Matthew Foerster spent his first weekend behind bars in one of the sparsest jails in the province.
The man charged with the second-degree murder of Taylor Van Diest was booked into the Kelowna RCMP’s cell block on Friday evening after police transported him from Ontario. He waited more than three days before he appeared in ankle shackles in a Kelowna courtroom Tuesday morning.
Despite the lack of amenities — no reading material, exercise or TV — the 26-year-old Cherryville man looked thinner and healthier than the image of him police distributed after his arrest last Wednesday. Clean-shaven and with short, dark hair, Foerster stood straight with arms by his side wearing a grey T-shirt in the prisoner’s dock. Two sheriffs were in the courtroom while two more waited outside.
The court appearance was Foerster’s first since prosecutors approved charges alleging that he killed Van Diest in Armstrong on Halloween and committed two violent assaults on women in 2004 and 2005. When Judge Anne Wallace read aloud each charge and asked him if he understood, he softly answered yes each time.
Foerster’s case was adjourned to May 10, when he’ll appear in a Kelowna court by video from Kamloops jail. He’s detained unless he makes bail in a separate hearing in B.C. Supreme Court.
Darren Kautz, a Vernon lawyer, is representing Foerster, but asked a Kelowna lawyer to appear as his agent. Kautz couldn’t be reached by phone Tuesday.
Taylor was walking to a friend’s place when she sent a phone text saying “I’m being creeped.” The 18-year-old was attacked near an unlit section of railway tracks and later died in hospital of head injuries.
Police also charged Foerster in an attack on a sex-trade worker at the Garden of Eden Escort Agency in downtown Kelowna in April 2005. He’s charged with sexual assault with a weapon and confinement.
He’s also charged in connection with a home invasion in Cherryville in late 2004. He’s 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.
Police arrested Foerster in Collingwood, Ont., last week.
His father Stephen Roy Foerster, who lives in Cherryville, is charged with obstruction and being an accessory to murder in Taylor’s case. He’s being held at Kamloops jail and appears in court by video today.