UPDATE: Family calls Foerster plea bargain "disappointing" - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Family calls Foerster plea bargain "disappointing"

Taylor Van Diest, 18, was killed Halloween night 2011 while walking to meet her friends.
Image Credit: Facebook
March 01, 2018 - 10:35 AM

VERNON - There will be no re-trial for the man previously convicted of first degree murder in the killing of Armstrong teen Taylor Van Diest.

Matthew Foerster is expected to enter a guilty plea later this month in Vernon, according to court documents. A report from Global News states Foerster is expected to plead guilty to the lesser charge of second degree murder, amounting to a plea deal for a more lenient sentence. Taylor’s mother, Marie Van Diest, confirmed to iNFOnews.ca Thursday afternoon that Crown counsel had informed her a plea bargain for second degree murder was accepted.

While both first degree and second degree murder carry a sentence of life imprisonment, parole eligibility typically comes sooner for offenders convicted of second degree.

“It’s disappointing of course because we all know he is definitely guilty of first degree,” Van Diest says. “When you have a coward that can just hide behind the justice system and prevail it’s very frustrating.”

She admits there is some relief around not having to go through another trial, plus the fact that he won’t be able to appeal the verdict.

“I’m trying to convince myself this is the best outcome,” she says of the guilty plea. 

Foerster is expected to enter a guilty plea on March 12 in Vernon court, after which a date would be set for sentencing.

“I’d love to see as many people as possible attend the sentencing,” Van Diest says. “Showing up in numbers, there’s strength in that.”

Foerster was convicted of first degree murder in 2014, a verdict that could only be reached if the jury found that he killed Van Diest while sexually assaulting her, or trying to. Foerster admitted to causing the 18-year-old’s death, but the question of sexual assault was the difference between first degree murder and a lesser charge.

Matthew Foerster
Matthew Foerster
Image Credit: SOURCE/ RCMP

The Court of Appeal granted Foerster a new trial in 2017 on the basis of two legal errors made by the trial judge. That trial was set to begin in May, however it will not go ahead in light of Foerster’s intended guilty plea.

Dan McLaughlin, spokesperson for the B.C. Prosecution Service, would not speak about the development.

“I am unable to comment or provide further detail as the matter is currently before the courts,” McLaughlin said.

Foerster is scheduled to enter his guilty plea March 12 in Vernon court. 

— This story was updated at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 1, 2018 to add comments from Marie Van Diest.

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