Marie Van Diest (right), her brother, Paul Albert, and daughter Kirstie, leave the Vernon Law Courts during the lunch break of a sentencing hearing for Matthew Foerster who killed Marie’s daughter, Taylor Van Diest, in 2011 in Armstrong (Pete McIntyre/Beach Radio News photo)
A North Okanagan murderer will find out his fate Tuesday.
Justice Brenda Brown will announce her decision on Matthew Foerster’s sentence at 11 am Tuesday in BC Supreme Court in Vernon.
A sentencing hearing was held Monday for Foerster who plead guilty in March to the second degree murder of 18 year old Taylor Van Diest in Armstrong seven years ago.
Foerster apologized to the Van Diest family in court, reading out a note that he was “sorry to take away their loved one” and “regrets it everyday,” but Taylor’s mother Marie Van Diest, says it rang hollow.
“I think so. I don’t think there isn’t any remorse there. I do believe the only thing he is sorry for is that he got caught,” Van Diest told Beach Radio and other media outside the court house.
The Crown and defence are both recommending a prison sentence of at least 17 years before parole eligibility.
“He is still guilty of first degree as far as we are concerned. Just the fact that he won an appeal through a mere technicality, to me, is a farce, and I think the justice system really needs to revamp,” said Van Diest, who is relieved everyone didn’t have to go through another trial due to Foerster’s guilty plea to the lesser charge.
The lawyer for a convicted North Okanagan killer says his client was in a haze of drug and alcohol use at the time he killed an 18 year old woman in Armstrong.
32 year old Matthew Foerster is being sentenced for the killing of Taylor Van Diest on Halloween night 2011.
Foerster has plead guilty to second degree murder.
The Crown and defence are jointly recommending Foerster serve 17 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
The final decision n that is up to Madam Justice Brenda Brown is is presiding over the BC Supreme Court hearing which is scheduled for three days.
“She was severely and brutally beaten, ” said Crown counsel Chris McPherson. “There was at least six injuries and multiple fractures to her skull.”
Dorianne Kohl, a friend of the victim’s family, says the impact of the crime is still being felt in the community today.
“It’s been seven years, but when an incident like that happens, it affects you in such a profound way that,do we ever really heal from that? Do we ever really recover?”
Kohl said in her victim impact statement, the murder shocked the community.
“It was horrendous. There is no other word to describe it. It affected all of us, and as I said in my impact statement, we lost our innocence as a community,” Kohl told the media.
Defence Lawyer Ken Beatch says Foerster was seeking sex from Van Diest that night, and when she started to scream, he panicked and beat her with a flashlight.
“The assault happened to get her to stop screaming,” Beatch told the court, adding Foerster started drinking beer at home at noon that day, followed by vodka, marijuana and magic mushrooms.
He then drove to Vernon, and “wandered around aimlessly” before driving to Armstrong around 5:30 Halloween.
“He was drunk and stoned, just driving around,” said his lawyer.
“He parked his vehicle in an attempt to sober up, saw Ms. Van Diest, who was walking towards him, they had small talk, and she said she was gong to a party.”
Beatch says Van Diest was not interested in Foerster who followed her to the train tracks and propositioned her for consensual sex.
The lawyer says at this point, Van Diest started to scream and “in his state of intoxication, Foerster panicked and assaulted the woman, hitting her on the head with a Mag light flashlight.
She died several hours later in Kelowna hospital of blunt force trauma injuries to the back of her head.
About a dozen members of the Van Diest family and friends are in the courtroom for the hearing, along with Foerster’s mother and father.