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‘I will miss everything about her,’ Tess Richey’s mother says as killer is sentenced to life in prison

TORONTO
The mother of murdered Toronto woman Tess Richey says the man who killed her “kind” and “generous” daughter knew exactly what he was taking from the world when he ended her life.

“You would get to spend 10 minutes with Tess and you would know what a beautiful, loving being she is. He got to spend the last two hours with Tess… and he knew what he took,” Richey’s mother Christine Hermeston said outside the courthouse following 23-year-old Kalen Schlatter’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

“Sadly Tess had to give up her life to catch a monster, but we got the monster.”

Schlatter, who has been sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for 25 years in the 2017 murder, listened to a series of emotional victim impact statements by Richey’s loved ones inside a Toronto courtroom on Wednesday.

A tearful statement was delivered by Hermeston, who was the one to discover her daughter’s body abandoned in an outdoor stairwell of a building under renovation in the city’s Church-Wellesley Village on Nov. 29, 2017, four days after Richey was killed.

Richey’s mother described her daughter as a “kind,” “generous,” and “giving” person who had an “old soul.”

“I will miss our long walks. I will miss her sense of humour. I will miss everything about her,” Richey’s mother told the court. “I will never be the same.”

The Crown previously told the court that Schlatter sexually assaulted and strangled Richey in the early morning hours of Nov. 25, 2017.

Prosecutors said Schlatter murdered Richey and left her body in an outdoor stairwell after she refused to have sex with him.

Schlatter’s semen and saliva were found on her clothing and he was the last person seen with Richey on the morning she disappeared.

During his trial, Schlatter testified that his sexual encounter with Richey was consensual and the victim was alive when he left her in the stairwell that morning.

But one of Schlatter’s former cellmates refuted that assertion during testimony he provide to the court.

The cellmate said Schlatter confided in him about the murder and admitted to choking Richey to death with a scarf before ejaculating on her body.

He also said Schlatter told him he stole a necklace from Richey after killing her and took money from her purse for a cab ride home.

On Monday, after three days of deliberations, jurors found Schlatter guilty of first-degree murder.

Justice Michael Dambrot, who presided over the seven-week trial, described Schlatter as a young man with an appetite for rough sex who preyed on women.

He told the court that Schlatter shed no tears for Richey’s loss and deserved the sentence he was given.

Speaking after the sentencing on Wednesday, Varina Richey, one of the victim’s four sisters, said her family has experienced a “horrifying ordeal” over the last three years.

“I wouldn’t wish this on any family. From start to finish…it has just been a really exhausting and long process. It is nice to finally put it behind us but it feels in a way like we are putting Tess behind us too,” she said.

“I’m just glad that he is off the streets now too and nobody else can be hurt by him again.”