A Kelowna man accused of killing his young family appeared before a judge Thursday, making the first steps in what his lawyer says will likely be a lengthy court process.
Jacob Forman, 34, was charged with three counts of second degree murder for allegedly killing his wife Clara and two primary school age daughters, Karena and Yesenia, at some point between Sunday and Tuesday, according to court documents.
Forman said nothing during the process, but his lawyer did speak to the media.
“It’s an extremely serious, very tragic situation,” said Forman’s defence lawyer Glen Verdurmen.
“I don’t know much about the case yet… I will be receiving disclosure from the Crown and reviewing with my client. I wouldn’t expect the process to move very quickly. I am sure there are all sorts of forensic investigations, interviewing of witnesses that the police are going to be doing while they’re assessing the case at this point in time.”
When asked, Verdurmen was reluctant to weigh in on the mental state of his client, noting that he’s holding up “despite facing the worst possible thing you can be facing.”
He also said it was too early to tell what position he’d be taking going forward or if Forman knew how he was going to plead. When Forman returns to court Jan. 18, 2018 Verdurmen said he’s unlikely to have a significantly clearer view on these issues.
While the legal process is just getting underway, so too is the community’s effort to deal with the loss.
Karena and Yesenia Forman were students at Heritage Christian Online School.
In a statement, the school extended their condolences to the friends and family of the girls and their mother.
“As our community mourns their loss, there are not adequate words to express our deep sorrow at this tragedy,” reads the statement. “Out of respect to the family’s privacy, we will not be making any further statement at this time but rather uplifting them in prayer.”
The Forman’s appeared to be devout people.
In an interview with the Capital News, a high school friend of Jacob Forman said the couple met in Mexico at a Christian retreat.
Clara wrote about their meeting on Facebook and touched on their shared faith in that post.
“Met in January, started dating in July, engaged Oct. 27, married three weeks later on Nov. 11 at sunset. When I married Jacob Forman I left everything I knew to come to Canada and build a life,” she wrote, Nov. 11, 2015.
“God blessed our feeble efforts with good jobs, good friends, a great church family and most importantly, two of the best little humans a couple of people could ask for. Ten years later you are still the person I want to grow old with.”
Friends of Clara are holding a Candlelight vigil Dec. 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Stuart Park by the Christmas tree.
“The Latin American Community in Kelowna invites all residents to walk together against violence towards women,” reads a Facebook post. “Please bring a candle along. We are in this together.”