By Tim Rasmussen, Stevens County Prosecuting Attourney
Last week, during the fourth day of trial, Jason Foster pleaded guilty to attempted Kidnapping in the First Degree before Judge Allen Nielson.
The charge arose out of an attack on a barista at a Colville coffee stand in May of 2015. The attack ended as the victim fought and Mr. Foster lost his grip on the box cutter that he wielded in the attack. He fled the scene and was captured in Whitman County early the next morning when he wrecked.
During the trial, officers from Whitman County testified and the jury saw and heard the capture of Mr. Foster as it was recorded on a body-cam worn by a Colfax city police officer. The jury also heard the 911 call by the victim moments after the attack. The jury also heard the DNA analyst testify that Mr. Foster’s DNA was on a box-cutter knife left at the scene.
The trial presented special and unusual legal issues. Law Enforcement officers accidentally destroyed some of the evidence before the trial and the search of the personal property of the suspect by Department of Corrections officers and the use of the evidence obtained presented legal obstacles to the prosecution. Judge Nielson made many rulings about what evidence was admissible and what was not admissible.
Several persons traveled across the state to testify under subpoena regarding the contact that they had with Mr. Foster while he was on the run and portions of the text message contact between them were entered into evidence. They were revealing of his intention to run.
In talking with the jurors after the resolution of the case, they were very interested to know about Mr. Foster’s previous convictions and some aspects of the evidence they were not permitted to hear. They were curious about some of the things that happened during the trial and how the decision was made to resolve the case without them making a decision on guilt.
Judge Nielson listened to my explanation on the decision to resolve the case and he heard someone speak on behalf of the victim regarding the impact of the crime on the victim. In one unusual aspect of the sentencing hearing, Mr. Foster expressed remorse and invited Judge Nielson to give him the maximum sentence. Judge Nielson did that, and sentenced Mr. Foster to the maximum sentence of 108 months or nine years in prison.