A jury has found a former Mountie guilty of second degree murder of his common law spouse in Penticton.
Keith Wiens was found guilty of the second degree murder in the shooting death of his common law wife Lynn Kalmring. He shot his wife with a 9mm handgun in the head in their Penticton home in August, 2011. The jury has recommended he serves 20 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
Wiens testified that an argument over a bet placed on a video game boiled over to other tensions in the relationship. He said Kalmring was drunk and after he fell asleep he was jarred awake to her hitting him. After a verbal exchange she left the room and Wiens said he armed himself with the handgun because he feared for his life. He said she re-entered the room rushing at him with a knife and he shot her. He told the court that he went to the bathroom vomited and called 911. The jury heard the phone call made to emergency dispatch and Wiens stating it was a “big, huge mistake” and “something got out of hand here tonight.”
Crown counsel Colin Forsyth told the jury from the outset that the issue of whether the knife was in her hand when she was fatally shot would be up to them. Expert witnesses provided evidence following just along those lines with a forensic pathologists testifying he believed the knife found in Kalmring’s hand by RCMP was placed there after her death, because she would have dropped it if she’d been holding it when she was shot. Police officers also noted that the knife was easily removed from her grasp. Defence council provided their own expert testimony that contradicted the scenerio.
Forsyth said in his closing argument on Monday that Wiens testimony of what happened the night Kalmring was shot to death was not plausible and that a man who was a former Mountie would have no reason to be afraid of a women the size of Kalmring.
“It’s been two years and now I hope my sister gets to rest in peace. It’s been horrible,” said Shelly Pertelson, Kalmring’s sister. “We had a great team working with us from the victim service lady to Crown counsel to everybody and I just hope now that Lynn can rest in peace.”
The jury spent six hours deliberating before they came back with their decision just after 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Family of Kalmring said they had a good feeling after everything was turned over for the jury to make their decision.
“My stomach dropped,” said Pertelson, of her reaction to hearing the word guilty. “But relieved, very relieved.”
More on this to follow.