A Ferndale man told police he “deserved the death penalty” for stabbing his wife in the chest, according to charges of attempted murder filed Tuesday afternoon, March 10.
Charles Hendricks Foster, 64, called police dispatch around 2:15 p.m. Friday, saying he wanted to kill his wife. On the phone he kept telling the dispatcher to “shut up.”
Officers went to meet Foster at his second-story apartment in the 5600 block of Third Avenue, near downtown Ferndale. They heard yelling inside. Suddenly Foster came out the door smoking a cigarette. As he leaned over the railing, officers saw dried blood on the bridge of his nose and his right wrist, and he smelled like alcohol, according to the charges. Later, in jail, his blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.232.
Police asked what happened.
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“He said that he ‘was tired of his wife’s (crap)’ and that he hit her,” according to the charges. He told them he just wanted to finish his cigarette before they took him to jail.
Police asked where his wife was. Inside, he said.
Gayle Leigh Corris, 58, was sitting on the couch, according to charging papers. She held her chest and leaned her head back to look at the ceiling. She had a 1-inch cut along her eyebrow, and two slash marks on her clothes. Her breathing was short. At first she said she didn’t recall what happened. Then she told police she’d been stabbed. A wet knife was in the sink, along with traces of blood. Police asked if Foster stabbed her. She nodded yes.
Surgeons at St. Joseph hospital found Corris suffered a 3-inch stab wound very near her lung. She would have died without emergency treatment, doctors told police.
A Ferndale police detective interviewed Foster at length after his arrest. According to the charges filed by Deputy Prosecutor James Hulbert:
“Foster said that he became upset when Corris brought alcohol into the house. He said that ‘drinking was destroying their marriage.’ He said that he was watching a movie and his wife ‘came out.’ He said that he ‘lost it,’ and punched her with his fists. He said that he then took a knife out of the rack” — a wooden block full of knives in the kitchen — “and ‘stabbed her.’ He said that he ‘wanted her dead because she is a ... drunk and a loser.’ He then said that he didn’t want to kill her, but just wanted to hurt her, adding that ‘hopefully he did hurt her.’ He said to the detective ‘the fact is, ma’am, I did it and I’m not ashamed of it.’ When the detective asked what would have happened if the police hadn’t arrived, Foster admitted that ‘he would have killed her.’”
Foster said he had two drinks of rum that afternoon.
At the hospital Corris told police their relationship had started out well, but Foster gets mean when he drinks. Once, she recounted, she’d been choked to unconsciousness. They’d been married for about a year. Corris recalled being kicked and punched before Foster stabbed her.
At Foster’s first appearance in court this week, Superior Court Commissioner Martha Gross read Foster his rights, in a loud voice, because Foster is hard of hearing,. He faces a charge of attempted murder in the second degree while armed with a deadly weapon. His bail had been set over the weekend at $500,000.
Foster — around 5-foot-4, balding, with a short, gray full beard and faded greenish tattoos along both arms — walked from the jail courtroom with a slight limp, as a guard escorted him back to his cell.
Corris spent the weekend at the hospital. She’d been released by Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Police said the couple had moved from Pierce County to Ferndale about two weeks ago. Foster assaulted a roommate in April 2013 when he lived in Tacoma. The roomate told police he’d pulled a gun as he illegally tried to evict her, according to charging papers. Felony assault charges were reduced to a misdemeanor in a plea deal; Foster was handed a suspended jail sentence of one year. He served a total of about a week behind bars.