ABOVE: The jury took less than a day to find Matthew Foerster guilty of first degree murder, two and a half years after he attacked Taylor Halloween night. Brian Coxford reports.
Matthew Foerster has been found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Armstrong teenager Taylor Van Diest.
He has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Foerster, 28, was charged with first degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Van Diest. She was savagely beaten on Halloween night three years ago, and died in hospital the next day. She was dressed as a zombie and was walking to meet up with friends when she was attacked.
Foerster had already admitted to savagely beating Van Diest, however the question of whether or not Foerster intended to kill the teen was put to the jury yesterday afternoon, after two weeks of testimony.
Defence lawyers had said a manslaughter conviction would be more appropriate.
The jury had to come to a unanimous decision and they took about eight hours on Friday and three hours on Saturday to deliberate.
Taylor’s mom, Marie, came out of court smiling with Taylor’s twin sister, Kirstie, and said this verdict was the best the family could hope for.
“It’s done, the verdict was in, first-degree, some pretty teary jurors as well, smiling jurors,” she said. “I think they basically have felt the emotions that we have felt throughout and we thank them all very much for that.”
She said the wait was difficult, but worth it.
“It will never bring her back but at least now no other girl will meet the same fate that she met, and we’re just happy that that animal is going to be off the streets for a very long time. Not long enough for me, but it will suffice for now.”