Judicial pre-trial for man accused of killing Tess Richey set for January 17th

The judicial pre-trial for the man accused of killing 22-year-old Tess Richey late last year has been scheduled for January 17th, 2019. 

Kalen Schlatter, now 22, is charged with the first-degree murder of Richey, who disappeared after a night out in Toronto's Church-Wellesley neighbourhood on November 25th, 2017. 

Four days later, her mother who had travelled from North Bay to help find her, discovered her body in an exterior stairwell of a building close to where she was last seen. 

Schlatter was originally charged with second-degree murder in February, but that charge was upgraded to first-degree in March, based on new evidence. 

In Monday's brief court appearance to set the pre-trial, supporters of both sides attended.

Schlatter walked into court in a blue suit and a buttoned white shirt, showing no emotion and looking downward.

When he walked in, a woman at the back of the courtroom stood up and smiled at him, followed by a court officer telling her to sit down. 

On the other side at the back of the room was one of the victim's sisters, who after speaking with the Crown about the proceedings, left the courthouse declining to comment. 

A judicial pre-trial involves the defence, Crown, police and judge meeting to discuss the case.

In August, Schatter's request for bail was denied. 

Toronto Police have said the accused and the victim did not know each other before the night she disappeared, claiming they met on the street after she and a friend left a bar. 

However, police have also faced criticism for the handling of the case and two officers were charged under the Police Service Act in June, accused of failing to properly search for Richey when she was first reported missing. 

Toronto Police have also faced criticism for missing persons in connection to the case of accused Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur. 

McArthur's trial has been set to begin January 6th, 2020, one of two major trials scheduled for that year. 

The suspect in Toronto's van attack, Alek Minassian, is scheduled to start February 3rd and both trials are slated to last up to four months. 

As for Schlatter, the Crown said it was too early to discuss a potential date for a possible trial.