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

Man, 50, dies following incident in downtown Parksville

Teenage girl hailed as hero for intervening after witnessing situation unfold

Disturbing youth sexual, criminal trends in Greater Victoria

Family counsellors see unprecedented rise in youth sexual assaults and exploitation of children

Russell Books marks opening of new location by setting Guinness World Record

Store stacks world record books more than six metres high

Putting some real teeth into the kindness of strangers

Otter Point Dental donation fills cavity left by toothless government policy

Editorial: Full ban on backyard burning a must

Bad air quality season is here thanks to lack of government backbone

VIDEO: Disney Plus adds disclaimer about racist stereotypes

Disney’s disclaimer is a good way to begin discussion about the larger issue of racism

New case of vaping-related illness in Quebec brings national total to 8

Quebec health minister considering tightening the rules around vaping products

Greens to vote against Liberal throne speech unless carbon targets toughened: May

Green leader Elizabeth May and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Friday, discussing common ground

Senior dies after suffering medical emergency and crashing vehicle in Nanoose Bay

Bystanders performed CPR while waiting for first responders

How the US betrayed the Marshall Islands, kindling the next nuclear disaster

Massive concrete nuclear waste container at risk of collapsing

`Sleeping giant’ New Mexico poised to be outdoor go-to spot

By Susan Montoya Bryan THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Quiet streams… Continue reading

REVIEW: Shakespearean tragedy shines at the Phoenix

UVic theatre crew hits the right notes with Othello, writes Sheila Martindale

Area director concerned about status of barge ahead of expected windy conditions

Uncertainty of Nana Provider’s hull condition adding to unease

Those involved in Saanich School District strike question calls for mediation

Sidney council has called on the province to appoint a mediator

Most Read