AFTERMATH OF MURDER
Victim’s family demands changes to bail system
"It makes me feel sick because I don't know why he gets so much media coverage … It's like you have a scab on a wound, and every time something like this comes up it sort of gets picked off a little bit and bleeds a little bit. It doesn't go away, it's just there." — Donna Irwin
The last time anyone in Lynn Kalmring's family heard from her was a desperate phone call about her fiance being drunk and trying to start a fight.
The call was placed Aug. 16, 2011 to one of her sisters, who told Kalmring to avoid Keith Wiens — a retired Okanagan Mountie — that night, and that she would call again in the morning.
That call was never answered because Kalmring was dead, according to her other sister, Donna Irwin, during a soul-baring interview for a video series called Aftermath of Murder: Survivor Stories, released to coincide with National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, April 6-12.
Irwin said her sister was likely ending the relationship when she was murdered.
"She walked back into the master bedroom, I believe, to get her pajamas and he was waiting there for her," Irwin said. "As she walked in the bedroom door he shot her in the face."
Wiens was convicted of second-degree murder in 2013, but is appealing his conviction and sentence.
Irwin said the healing process has been difficult for the family, starting with the pain caused by their experience with the court system.
During the trial, her family saw photos of the crime scene they "shouldn't" have seen.
"It was really hard on our family to see my beautiful sister and all that was left of her was this crime scene of her laying in this pool of blood and him trying to say that it was self-defence," Irwin said.
During the trial, Irwin felt picked on by the judge because he asked her to leave because she was sobbing.
And before the trial, Irwin believed that Wiens was released on bail too easily.
Kalmring’s family decided to take action, setting up a website (justiceforlynn.webs.com) and compiling a petition demanding changes to the court system, such as stricter bail requirements for violent crimes and giving victims a voice in the bail process.
“All we can do is just get through it,” said Irwin.
If you or someone you know has been affected by homicide go to the B.C. Victims of Homicide website at www.BCVOH.com for resources and information on support groups.
Aftermath of Murder Survivor Stories is produced by Brent Stafford, Shaky Egg Communications Inc. and 24hrs Vancouver columnist.