Murder charge upgraded for man accused in Toronto gay village death

Man accused the death of a woman in the Toronto gay village had charge upgraded after new evidence

A man accused of killing a young woman in Toronto’s gay village had his charge upgraded to first-degree murder after police found new evidence in the case, an investigator said Thursday after the 21-year-old appeared in court.

Kalen Schlatter is charged in the November 2017 murder of 22-year-old Tess Richey who, according to police, died of “neck compression.”

Schlatter was initially charged with second-degree murder last month but the charge was elevated to first-degree murder Wednesday.

“I’m not going to get into what the new evidence is (but) I’m going to tell you that new evidence presented itself to us,” Det. Ted Lioumanis told reporters following a brief court appearance at which Schlatter’s case was put over until April 23 “I want to acknowledge the community for that. I want to thank them for that for coming forward.”

There are a handful of conditions under Canada’s Criminal Code that can result in a charge of first-degree murder. ”Planned and deliberate” homicides and killings that occur while committing or attempting a sexual assault or kidnapping are among the crimes that qualify.

RELATED: Ontario man arrested in alleged double homicide

Police believe Schlatter and Richey did not know each other before the night of her death, Lioumanis said outside court, adding that Schlatter has not yet provided investigators with a statement.

Richey was reported missing Nov. 25 after a night out with a friend in Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood.

Her mother, who travelled from the family home in North Bay, Ont., to search for her daughter, found Richey’s body four days later in a stairwell at the back of an alley, just steps from where she was last seen alive.

Richey met Schlatter on the street after she and her friend left a bar, police have said. Surveillance video shows Schlatter and Richey together near the alley where her body was found.

Richey’s family, some of whom attended Thursday’s court appearance, are in a “horrible situation,” Lioumanis said.

“Are they happy for the new charge? Absolutely,” he said. ”But considering what they’ve gone through and what they are going through, will they ever come to grips on what happened?”

Schlatter appeared in court by video, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, his hair neatly combed and his beard trimmed close. He spoke only to say “good morning” and provide his name at the start of proceedings.

Crown attorney Jennifer Stanton told the court her office would have more evidence to provide to the defence before Schlatter’s next court appearance.

Police faced public criticism for their failure to find Richey in the days after her disappearance.

Her death, along with several other disappearances connected to the gay village, led community members to say police were not protecting them.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders announced in December that the force would review its handling of missing persons cases.

RELATED: Alleged Toronto serial killer previously questioned, released by police

In a case unrelated to Richey’s, self-employed landscaper Bruce McArthur, 66, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths and disappearances of six men, most of them with ties to the gay village.

Peter Goffin , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Crews successfully battle overnight house fire in Tie Lake

No injuries, home damage minimal thanks to quick response by crews

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

UPDATED: Pratt to be acclaimed as Cranbrook mayor

Mayor will serve another term after running unopposed in the upcoming municipal election

Eight cattle dead in tunnel crash

RCMP thanks agencies after cattle truck crash; investigates vehicle and thrift store thefts

Parlez-vous français? Fernie students do!

Francophone and schools offering French immersion popular among Elk Valley families

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Youth give back to community

On August 30, Eliora and William Vandersteen, Matthew White, Isla Vandersteen, Alexis… Continue reading

Province announces 74 new French teaching spots at SFU, UBC

Needed to fill demand for increasingly popular French immersion programs in B.C.

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Most Read