March 25, 2014 - 4:55 PM
VERNON - It’s now an accepted fact that Matthew Foerster killed Armstrong teen Taylor Van Diest. His DNA was found under her fingernails, and that her DNA was found in his truck, a Supreme Court jury was told today.
His lawyer Lisa Helps admitted it all during day two of Foerster’s first degree murder trial. In the first admission filed by the Crown, Helps admitted Foerster dealt 18-year-old Van Diest fatal injuries on Oct. 31 in Armstrong.
In October 2011, Foerster owned and operated a Ford F150 truck. He sold it after the incident Halloween night, but police tracked down the new owner several months later and found blood stains with Van Diest's DNA. Supreme Court Justice Peter Rogers said these are facts the Crown doesn't need to prove.
In short—Foerster is guilty of causing her death. The trial will likely now concern more technical details of the charge. To prove first degree murder, the Crown must demonstrate Foerster’s actions were planned and deliberate, or that the murder occurred while he was committing one of six specified offences, including sexual assault. Doubt on those points could lead to a finding of second-degree murder or manslaughter.
Crown witness Cpl. Trevor Cook, an officer with Vernon’s forensic identification unit, testified today he visited the scene the morning after Van Diest was found and led the court though 55 photographs and a video of the scene. He also showed the court images of a truck he was asked to examine for forensic evidence six months later.
Cook said Van Diest was found at the beginning of a path connecting Douglas Ave. with Pleasant Valley Road along a rail bed. There, he found a black jacket with a red plaid lining and white fur collar, a shoe and jackets that had been placed over Van Diest when she was found.
Cook said red stains consistent with blood were splattered around the crime scene on rocks and vegetation. More blood was on a metal pipe witnesses said Van Diest’s head was on when they found her. Cook said the pipe was an item of interest because of what he’d been told about the victim’s injuries. Monday, a paramedic testified that the pipe was a “red herring” and had nothing to do with her injuries.
On April 11, 2012, Cook was called to examine a black Ford F150. In the truck was a tool box and some drinking containers. Using a chemical test that reveals dried blood stains, Cook recorded several areas that glowed when in contact with the blood reagent. He swabbed the stains for DNA testing. A stained seat cover on the driver’s seat was sent to the lab.
Under cross examination with Helps, Cook said he also attended Van Diest’s autopsy, to look for evidence. He admitted he didn’t find anything of interest—no hairs, fibers, bodily fluids or fingerprints. Helps also asked if Cook found a hand or boot print at the scene. He said he hadn't.
Under reexamination with the Crown, Cook said given the rocky terrain it would have been difficult to find prints on the ground.
Several items were entered as court exhibits during Const. Matthew Catton’s testimony, including a tan jacket Van Diest was wearing the night of the attack, her LG cell phone, her white lace bra and a shoe. A mickey of Smirnoff vodka found on the scene Nov. 2 was also entered as an exhibit. The bottle wasn’t sent for finger printing until last week when it was shown before lawyers, Helps said. Catton also testified that tubing and a piece of rope were found near the crime scene.
To contact the reporter for this story email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-309-5230.
—This story, including the headline, was edited at 4:37 p.m. to include information from the afternoon court session.
Foerster's DNA under victim's fingernails: Crown - Infotel News
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