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

7th annual Invermere Music Fest

A snapshot of the festival

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Need cash to splash

Radium Sunrise Rotary Club wants to build a splash park in Radium Hot Springs

Kootenay National Park about to turn 100

Ninety-nine years of publicly-accessible wilderness

Kootenay Conservation Program develops online conservation tool

Online toolkit for Kootenay-based services and programs

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Most Read