Tears of relief flowed outside a Kelowna courtroom Thursday, after the accused killer of an Armstrong teen was denied bail .
“I’m satisfied with the judge’s decision,” said Marie Van Diest, mother of Taylor Van Diest, who was killed in Halloween 2011.
“I hoped and prayed that was the way it would go. I’m walking out of here with a smile today.”
Today was one of the first times she, Taylor’s twin sister Kirstie, and a half dozen other family and friends had to face accused killer Matthew Stephen Foerster, 26.
The Cherryville man appeared in Kelowna Supreme Court in shackles to have his bail and change of venue application heard.
As part of that process, details of the case, which are subject to a publication ban, were laid out for the judge and courtroom.
“I was a little nauseous for a bit,” said Marie, on whether she had concerns Foerster would be released throughout the daylong proceeding.
“But I couldn’t imagine a man like that being released from his cage. It’s where he belongs.”
In addition to failing to make bail, justice Alison Beames announced that the trial would be held in Kelowna, despite a change of venue application from Foerster’s Vancouver-based lawyer, Don Morrison.
Morrison argued that the trial should be moved to Vancouver because other options didn’t offer a large enough population for an unbiased jury.
Crown countered by explaining the Van Diest murder was covered by both provincial and national news organizations, and Beames seemed to agree.
No date has been fixed for a trial, which is expected to last six weeks.
Foerster, 26, was arrested in Collingwood Ont. five months after the death of van Diest.
Friends and family had found the 18-year-old on Halloween night 2011, beaten by the railroad tracks that go through the small North Okanagan town.
She later died in hospital of head injuries.
The other two charges are from more than five years ago.
Foerster is accused of attacking a sex-trade worker at the Garden of Eden Escort Agency in Kelowna in April 2005. From that he faces charges of sexual assault with a weapon and confinement.
Additionally, he’s charged in connection with a home invasion in Cherryville in late 2004. In that case, Foerster is accused of wearing a mask when he broke into a 19-year-old woman’s bedroom as she slept. He’s charged with assault causing bodily harm and unlawful confinement.
He’s elected to have a jury free trial for those matters.