September 19, 2014 - 10:31 AM
ARMSTRONG - The man convicted of brutally killing an Armstrong teen is appealing his first degree murder verdict.
A jury found Matthew Foerster, 28, guilty of murdering Taylor Van Diest, 18, in April of this year. The verdict carries an automatic life sentence, with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.
But a notice of appeal filed Sept. 3 means Foerster is trying to fight the verdict. Crown lawyer Iain Currie, who prosecuted Foerster in a two-week murder trial in Kelowna Supreme Court, says the appeal is still in the early stages and couldn’t comment any further. The next step will be for Foerster to order transcripts of the entire trial.
Crown spokesperson Gordon Comer says lawyer Roger Thirkell of Abbotsford has taken on Foerster's defence. The notice states the judge erred in his instructions to the jury on intent, intoxication, and the offense of attempted sexual assault as an element of first degree murder. Comer says the admissibility of certain evidence has also been called into question.
Just because he filed the appeal does not necessarily mean it will be heard. A hearing will determine if the case will be granted leave to appeal.
Much of Foerster’s role in Van Diest’s death was not disputed during court proceedings; his lawyer Lisa Jean Helps admitted key evidence, including that he killed Van Diest, his DNA was found under her fingernails and her DNA was discovered in his truck. It was the nature of the murder Currie, and partner Frank Caputo, had to prove. To demonstrate Foerster committed first degree murder, the Crown had to prove Foerster’s actions were planned and deliberate, or that he killed her while sexually assaulting her, or attempting to do so.
The jury of seven men and five women concluded Foerster went to Armstrong looking for sex, that he waited in a dark pathway, and chose Van Diest as his victim. When she screamed and fought back, he killed her.
Van Diest’s parents and twin sister attended every day of the trial and expressed immense relief when Foerster was found guilty.
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FOERSTER TRIAL: The night Taylor Van Diest was killed
FOERSTER TRIAL: “Taylor Van Diest caught her own killer"
FOERSTER TRIAL: Jury sent home while lawyers discuss case
FOERSTER TRIAL: Emergency doctor describes the night he treated Van Diest
FOERSTER TRIAL: Accused explains how he killed her
FOERSTER TRIAL: "I've made some mistakes"
FOERSTER TRIAL: Court sees video of police interview with accused
FOERSTER TRIAL: Tearful testimony from Van Diest's friend
FOERSTER TRIAL: Van Diest fought back
FOERSTER TRIAL: Foerster admits to killing Armstrong teen
FOERSTER TRIAL: Foerster's DNA under victim's fingernails: Crown
—This story was edited at 3:15 p.m. Sept. 19 to include information from Crown spokesperson Gordon Comer.
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