Man charged in teen's death pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder

The man charged in connection to the 2011 killing of teenager Taylor Van Diest in Armstrong, B.C., has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Matthew Foerster was charged in connection to the 2011 slaying of teenager Taylor Van Diest

Taylor Van Diest was beaten to death on Halloween in 2011 while walking alone to meet a friend. (CBC)

The man charged in connection to the 2011 death of Armstrong teenager Taylor Van Diest has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a development the victim's family calls "disappointing."

Matthew Foerster had previously been convicted of first-degree murder in the case, but the B.C. Court of Appeal granted him a retrial in March 2017 after it was determined the jury was given incorrect instructions.

Foerster pleaded to the lesser charge at the Vernon, B.C., courthouse on Monday. As a result, there will be no second trial.

Matthew Foerster admitted to causing the injuries that killed Taylor Van Diest.

"We know what he did to Taylor," said Marie Van Diest, Taylor's mother. "I'm just hoping during sentencing that the judge is not at all lenient."

Van Diest died in hospital after she was beaten on Halloween night more than six years ago. She suffered fatal head wounds and was found by the side of railroad tracks in the small North Okanagan community.

At his first trial, Foerster admitted he was responsible for the injuries to Van Diest, but contended he was only guilty of manslaughter or second-degree murder. 

The 18-year-old had been texting with a friend saying she was "being creeped" or followed.

Police later identified Foerster as a suspect and arrested him in Ontario.

'Relieved that it's ending here'

His father, Stephen Foerster, was previously sentenced to three years in jail after pleading guilty to helping his son Matthew evade police.

Marie Van Diest said the family is grateful "no one has to go through the torment and torture of a new trial."

"I'm kind of relieved that it's ending here. All we can do is hope for the best and that [the judge] gives him an adequate sentence for what he's done."

Matthew Forester is expected to be sentenced in April. 

Marie Van Diest, Taylor's mother, speaks to reporters outside the Vernon, B.C. courthouse. (Brady Strachan/ CBC)

With files from CBC's Brady Strachan