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Crown says Schlatter 'stalked and isolated' woman before strangling her

Last Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 12:56 pm EDT

Kalen Schlatter at the first day of his murder trial in the death of Tess Richey (Pam Davies/CITYNEWS)

Prosecutors say a Toronto man “stalked and isolated” a young woman who had no interest in him, then lured her into an alleyway where he sexually assaulted and strangled her.

The Crown alleges Kalen Schlatter, 23, acted like a “predator” towards Tess Richey in the early hours of Nov. 25, 2017, trying to prevent the 22-year-old from going home because he wanted to have sex with her.

In her closing submissions Tuesday, prosecutor Bev Richards said Richey twice tried to get in a taxi that night and had already called an Uber when Schlatter led her into a dark alley in downtown Toronto.

Richards suggested Schlatter may have offered to walk Richey to her ride or to show her a shortcut, but instead sexually assaulted and killed her in an outdoor stairwell.

Schlatter has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. He testified last week that Richey wanted to “make out” in the stairwell and was alive when he left her.

Richey went missing after a night out with a friend and her body was found in a stairwell in downtown Toronto days later.

Court has seen security footage from that night that shows Richey and Schlatter walking towards the stairwell and Schlatter emerging alone roughly 45 minutes later. Richey is never seen leaving.

Defence lawyers said in their closing arguments Monday that Schlatter was an “easy target” for investigators, since he was the last person seen with Richey.

But the defence said Schlatter is innocent and urged jurors to acquit him when they begin their deliberations later this week.

The trial is one of the only cases continuing in Ontario as the province’s courts essentially shut down in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.


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