Accused killer Kalen Schlatter faces cross-examination in Tess Richey murder trial

After denying that he sexually assaulted and strangled Tess Richey in the early hours of Nov. 25, 2017, Kalen Schlatter is facing cross-examination by a Crown prosecutor Tuesday morning.

Schlatter, 23, has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of 22-year-old Richey, an aspiring flight attendant who had moved to Toronto from North Bay.

Schlatter testified Monday that it was Richey who first initiated a kiss between them and who led him into the alley between two houses on Church St. where her body was found four days later by her mother and a friend.

Security video shown to the jury by the Crown shows Schlatter and Richey walking into the alley hand-in-hand at 4:14 a.m and Schlatter leaving alone at 5 a.m.

Schlatter said they went to the bottom of a stairwell leading to a basement door, and began to “kiss, make out, and feel each other up,” he said.

Schlatter said he told Richey he had condoms in his pocket if she wanted to have sex, but she declined because she was on her period. He said they continued to make out and he ejaculated in his pants, which embarrassed him.

The jury has heard Schlatter’s semen was found on Richey’s pants and his saliva on her bra.

After this he asked her if she wanted to come home with him, he said.

“She then told me thanks for the offer, I’m fine,” he said. He said he asked if he should stay with her and keep her company, but she said no and pulled out her phone.

“I said OK, have a good evening, get home safe,” he said. They said bye and he left.

“Why did you leave while she is still in the driveway area?” Riva asked.

“She told me to leave,” he said.

Schlatter said he only learned Richey died on Dec. 10, 2017, when a friend told him they saw his picture in the media and sent him a link to a story about the investigation into Richey’s death.

He was arrested on Feb. 4, 2018.

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After his arrest Schlatter was put in police holding cells with two undercover officers posing as recently arrested men. He said he told them he had danced and made out with Richey that night at Crews and Tangos, which was a lie. He bragged about his success with women in order to impress them and to hide his bisexuality which he feared would get him harmed in jail, he testified.

The jury has also heard from Schlatter’s cellmate at the Toronto South Detention Centre, where he was sent after his arrest. The cellmate, who can only be identified as E.S., testified that Schlatter confessed to getting sexually aroused, “losing control” and strangling Richey with a scarf after she wouldn’t have sex with him. He said Schlatter told him he was high on MDMA and edibles, as well as being drunk at the time.

Schlatter denied telling E.S. he killed Richey but he said he did tell E.S. several details about that night and the evidence the police had against him. He denied taking MDMA or edibles that night, though he said he was drunk at the bar.

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