Marie Van Diest (left) comforts her daughter

Marie Van Diest (left) comforts her daughter

Accused killer of Armstrong teen denied bail

Judge denies Matthew Foerster change of venue application for his trial for the murder of Taylor Van Diest, which will be held in Kelowna.

The accused killer of an Armstrong teenager will be tried in Kelowna and will remain in custody until his trial starts.

Matthew Stephen Foerster, 26, who is charged with Taylor Van Diest’s Oct. 31, 2011 murder, appeared in Kelowna Supreme Court Thursday where, late in the afternoon, Judge Alison Beames announced the decision to hold his trial in Kelowna, despite a change of venue application from Foerster’s Vancouver-based lawyer, Don Morrison.

Morrison argued that the trial should be moved to Vancouver because Crown’s options of Kelowna or Kamloops didn’t offer a large enough population for an unbiased jury. Crown countered by explaining the Van Diest murder was covered by both provincial and national news organizations.

The Cherryville suspect was also denied bail.

Both pieces of news brought tears of relief, smiles and hugs to Van Diest’s family, who attended the court proceedings.

“I’m satisfied with the judge’s decision,” said Marie Van Diest, Taylor’s mother. “I was hoping and praying it would go this way. I’m walking out of court with a smile on my face today.”

No date has been fixed for a trial, which is expected to last six weeks.

Foerster, of Cherryville, was arrested in Collingwood, Ont. five months after the death of Van Diest.

He is facing charges from two other incidents from more than five years ago.

Foerster is accused of attacking a sex-trade worker in Kelowna in April 2005. From that he faces charges of sexual assault with a weapon and confinement.

He’s also charged in connection with a home invasion in Cherryville in late 2004. Foerster elected jury-free trials in both matters.