey provincial court Wednesday morning.

Klein is charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault for what police are calling a random attack that killed Letisha Reimer and sent her 14-year-old friend to hospital on Nov. 1.

The Crown prosecutor alleges that Klein is intentionally refusing to co-operate to avoid dealing with the legal proceedings.

The prosecutor also said Klein has twice refused to speak with a lawyer, but he did confirm that the prisoner is no longer certified under the Mental Health Act and is being held in jail, not a hospital.

Refusing to co-operate

Last week, a prosecutor also told a judge Klein could not attend his first scheduled court appearance because he was being restrained in his cell for his own safety.

The prosecutor said that Klein was admitted to hospital after his arrest, certified under the Mental Health Act by one doctor, and then decertified by a psychiatrist the next day.

Police have said Klein has no fixed address and that he recently arrived in the Vancouver area from Alberta, where he was wanted on a warrant for four traffic offences in Calgary.

Two young men who knew Klein from his stay at a Vancouver youth shelter have said he was a kind person who was trying to get his life together, but he recently changed and became paranoid and frightened after a bad drug experience.

Students at Abbotsford Senior Secondary were returning to school today for the first time since the attack. School officials said support workers would be available for students and staff to help them deal with the attack.

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