When Matthew Foerster’s interrogation video with police came to an end on Monday, the jury had heard him tell officers he hit Taylor Van Diest over the head with a flashlight and choked her with a shoelace.
Foerster is currently on trial for first-degree murder in the death of the 18-year-old girl. She was found in some bushes alongside railroad tracks in Armstrong on Halloween night 2011. The court had already heard testimony from a pathologist, whose report stated Van Diest died from blunt force trauma to the head.
The jury in the case, made up of seven women and five men, have spent the past three days watching a lengthy video of the interrogation, in which Foerster shows plenty of emotion as he quietly answers questions about the crime, helped along by careful prodding by a police interview team.
Now 28-years-old, Foerster has not changed his facial expressions much as the trial enters its second week, and apart from periodically wincing at the video of himself taken almost two years ago at the Kelowna RCMP detachment, he has been silent.
At one point Foerster’s half-brother shows up, imploring Matthew to get help and peace of mind by doing the right thing.
“Whatever happened hasn’t just hurt our family, but other people too,” he says.
“What you can do is get some peace of mind, you know what I mean?”
He also alludes to knowing about some sort of urges that Foerster had been experiencing, saying he should have listened earlier and that Matthew, “can’t control this anymore. You’re going to hurt more girls.”
At this point Foerster is heard letting out a loud drawn out sigh in the video, and then begins answering more questions from police.
He tells Sgt. Mark Davidson that he came across Van Diest while walking around town on Oct. 31 and talked to her for a few minutes.
“I talked to her for what seemed like a few minutes. And then I pushed her down and I just told her to keep quiet and she wouldn’t listen. I freaked out and I took off. I was scared when I realized what I had done. I shouldn’t have never been there,” says Foerster.
“I feel terrible about how everything worked out since then. I wish I could change it, turn back time; but I can’t. I felt really bad for her and her family. How everything worked out. If I could, I’d take it all back.”
He goes on to tell Davidson that he hit Taylor with a flashlight. Although he can’t remember how many times he hit her, Foerster agrees it was more than once.
Davidson then asks what else happened to Taylor and Foerster replies that he choked her with his hands and also used a shoelace.
“I just meant to keep her quiet. I didn’t want it to happen like this.”
Afterwards, Foerster says he discarded the flashlight and shoelace into a dumpster near a liquor store in Vernon, in addition to the black coat he was wearing at the time.
He contends that he never intended to kill Taylor, and simply approached her for sex, but things got out of hand.
“I feel like I’m a good person, I just messed up. And sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing until later,” Foerster told police.
“I know I have a problem, but spending years in jail is not going to help.”
He has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, but admissions put before the court by his defence counsel admit that he did cause the injuries which ultimately led to her death.
Foerster’s defence counsel is expected to start presenting their case on Tuesday.