2019 News Release

May 2, 2019

Public Information Bureau (609) 882-2000
Major Brian Polite - ext. 6514
Lt. Theodore Schafer - ext. 6515
SFC Jeff Flynn - ext. 6516
Sgt. Lawrence Peele - ext. 6531
Tpr. Alejandro Goez - ext. 6527
Tpr. Charles Marchan - ext. 6513

New Jersey State Police Remembers Trooper Werner Foerster on 46th Anniversary of His Murder

West Trenton, N.J. - Today marks the 46th anniversary of the murder of Trooper Werner Foerster, who was shot and killed on the New Jersey Turnpike.

On May 2, 1973, at 12:45 a.m., Trooper James M. Harper, who was assigned to the New Brunswick Station on the New Jersey Turnpike, stopped a Vermont registered vehicle approximately 200 yards south of his station. Trooper Foerster, patrolling nearby, backed-up Trooper Harper. Trooper Harper approached the vehicle and asked the driver, Clark Squire, for his driver's license and registration. Noting a discrepancy in the registration, Squire was asked to step out of the vehicle. He was then questioned by Trooper Foerster as Trooper Harper went to question the other occupants, James Coston and Joanne Chesimard.

Shots were fired at the troopers from within the vehicle resulting in an exchange of gunfire. During the firefight, Trooper Harper was wounded in the left shoulder and arm. Trooper Foerster sustained multiple gunshots to his chest, before he was murdered with his own service weapon.

Joanne Chesimard was convicted and sentenced for the murder of Werner Foerster and imprisoned at the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women. Chesimard escaped from prison in 1979 and eventually fled to Cuba where she was granted asylum by Fidel Castro. She has remained living in Cuba under the alias Assata Shakur. Joanne Chesimard was the first woman to be placed on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List. The New Jersey State Police and FBI are currently offering up to two million dollars for information leading to her capture.

Trooper Foerster joined the New Jersey State Police as a member of the 82nd State Police Class on July 24, 1970. During his career, he was stationed at the Toms River, Colts Neck, Fort Dix and Key Port Stations. His last assignment was at Troop "D" Headquarters in New Brunswick. At the time of his death, Trooper Foerster was survived by his wife and son. He was 34 years old.

“Today and every day, we remember Trooper Werner Foerster, who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving this state and its residents. We stand with our brothers and sisters in law enforcement as we honor the legacy of our fallen colleague. And yet over the past four decades, as Trooper Foerster’s son grew up without a father, Joanne Chesimard has remained a fugitive, thumbing her nose at our country and our system of justice,”  said  Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.  “Today, we renew our commitment to ensuring that this convicted murderer is returned to this country to serve the remainder of her long prison sentence.”

"On this day forty-six years ago, Trooper Werner Foerster made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his fellow troopers and the citizens of our State. As an organization, we ensure that every trooper, past and present, honored with wearing the blue and gold uniform of a New Jersey State Trooper remembers the life and death of Trooper Foerster, but it is equally important that the public also remembers," said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. "Our pursuit of Joanne Chesimard will not cease until she is returned to New Jersey to serve out the remainder of her prison sentence for the brutal murder of Trooper Werner Foerster. We owe it to the Foerster family, the State Police Family, and every family member who has suffered the devastating loss of a loved one killed in the line of duty."

"Joanne Chesimard is a violent, convicted criminal who remains on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List. The over four decades which have passed in no way diminishes the horrific nature of her crimes. The men and women of the FBI stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners in the New Jersey State Police, and we will not stop our pursuit of Chesimard until we are able to deliver justice to the family of Trooper Werner Foerster,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Gregory W. Ehrie.

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