The phrase "justice delayed is justice denied" doesn't quite fit cold cases.
In such instances, convictions of guilty parties are always preferable to situations in which offenders are never punished for their illegal actions.
But the story of one woman's abuse at the hands of Warren Foster represents a close call, due in part to the horrific circumstances of the crime committed against her.
On her first day in Denver, the then-eighteen-year-old was sexually assaulted by Foster — and around another eighteen years will have passed before he's sentenced for what he did to her and another woman two years later.
On August 1, 1998, according to Foster's arrest affidavit, on view below, the unidentified woman arrived in Denver by bus. She'd come from South Dakota, where she'd met a Denverite while working in the Job Corps there.
The latter person offered the woman a place to stay if she came to Colorado, and because she'd been involved in an abusive relationship, she accepted as soon as her commitment to the Job Corps was over.
The woman arrived in Denver with three or four boxes of belongings, the police report continues, but when she called her acquaintance to get a ride, there was no answer.
She wound up hanging around the bus station for approximately four hours, using all her change on pay-phone calls that didn't result in a connection.
At this point, the woman met Foster, who's said to have been hanging with taxi drivers outside the bus station. She told him that she had the address to her friend's place but didn't know how to get there — and Foster said he'd drive her there.
Marijuana Deals Near You
The pair soon climbed into Foster's 1988 blue Dodge passenger van, and given that the woman's acquaintance lived on Arapahoe Street between 24th and 26th, the ride shouldn't have taken very long. But the affidavit says Foster pretended to be lost — one of several delaying tactics mentioned in the document.
He also pulled over to chat with someone from whom the woman thinks he purchased crack, tried to talk her into going to a dollar movie and made a pit-stop at a liquor store, where he convinced her to drink four small bottles of fruity liquor. She acquiesced in the hope that doing so would calm her nerves.
Eventually, the two wound up at the Colonial Manor Motel, at 2615 East 46th Avenue, where the woman fell asleep fully dressed on the cover of the bed in their room. But she awoke to Foster sexually assaulting her.
In response, she kicked and hit him, which ended the sexual assault but caused him to become enraged, the affidavit says. An excerpt reads, "He sat on her chest and put his weight into choking her. She began to blank out and was not able to breathe. He was trying to kill her."
Afterward, the woman told investigators that Foster backed down, as if he was coming off his drug high — but it took a long time to convince him to let her go. They wound up going to two hospitals before he finally dropped her off at a third medical facility, around noon the day after he picked her up.
No surprise that the woman eventually returned to South Dakota. "Denver didn't feel safe after the attack," the document allows.
Cut to November 2010, when a Denver Police Department detective learned there'd been a DNA hit with evidence from the woman's examination twelve years earlier. The results implicated Foster — and further investigation showed that he'd owned a blue Dodge van at the time of the crime.
The following year brought another break. The DPD learned that Foster was in custody in Las Cruces, New Mexico for another sex crime.
Foster served his sentence in New Mexico before being brought to Denver in 2014, and by the time he was finally put on trial earlier this month, he'd been tied to an additional sexual assault in 2000. The 27-year-old victim in that case had also made the mistake of accepting a ride from him.
In the end, a jury found Foster guilty of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree kidnapping, sexual assault with force, two counts of third-degree assault and false imprisonment.
He's scheduled for sentencing on June 3, less than two months shy of eighteen years after he turned a young woman's visit to Denver into a living hell.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Support Our Journalism
Look below to see a larger version of Foster's booking photo, followed by the affidavit.