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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Restoration plan to see gradual reopening of CVRD services

Coordinated effort being made in conjunction with many provincial bodies and organizations

Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop donation bin runneth over

Volunteers now working toward a reopening soon with protocols in place

Man found dead in his tent at Chemainus homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Simpson staying sharp for the baseball call

Pirates’ Chemainus player scraps initial plans for Houghton College in New York

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe comapaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Most Read