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Kalen Schlatter was sentenced to life in prison for the premeditated murder of the 22-year-old woman.

Tess Richey's killer Kalen Schlatter loses appeal.

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Kalen Schlatter is charged with the premeditated murder of Tess Richey

  • Jean-Philippe Nadeau (View profile)Jean-Philippe Nadeau

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Surprise in the Ontario Court of Appeal: three judges rejected the arguments of murderer Kalen Schlatter on the bench on Tuesday, so that the Crown did not even have to present its counter-arguments arguments after the defense. The murderer's lawyers were seeking a new trial because they argued the trial judge made mistakes during the 2020 jury trial.

The three judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal did not give their reasons after dismissing the case out of hand after 10 minutes of deliberations. They will do so in writing at a later date.

They told Crown prosecutor Tracy Kozlowski that there was no point in hearing his arguments.

The trial had showed that Kalen Schlatter strangled Tess Richey with a scarf, whom he met at a club in Toronto's gay neighborhood on November 25, 2017.

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He had dragged her into the stairwell from a building under construction, where he attacked her before killing her.

Unusual fact: the victim's body had was found by his mother and a family friend a few days later, drawing public ire against police work at the time.

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Victim Tess Richey seen in an undated photograph that her sister, Rachel, gave to police when the young woman disappeared.

Kalen Schlatter, now 27, was arrested on February 4, 2018, two months after the crime.

The Torontonian was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to an automatic life sentence with no right to parole for 25 years.

The murderer's two lawyers argued on appeal that the trial judge initially made errors in his instructions to the jury by not warning them enough about the testimony of an informant.

After his arrest, Kalen Schlatter confided to his cellmate that he had strangled Tess Richey.

The Crown relied in particular in its indictment on the incriminating testimony of the individual, whose identity is still protected by a publication ban.

Lawyer Jessica Zita says the judge gave far too much weight to the informant's testimony […] while these kinds of people are known to be compulsive liars.

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From left to right: defendant Kalen Schlatter, judge Michael Dambrot and Crown prosecutor Beverley Richards.

The informant in question was a classic informant that we see in detention, she emphasizes. She asserts that evidence that is unfair and manipulative is unreliable.

Mr. Zita recalls that Schlatter's defense had suggested that the informant had lied, but that the judge in his instructions to the jurors had insinuated that his testimony was tendentious.

She further argues that the Crown did not even mention the man in question in its opening arguments when presenting its evidence to the jurors. How could she then rely on her testimony to incriminate the accused? she asks herself.

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From left to right: the Schlatter family, Judge Michael Dambrot, Kalen Schlatter and Crown prosecutor Beverley Richards

Kalen Schlatter's lawyers added that the judge at the trial downplayed the defense's theory, which raised the possibility that Tessa was murdered by another suspect, whose identity is also protected under the law.

In this sense, their client's trial was not fair, according to them, and it did not take place in the rules of the art.

According to attorney Jeffery Couse, Suspect #2 could have entered the building's stairwell without being seen by the construction site's surveillance camera from the backyard of the nearby pet store.

At the time, the individual had been considered a real suspect in the case before the police turned their attention more towards Kalen Schlatter, because he admitted to investigators that he had left his home that evening with the aim of having sex.

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During the trial in 2020, Kalen Schlatter's defense called to the witness stand the man they considered at the time to be suspect No. 2 in the murder of Tess Richey.

Me Couse explains that this second suspect could have followed Schlatter and Richey without their knowledge as they left the Crews & Tangos and waiting for Kalen Schlatter to leave after the couple kissed in the stairwell.

The lawyer recalls that suspect #2 lied to police at the time about his whereabouts on the night of the murder. /p>

According to Me Couse, the testimony of the individual was essential to the defense of the accused, but his lawyer during the trial did not x27;was able to cross-examine him on the witness stand without constraints, because the judge had refused him, thus weakening the position of the defense.

The defense was unable to cross-examine the other suspect on what constituted an alibi, while the Crown was allowed to suggest to the jury his own alibi, he said.

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Tess Richey left her family home in North Bay at the age of 19 to settle in Toronto, where she was killed three years ago later.

Me Couse speaks of a significant error of law which undermined what should have been at the time a convincing defense.

He emphasizes that the harm caused to the accused was aggravated by the uneven way in which the judge summarized, according to him, the testimony of suspect no. 2.

The trial judge placed unfair limits on the defense on what it could ask of the other suspect when x27;he was questioned at the bar, he explains.

He further argues that the magistrate undermined the alternative suspect theory in his instructions to the jury, by submitting rhetorical questions about the individual's testimony.

His instructions to the jurors were not problematic, but the cumulative effect of his presentation suggested to the jury that the theory of the other suspect was implausible, he concluded after having struggled leave with the three judges of the Court of Appeal.

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