Keith Wiens says the judge who sentenced him was wrong and he wants less time behind bars before he's eligible for parole.
The former Mountie from Summerland is appealing his murder conviction and his sentence. Wiens has filed court documents stating the 13-year parole restriction is excessive, given his unblemished past, and that Justice Geoff Barrow failed to give proper weight to certain trial evidence.
A B.C. Supreme Court jury that heard the case in Kelowna convicted the 57-year-old in July of the second-degree murder of Lynn Kalmring, his common-law wife. Barrow ordered him to spend at least 13 years in prison before he can apply for parole.
The jury deliberated just four hours before reaching its verdict. The panel recommended Wiens spend at least 20 years in prison before parole eligibility. The Crown requested a 15-year minimum and the defence wanted 10 to 12 years.
The minimum before parole eligibility for second-degree murder is 10 years.
Wiens testified he shot Kalmring in self-defence when she lunged at him with a knife during an argument in their Penticton bedroom in August 2011. Barrow ruled the slaying was impulsive, senseless and alcohol-fuelled, prompted by an increasingly bitter eight-month battle over finances.
Kalmring phoned her sister Shelley Peretelson minutes before Wiens shot her in the face. The couple had been arguing over her lack of employment, she said, and he was being an "ass--."
Twenty minutes later, Wiens phoned 911 to report he'd shot his wife. Police found her body lying on the floor. A long kitchen knife was in her dominant left hand.
The Crown argued Wiens moved her body and planted the knife to make it look like he was defending himself. A blood-spatter expert supported the theory and a pathologist testified the shot would have short-circuited her brain so she would have dropped the knife if she'd held it.
Eight months earlier, Wiens wrote her an expletive-laced letter complaining about her lack of financial contributions to the couple's homes in Penticton and Arizona.
Encounters with Kalmring's relatives in the weeks prior to the shooting showed a "simmering resentment" over her failure to pay a fair share, the judge said. Minutes before she died, Kalmring told her sister she threw her ring and cash at Wiens because money was more important to him.
The B.C. Court of Appeal is expected to hear the appeal of the conviction by next August. If the court dismisses the appeal, lawyers will argue the sentence afterward. If the conviction is overturned, Wiens will face a new trial for second-degree murder in another city.
- With files from The Canadian Press