Forster hearing delayed again

Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2004

David S. Forster was given two more weeks by Superior Court Judge Harold Brown to determine whether he can get a private defense attorney.

Forster is the 34-year-old Kenai man accused of killing Kenai Police Officer John Watson on Christmas Day.

The postponement Wednesday was the fourth such delay in Forster's representation hearing as he and his family attempt to raise money to pay for an attorney.

Once again speaking on behalf of Forster, but not actually representing him, Kenai attorney Joe Skrha told the court that an Anchorage attorney has expressed an interest in being Forster's counsel.

An Anchorage attorney has indicated a desire to meet with Forster and his family, according to Skrha.

"David has a house, but it has not sold yet," he said.

The house at 2535 Watergate Way in the Kenai VIP Subdivision, the location of the fatal shooting, currently is for sale.

Brown continued the representation hearing until March 3 and said his previous order putting Rule 45 on hold would continue for two more weeks.

Alaska Court Rule 45 gives a defendant a right to a speedy trial.

Forster, who was sitting handcuffed in the courtroom in an orange inmate uniform, nodded that he understood the order. He has been in custody at Wildwood Pretrial Facility since being arrested Dec. 26.

Officer Watson was fatally shot after an alleged confrontation with Forster outside Forster's residence. Watson had responded to investigate a call from Alaska State Troopers about a possible domestic violence situation.

According to a trooper press release issued after the shooting, it is believed that a struggle broke out as Watson was attempting to arrest Forster, and Forster was able to obtain Watson's .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun.

Troopers believe two shots were fired, one which struck Watson in the head, killing him. Forster then walked into his residence where his female companion reportedly took the gun from him.

After a lengthy standoff with police following the shooting, Forster surrendered without incident early the next morning.

He is charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of third-degree assault and two counts of domestic-violence related third-degree assault. He is being held on $1 million bail.

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