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Accused murderer tells court argument began with bet on video game

Keith Wiens escorted from court at an earlier appearance in Penticton. - Western News file photo
Keith Wiens escorted from court at an earlier appearance in Penticton.
— image credit: Western News file photo

An argument over a bet placed on a video game escalated into a full-blown relationship crisis that ended in the shooting death of his common-law wife, a retired RCMP officer testified at his second-degree murder trial.

Keith Wiens admitted to firing a single shot into the head of Lynn Kalmring in August 2011 at their Penticton home, but maintains she was carrying a knife and he acted in self-defence. His trial, in front of a jury in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna, continued this week after a one-month break.

On the witness stand Thursday, Wiens said the pair arrived home from a motorcycle ride around 5 p.m. the day before the shooting.

They drank alcohol, ate dinner, then played Nintendo Wii video games. He said the two often made bets of a sexual nature on the games.

He lost the bet that night, and when he went to bed around 10:40 p.m., found sex toys on his pillow, but moved them aside because he wanted to rest up for a golf game the next day. He said Kalmring became upset when she saw that he was not in the mood to settle the bet.

Wiens said she confronted him a number of times afterwards as he tried to sleep and suggested that he didn’t want to have sex with her because he was no longer attracted to her, and that he wanted to go to work in Grande Prairie to get out of their relationship.

“I said, ‘No, it’s nothing to do with that. I love you. I just need to get some sleep,’” he recalled.

Kalmring, he continued, was drunk and grew increasingly agitated before he told her to go to their spare bedroom, which she did. He then fell asleep, but woke later to her hitting him.

He eventually told her to pack her things and go live with her kids.  At that, “I would say that she snapped,” Wiens said, and after a final expletive-filled tirade, she left again. Wiens said he then armed himself with the handgun he kept in his beside table because he feared for his life.

“She was not Lynn. She was crazy and she’d just assaulted me when I was sound asleep, and I was worried about what was coming next.”

Soon, he said, she re-entered the bedroom with a knife and rushed at him.

“I backed up ... and I lifted up my gun and I shot her,” Wiens said, his voice rising in pitch and growing quieter.

After watching Kalmring collapse onto the floor, he said, he put the gun in its holster on the bed, and walked to the bathroom where he vomited into the toilet. Next, he called 911, got dressed, and went outside to surrender to police.

As he began filling in more details, Wiens wiped his eyes, blew his nose and resumed his normal voice. He also testified the argument that led up to the shooting was the first the couple had ever had.

Under cross-examination by Crown counsellor Colin Forsyth, however, Wiens admitted they’d previously had one other “minor” fight. He explained the “semi-disagreement” happened at a Willie Nelson concert when he dissuaded her from breaking into the singer’s dressing room to flash her breasts.

“That’s the only time we had a disagreement with each other,” Wiens said.

Forsyth then went over the contents of a letter that Wiens wrote to Kalmring early on Jan. 1, 2011, that began, “I don’t take kindly to being told f**k you ... however that’s alright, I can accept it.”

Wiens insisted the letter was not written as a result of an argument, nor did it constitute one.

“She used to say f**k you if I didn’t do the dishes, too. That was just her terminology,” he said.

Forsyth and Wiens also sparred over other small details, including what targets at shooting ranges are meant to depict and the proper use of exclamation marks.

Some of Wiens’ answers drew looks of apparent amusement from a pair of male jurors, who smirked as he spoke, while other members of the 12-person panel took notes.

Earlier in the week, a forensic pathologist testified he believed the knife found in Kalmring’s hand by police was placed there after her death, because she would have dropped it if she’d been holding it when she was shot.

Dr. William Currie also testified that had the knife remained in her hand as she fell to the floor, it wouldn’t have been easily removed from her grasp, as a police officer testified it was.

The trial continues Friday.

 

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