A B.C. woman who fended off a bizarre home intrusion scenario is stunned that the knife-wielding felon is allowed back into the community.
Two years ago, the small town of Osoyoos made national headlines when Sharon Forner, while wearing a wig and kitchen gloves and armed with a butcher knife, entered the home of Katherine Rinas on Aug. 18, 2018.
At home with a newborn baby and a four-year-old, Rinas pushed Forner out, then called 911. Home security video of the incident went viral.
Forner later pleaded guilty and was given a 40-month custodial sentence plus three years of probation.
Forner’s probation order included a clause banning her from being within 50 km of Osoyoos, unless she had the written permission of a probation officer or was accompanied by a peace officer to retrieve her belongings.
That clause, however, was later overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal, which called the condition unreasonable.
In a decision on April 7, 2020, B.C. Court of Appeal Justices Dickson, Abrioux and Grauer said the trial judge erred in sentencing and failed to take into account Forner’s “addiction and mental health issues on her moral culpability, as well as the absence of any history of violent acts.”
Forner’s sentence was also reduced to 20 months.
Still, Forner is not allowed to go near Rinas or her family’s home, work or school. The appeal court ruling claims the non-contact condition adequately provides for the victim’s safety and security.
Rinas doesn’t feel the same way and says neighbours have told her that Forner has been spotted nearby.
“The principle of it is that she’s back and she’s allowed to be here,” said Rinas, who wants to see the banishment reinstated and for probation officers to keep a closer eye on Forner.
“I’ve been crying for the past few days since I’ve been notified that she’s back,” said Rinas. “I don’t want to leave my house, I don’t want to send my girls to school because I’m not there.”
To understand Rinas’ concerns, she told Global News on Thursday what happened that fateful day.
Rinas said it was 8:30 a.m., when she heard a knock on her door.
After checking her security camera through her phone, she realized it was a stranger, so she didn’t open the door. However, the door was unlocked and, after more knocking, Forner let herself in.
“And then all of a sudden, my door opens and she pops her head and says, I just want to see your baby,” said Rinas.
“When she opened the door, like I’m pretty sure I said ‘What are you doing?’ or something along those lines. And she said ‘I just wanted to see your baby.’”
Rinas said Forner left, but quickly returned before she could lock the door.
“And as I’m going to lock the door, the door just swings wide open into my face. And this lady’s running at me with like a butcher knife aimed above her head aimed at my face, coming at me,” said Rinas.
“So I grabbed her and I threw her outside as I’m screaming some something.”
Rinas said the incident traumatized her, adding “I’m so heightened all the time.”
Under her probation conditions, Forner has to follow a curfew and live at a home approved by the probation officer, although it’s not clear where that is.
BC Corrections says it can’t speak to individual cases, but that staff do monitor adherence to court-ordered conditions and work closely with local law enforcement as necessary.