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

Man confessed to killing B.C. girl because he didn’t want to lose job: lawyer

Garry Handlen is on trial for the killing of 12-year-old Monica Jack back in 1978

Fear of losing a job that offered multiple perks and a promising future with a well-connected crime group led a man to falsely confess to murdering a 12-year-old girl in British Columbia in 1978, a defence lawyer said in closing arguments.

Patrick Angly told B.C. Supreme Court on Monday that Garry Handlen also didn’t want to bring any “heat” on members of the close-knit organization that supported him through his common-law wife’s cancer treatment and accepted him as family.

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

Handlen’s alleged confession came after an undercover officer posing as the head of a fictitious group told him police had DNA evidence linking him to the crime but it could “disappear” if he provided enough details to pin the blame on someone else.

Angly said the boss had already told Handlen he was certain of his involvement in killing Monica Jack near Merritt, B.C., that there were witnesses and the case would be going to court.

“They’re coming for you,” the undercover officer told Handlen in November 2014, about nine months into a so-called Mr. Big sting in Minden, Ont.

“He has to agree with the boss,” Angley said. “He has to say he did it.”

Handlen says in the hidden-camera confession already presented in court and outlined by Angly Monday that he was in a drunken stupor and remembers picking up a girl, having sex and strangling her.

“I know she was native,” he says.

However, Angly said Handlen didn’t provide any new information, only what he’d already been told by the RCMP during an interview about a month after Jack disappeared, in May 1978.

“It would be wrong of you to draw inferences from the fact that Mr. Handlen was questioned in 1978,” he told jurors. “That would be wrong and unfair.”

Handlen has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Jack. Her remains were found 17 years after she disappeared on a mountain where Handlen says later in the confession that he sexually assaulted her, murdered her and burned her clothes.

Angly said Handlen had already seen the crime boss firing someone else in a scenario the RCMP had concocted earlier and did not want to lose a lifestyle that offered him friends, food, hotels and the chance of a middle-management job with the organization that had paid him nearly $12,000 for jobs such as smuggling cigarettes, loan sharking and repossessing vehicles.

Angly said his client had told multiple lies, suggesting his confession was just one more, and not because he was boasting as the Crown has suggested but because “he is a liar.”

He said Handlen’s lies stretched from saying he had been a member of the British army’s Special Air Service to saying he smuggled goods across international lines as a scuba diver and studied for a pilot’s licence.

None of that was true but it was in his client’s best interest to carry on with his lies and even confess to murder as he felt his dreams as part of a close-knit organized crime group could be snatched away.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Get your tickets to the 7th annual Vertical & Vintages Wine Weekend

Hosted at the Apex Mountain Resort in partnership with the Naramata Bench Wineries Association

Princeton GSAR credited with saving life of lost snowmobiler

Princeton Ground Search and Rescue volunteers are being credited with saving a… Continue reading

Athlete of the Week: Landon Peterman

Landon Peterman is the Penticton Western News/Canadian Tire athlete of the week

Rotary Student of the Month: Robinson a proven leader

The Grade 12 Princess Margaret student is the club’s Student of the Month for January

Penticton Mustangs hockey wins gold

Peewee rec team wins Salmon Arm hockey tournament

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Parents in this B.C. city can no longer opt kids out of class for personal beliefs

Change comes as part of ‘big overhaul’ of school district’s learning resources policy approved by board

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Good news: Peak flu season over in B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says that while peak season is over, rates remain high this time of year

B.C. university students dumpster dive to shed light on food waste

Eating only from dumpsters, the students hope to raise money for food banks in Northern Canada

B.C. woman posts to Facebook after she and nephew reported missing for days

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Most Read