On May 2, 1973, New Jersey Trooper Werner Foerster was murdered with his own service weapon in the famous Joanne Chesimard case. Trooper Foerster was patrolling the Turnpike early in the morning when he arrived to back up Trooper James Harper, who had pulled a car over, according to the State Police.

There was a discrepancy in the registration of the car, driven by Clark Squire. While Trooper Foerster questioned Squire, Trooper Harper questioned the other two occupants, Joanne Chesimard and James Coston. Shots were fired from within the car and Trooper Foerster was hit, sustaining injuries in his shoulder and arm. Trooper Harper shot and killed Costan.

Trooper Foerster was also hit with multiple shots in his chest. While he was down, his service weapon was taken and he was executed with two shots to the head.

Chesimard was tried and convicted of the killing (under New Jersey law the prosecutor didn’t have to prove she actually pulled the trigger to charge her with murder) and imprisoned at the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women. She escaped and eventually made her way to Cuba, where she was granted asylum by Fidel Castro. She lives there today under the protection of the Cuban government. There is a $2 million dollar reward for her capture.

Squire was also convicted of murder and is still in jail. He will not be eligible for parole until 2032.

Trooper Foerster was only 34 at the time of his murder. At the time of his execution, he was survived by a wife and son. The State Police remains committed to bringing Chesimard to justice.

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