Garry Taylor Handlen entered a plea of not guilty to the first-degree murder of the 12-year-old Monica Jack (pictured). (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Crown tells jury to accept undercover confession of B.C. girl’s murder

Garry Handlen is charged with the 1978 murder of Monica Jack a 12-year-old girl from Merritt

The confession and later statements of a British Columbia man leave no reasonable doubt he abducted, sexually assaulted and killed a 12-year-old girl in 1978, a Crown counsel told jurors Thursday in British Columbia Supreme Court.

Gordon Matei said in closing arguments that Garry Handlen’s detailed admission to an undercover RCMP officer in Minden, Ont., in November 2014 was not coerced and was motivated by his belief he would escape prosecution.

“He was relieved to divulge a secret that he had been carrying with him for 36 years,” Matei said.

In the videotaped confession shown in court, the supposed boss of an organized crime group tells Handlen police have DNA evidence against him as well as accounts from witnesses but an ailing man would take the blame if Handlen provided information about the crime.

RELATED: B.C. jury trial hears police-sting audio of man accused of killing girl, 12

Handlen, who had been the subject of an undercover operation for about nine months, says he grabbed Monica Jack at a pullout on a highway in Merritt, B.C., threw her bike into a lake and forced her into his pickup truck before choking the girl and leaving her body on a hill.

Jack’s skull and some bones were found there 17 years later.

Handlen also agreed to go to British Columbia’s Interior and show members of the crime group the spot where he said he’d snatched Jack.

The Crown presented a videotaped recording of Handlen in a vehicle with another undercover officer as the two drive along a highway and he is asked if he’d heard any media reports indicating where Jack may have last been seen.

“I’m the only one that knows that stuff, nobody else does,” Handlen says.

“You heard it,” Matei told jurors, adding: “That’s because he raped, he abducted and he killed Monica Jack.”

Handlen has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Matei said Handlen did not want to stop at the pullout or elsewhere in Merritt because he believed witnesses could identify him years later, even though the undercover officer had deceived him about having been seen on May 6, 1978, the day Jack disappeared.

“If he didn’t do anything what’s he concerned about?” he asked jurors.

He said Handlen wasn’t a ”yes man” who would have admitted to a “horrible crime” that he didn’t commit.

The fictitious crime group, for which Handlen did jobs like repossessing vehicles, did not provide inducements that would have had him confess to something he didn’t do, Matei said.

Handlen also had a partner of 30 years, lots of work, including as a handyman, that met his financial needs and had a wide circle of friends so wasn’t dependent on the connections he’d made with members of the group, Matei said.

“He was convinced that the police were going to get him and he knew he had done it.”

RELATED: Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

While Handlen told some “tall tales,” such as saying he’d played semi-professional lacrosse for a team in New Westminster, rappelled down a rope from a helicopter and went water skiing on one ski, his confession had a “ring of truth,” Matei said.

“He’s not on trial for boasting,” he said, adding Handlen’s lies were intended to make himself seem better.

“To confess to killing a 12-year-old girl is not going to make Mr. Handlen seem better than he was,” Matei told the jury.

“Don’t leave your common sense at the door when you go into the jury room.”

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Theft remains top call for RCMP service in Penticton

Supt. Ted De Jager highlighted some of the statistics his detachment has seen

South Okanagan could be home to the area’s next craft brewery

A public hearing about the proposed brewery will take place at Penticton city hall on Aug. 6

Okanagan society sends seniors, shut-ins on boat excursions

Okanagan Quality Life Society has been providing Okanagan Lake boat rides for nearly 30 years

A rainy July is normal for the Okanagan

Rainy days in July haven’t been seen since before 2014

Updated: Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

VIDEO: Plant-based burgers may not be as healthy as they seem

Both the Impossible and Beyond Burger have more saturated fat than beef burgers

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Okanagan woman heads up college foundation board

Gladys Fraser of Vernon brings experience to role as chair of Okanagan College Foundation board

Stolen car now returned to Summerland dealership

Vehicle was stolen on same day as attempted carjacking incident

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Rock the Lake music festival in Okanagan nears Saturday night sellout

Aug. 10th show is nearly sold out and three-day weekend passes are almost gone as well

Police recover $12,700 in stolen pet food from North Shuswap property

Chase RCMP execute third search of property where stolen vehicles, illegal firearms seized

Hergott: Medical cannabis and ICBC

ICBC might start reimbursing the expense of cannabis just like they do for prescription medications

Most Read