Remembering Clara: Family of slain Kelowna woman and children moving on in wake of killer's guilty plea | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Remembering Clara: Family of slain Kelowna woman and children moving on in wake of killer's guilty plea

Clara Forman are seen in a family photo posted to Facebook.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK
September 13, 2019 - 8:30 AM

KELOWNA - When Jacob Forman is sentenced for the 2017 murders of his wife and two young daughters, the people who knew and loved the small family will finally be able to take a breath and move on— they'll be able to remember who Clara, Karina and Yesenia were, not how they died.

“My personal goal is to help my people move forward,” April Carlson, Clara Forman’s sister said from her home in Portland Ore.

“Some people need to see a headline in the paper and to see the justice system work its way through to believe they are safe, it’s done with and they don’t have to hold on to it anymore. But there are a large number of people who are waiting for us to lean on them. They’re waiting to catch us and hold our hands so they can move forward when we do — I am just waiting to tell them ‘it’s OK now’ and (they can) start to rebuild themselves and feel better about outcomes and time waiting.”

These people have helped keep the family strong as the excruciatingly slow court process unfurled.

Jacob Forman was arrested on Dec. 19, 2017, after the bodies of Clara and their two daughters, Karina, 8, and Yesenia, 7, were found in the garage of their Bolotzky Court home.

In the time since there’s been very little in the way of progress before the courts.

There were calls for reports, delays and lawyer changes to account for. 

READ MORE: Kelowna man charged in murder of daughters, wife says he's 'responsible, not guilty'

The trial itself wasn’t expected to get underway until November, but that was avoided last week when Jacob entered surprise guilty pleas to two counts of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder.

Friends kept Carlson and her family abreast of what was happening throughout, offering support and ultimately the one bright light in an otherwise devastating series of events.

“Clara and the girls brought us together that way,” Carlson said.

“It’s hard to find a silver lining when something horrible like this happens — but if there’s one it’s that we know our girls are loved and remembered beyond our household.”

Faith has also helped guide their way.

Clara and Carlson’s father is a preacher and their mother is always at his side. They loved their daughter and granddaughters, but also Jacob. In the time since he was arrested for the triple murder, he’s sought their counsel and they’ve responded.

“They rely on their faith to tell them what’s right to do and what to feel. In the beginning, there was a feeling of tempered anger, but also from the get-go they were sad to see that this person they learned to love threw his life away and he would never see his wife and children again,” she said.

“He can’t take this back and that’s a lot of punishment… If we were still angry and if we decided to forget what we preach and forget the lifestyles we want to see others live, we would be different people and we wouldn’t recognize ourselves anymore.”

Carlson said she’s proud her parents have “maintained faith and integrity” without a moment of wavering.

They all feel the loss of Clara and her girls every day.

“It’s hard to get through one month without having a significant day they were a major part of,” she said.

“It makes it difficult to get through the day, but also makes you grateful to have these memories to comfort yourself with.”

She will remember Clara for, among other things, her strength and willfulness — she was not weak or a victim.

She was born and raised in the US, completed her education in Mexico and moved to Canada with Jacob when they fell in love and here they started a family.

Nothing about the life she lived foretold of her violent fate. Her sister said it does, however, offer a lesson about how to live.

“The biggest message is we should all learn to care for ourselves as we need to care for ourselves,” Carlson said.

“Caring for each other helps but you have to look inside and make sure you are taking care of yourself. Sometimes that means opening your mouth and saying something — there will always be someone there to listen.”

Jacob’s sentencing hearing will start on Monday, Sept. 16. The Crown is seeking a life sentence with no parole eligibility for at least 35 years.

The defence is looking for eligibility for parole at 25 years. Last week he said that Forman was influenced by alcohol at the time of the killings.

"Alcohol really (had) a devastating effect on this man’s mind according to him," defence lawyer Ray Dieno said. "Whether an expert would agree with that, we are in the process of getting that determined. He was in the process of withdrawal because he was of the view he was not helping his family by being (an) alcoholic. He was consuming excessive amounts, and he tried to withdraw without support or treatment and that led to devastating consequences."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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