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

Giants hand Victoria their first lost of the season

Langley’s WHL team went head to head with the Royals for the second day in a row, beating them 3-2.

VIDEO: Rollover closes down Willowbrook Drive in Langley overnight

Mounties are working to find the cause of a crash early Sunday morning on the Langley-Surrey border.

Winning streak comes to end in Victoria for Langley-based Giants

G-Men fell in overtime in first of two games against the Royals on Vancouver Island this weekend.

VIDEO: Langley brothers campaign to help refugees get bikes

Program enters third year, adds homeless

VIDEO: Diwali celebrated in Langley

Muriel Arnason library marks 15th annual event

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Students unhappy with SFU’s response after violent incident in class

Professor, students say a man threw chairs and hit a female student

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Man struck by car in Burnaby: reports

Pedestrian was taken to hospital

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

Police looking into VPD-involved collision that sent 3 to hospital

The independent police watchdog has been notified

Police investigate after woman stabbed in Vancouver

Report came in about a ‘disturbance’ in the Killarney neighbourhood

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

Most Read