An appeal by Keith Wiens, who was convicted of murdering his wife in their Penticton home in 2011, was denied.
“It is a huge relief,” said Brandy Cummings, daughter of the slain woman, Lynn Kalmring. “I can’t tell you how long I have been holding my breath. It is the first time I can really breathe since my mom died. It is everyone’s right to appeal, but to think it could have gone to a re-trial is just crazy. That was graphic stuff in the court room and I don’t think anyone needs to see that, or that I could even sit through it again.”
Wiens, a retired RCMP officer, was found guilty by a jury of the second degree murder of his common law wife Kalmring. He shot his wife with a 9mm handgun in the head and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years. Weeks after being found guilty in July 2013, he gave his notice of appeal on the conviction on a number of grounds.
During the trial Wiens testified that an argument over a bet placed on a video game boiled over to other tensions in the relationship, including finances. He claimed Kalmring was drunk and after he fell asleep he was jarred awake to her hitting him.
Wiens said he armed himself with a handgun because he feared for his life and later when she rushed at him with a knife that is when he shot her.
At trial, Crown counsel suggested Wiens placed the knife in her hand after he killed her to strengthen his side of the events that he was under attack.
Expert witnesses for the Crown supported the suggestion by giving evidence that the knife found in Kalmring’s hand was placed there after her death.
In the reasons for judgement on the appeal, Justice David Frankel said Wiens argued evidence of Kalmring’s peaceful disposition was improperly admitted at trial, and in the alternative, that the jury was improperly instructed with respect to the use of that evidence. As well, Wiens appealed the trial judge incorrectly ruled evidence given on police firearms training by an expert appearing for the defence was inadmissible.
Justice Frankel said evidence was properly admitted on Kalmring’s peaceful disposition and the firearms training evidence was properly ruled inadmissible.
Despite crying “happy tears” on Tuesday morning when given notice the appeal was denied, Cummings said her family still has more to face.
A legal battle with Wiens is being fought in civil court and she is still waiting to get personal effects of Kalmring’s back.
“There are things I would love to get back that were held in evidence like my mom’s ring. There were items that were my moms and have sentimental value to me that were all considered to be evidence and have been held since the appeal was put forward,” said Cummings.
Other members of Kalmring’s family, including her sister Donna Irwin, said for now they will take the relief of knowing that Wiens next step could only be an appeal with the Supreme Court.
“Lynn would be dancing right now,” Irwin told the Western News. “There is such a relief that he will be staying where he is now, in prison.”