Appeal in Van Diest murder conviction to be heard Friday
ARMSTRONG, B.C. – Taylor Van Diest’s would have celebrated her 23rd birthday this Saturday, June 11. But instead of remembering her short life in painful silence, the Van Diest family is about to be dragged back into the gruesome details of her murder.
The 18-year-old was killed on Halloween night in 2011 as she walked through town on the railway.
The man who was found guilty of murdering her and sentenced to 25 years in prison, Matthew Foerster, will have his appeal heard Friday, June 10 in Vancouver at the B.C. Court of Appeals.
Foerster’s legal-aid lawyer asserts the judge made mistakes in his instructions to the jury around intoxication and on the attempted sexual assault as an element of first-degree murder.
Taylor’s mother, Marie Van Diest, told Global News they’re about to relive the horror of their daughter’s death all over again.
The Van Diest family will be at B.C. Supreme Court in Vernon, Friday to watch the appeal arguments that will be seen via video link in a courtroom that is open to the public.
“I won’t let people forget what he did to my daughter,’ said Van Diest.
Van Diest said she spent the day, Thursday, cleaning up the path dedicated to her daughter’s memory.
Foerster, now 30, was found guilty of first-degree murder in April 2014. Crown argued he also had the intention of raping her when he stalked her down the train tracks.
The trial judge instructed the jury that a killing committed during a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault is considered first-degree murder.
The appeal hearing begins at 10 a.m.