Crime

Ferndale stabber gets 10 years for attempted murder of wife

Charles Foster appears in the Whatcom County Superior Court at the Whatcom County Jail in Bellingham on March 9, 2015, shortly after his arrest. On July 16 he pleaded guilty to attempted murder for stabbing his wife at their Ferndale home.
Charles Foster appears in the Whatcom County Superior Court at the Whatcom County Jail in Bellingham on March 9, 2015, shortly after his arrest. On July 16 he pleaded guilty to attempted murder for stabbing his wife at their Ferndale home. The Bellingham Herald

A Ferndale man must spend 10 years in prison for stabbing his wife in the chest at their apartment on Third Street.

Charles Hendricks Foster, 64, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the second degree Thursday, July 16, in Whatcom County Superior Court.

On the afternoon of March 6, police dispatch took a call from a belligerent man saying he’d punched his wife in the face, and that he wanted to kill her.

“I deserve to go to jail for murder,” the man said on the phone. “I want to kill her!”

Several times he yelled at the dispatcher to “shut up and listen.” He said he wanted to be arrested.

Police responded to the second-story apartment and could hear the man, Foster, yelling inside. Suddenly, he burst out the door smoking a cigarette. As he leaned on the railing of the second-story balcony, officers noticed blood on his nose and wrist. He told officers he was “tired of his wife’s (crap),” so he hit her. Foster smelled of alcohol. He said he just wanted to finish his cigarette before he went to jail.

Police found Foster’s wife, Gail Corris, 58, on the couch. She was leaning back, staring up at the ceiling, taking short breaths. She held the right side of her chest, where she’d been stabbed. A knife and traces of blood were in the kitchen sink.

Corris survived the 3-inch stab wound that nearly pierced her lung. She could have died without emergency medical aid.

Meanwhile, Foster told a detective he’d beaten and stabbed his wife because, in his words, “she is a (expletive) drunk and a loser,” according to charging papers. At times he said he wanted her dead. Other times he said he didn’t actually want to kill her, but that “hopefully he did hurt her.”

“The fact is, ma’am, I did it and I’m not ashamed of it,” he told the detective.

Foster was mad at Corris, he said, because she’d brought alcohol into the home, and alcohol was ruining their marriage. He said he’d had two drinks of rum. That afternoon, a breath test at the county jail gauged Foster’s blood-alcohol content at 0.232, according to court records.

Corris and Foster had been married for a little over a year. They moved to Ferndale about two weeks before the stabbing. At first the marriage had been good, Corris told police, but Foster would get mean when he drank. She filed for divorce in May of this year.

Foster pleaded guilty as charged Thursday. As part of the plea, he will have to pay about $16,000 in medical bills for Corris. She did not want to attend the sentencing hearing this week, said Deputy Prosecutor James Hulbert.

Foster had one other domestic violence conviction in Washington state, for assaulting a roommate in April 2013 in Pierce County. That woman said Foster pulled a gun on her as he illegally tried to evict her. He pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges and, for that crime, served about a week behind bars.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog and follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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