An undercover officer returned to the stand in a Toronto courtroom Thursday morning to recall more details of his conversation with Kalen Schlatter at a police station on the day Schlatter was arrested for the murder of 22-year-old Tess Richey.
The officer, whose name is not being disclosed, first took the stand on Wednesday, recalling comments the 23-year-old accused made following his arrest in February 2018.
The officer said while he, Schlatter, and another undercover officer were in holding cells at a police station, the accused described meeting Richey at a club in Toronto’s gay village in the early morning hours of Nov. 25, 2017, the day she was murdered.
The officer told the court that Schlatter, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, admitted to “making out and grinding” with the victim in a stairwell in a secluded alley.
The officer recalled Schlatter making a comment about ejaculating in his pants while he and Richey were fooling around. He also testified that Schlatter told him he was upset because he wanted to have sex with Richey but she refused.
According to the officer, Schlatter said when he and Richey were finished, he left the alley but she decided to stay behind.
Schlatter, the officer said, claimed Richey was drunk and falling over and wanted to stay at the bottom of the stairs.
Days after she was reported missing, Richey’s lifeless body was found by her mother and a family friend in the exterior stairwell of a house under construction at the corner of Church and Dundonald streets.
Richey’s cause of death was later determined to be “neck compression” and Crown prosecutor Beverley Richards previously told the court that Schlatter’s DNA was found on Richey’s pants and bra.
On Thursday, the undercover officer wrapped up his testimony, telling the jury that during his chat with the accused, Schlatter became concerned that others could hear them talking. He said this prompted Schlatter to ask the officer to lower his voice.
He said he reassured the accused that no one was listening to their conversation and told Schlatter that he would not disclose anything they discussed to anyone.
The officer said at one point while he was housed in the holding cell next to Schlatter, he was taken to another room to quickly jot down notes about his conversation with the accused.
He said he took formal notes about the conversation after a briefing a few hours later.
The trial will resume on Friday morning.
-With files from The Canadian Press