Kalen Schlatter told me he ‘lost control’ then strangled Tess Richey with a scarf, jailhouse witness testifies

Kalen Schlatter, left, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tess Richey, right.

Warning: This story contains graphic content and might be upsetting to some readers.

Kalen Schlatter said he “lost control” and fatally choked Tess Richey with a scarf after she refused to have sex with him, a man who shared a jail cell with the accused Toronto killer testified Tuesday.

The identity of the 48-year-old witness — who told the jury “I’m a criminal, I steal s—” and acknowledged his “huge criminal record” of commercial robberies, dangerous driving and breaching court orders dating back to 1992 — is under a publication ban. He can only be identified as E.S.

Testifying at Schlatter’s ongoing first-degree murder trial in downtown Toronto, the man said Schlatter told him he gone into an alley with Richey to have sex with her. But while they were making out in a stairwell, she said she didn’t want to because she was on her period.

Schlatter wanted to keep going because “he was too worked up,” E.S. testified. “He just lost control and he was choking her and he tied a scarf around her neck, she was on the ground. It excited him. He was past the point of no control. He ejaculated on her. Afterwards, when he pulled the scarf off, she was dead.”

E.S. said Schlatter told him he took money from her purse and a chain, then took an Uber part of the way home to avoid being linked from the scene to his home.

E.S. also said Schlatter told him he was high on MDMA and edibles at the time he killed Richey, and had been drinking.

Schlatter, now 23, has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of the 22-year-old aspiring flight attendant. The Crown has shown video of Schlatter and Richey walking into an alley between two houses on Church Street, north of Dundonald Street, at 4:14 a.m. on Nov. 25, 2017. Later video shows Schlatter leaving the alley alone at 5 a.m.

Schlatter’s defence lawyers have suggested that another person could have killed Richey after Schlatter left.

E.S. has testified once before in a preliminary hearing, after he went to the police with information from someone he was in custody with. After he testified in that case, he pleaded guilty to outstanding charges and received a more lenient sentence.

However, E.S. said he had received no consideration or deal for his testimony against Schlatter, and understands that the Crown has said he will not receive any consideration for it in the future.

“Nobody has given me nothing. I am here to help this family and the dead girl, that’s it.”

He said that after Schlatter told him what he’d done, he let it “stew” in his mind.

“I’m a criminal. I don’t like being a rat,” he said. “What changed for me — I understand, certain people, sometimes people need to kill but you don’t kill women and you don’t kill children for no reason at all, especially. And someone who cried himself to sleep every night because they are going to do time and miss their family and mommy but not one time, that whole time we were together, have they any concern or remorse for a dead girl you just met.”

E.S. testified that after a conversation with his lawyer Schlatter became concerned he was a cop — a suggestion that “no offence,” he said, offended him.

He said Schlatter had learned he’d shared a cell previously with two undercover officers.

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“I hope to god you are not a cop. If you are, I’m f—ed,” he said Schlatter told him.

He also said Schlatter was frustrated because police had told him there was security video of him walking into the alley with Richey and leaving alone. Schlatter said he didn’t need to see the video and had admitted it was him, but his lawyer later showed him some still images from the video and he realized it just showed two blurry people, E.S. testified.

He also testified that he and Schlatter brainstormed alibi ideas for him. One was that he could say Richey died by suicide. Another was that someone else came by, robbed her and killed her.

The trial continues.

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