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

Vernon ordered to reinstate terminated firefighters caught having sex at work

City believes arbitration board erred, exploring options

Vernon man arrested following disturbance

Suspect seen fleeing home, tracked down by Vernon RCMP officers

Updated: Scene cleared after accident near Ellison Lake

An accident near Ellison Lake near Kelowna and Lake Country is causing traffic delays

Vernon dust advisory continues

Dusty conditions are mainly caused by road traffic stirring up winter traction materials that have accumulated over winter months.

‘The whole city has changed:’ Okanagan woman in New Zealand reacts to mosque attacks

An expatriate and Muslim students at UBC Okanagan deeply affected by white supremacist shooting

Penticton resident baffled about welcome mat theft

Security footage shows a woman and her dog taking the mat from the property on March 13

Men ready to strut in their underwear for South Okanagan triathlete

Okanoggin Barbers second underwear fashion show happening Wednesday at Barking Parrot

Trans Mountain court hearing: B.C. says it won’t reject pipelines without cause

Canada says the proposed amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act must be struck down

Okanagan dancers kick up heels for spring

PHOTOS: Spring Fling sees more than 60 converge in Vernon from as far as Okanagan Falls and Salmon Arm

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

B.C. father fights for his life after flu turns into paralyzing condition

Reisig has lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements.

Prescribed burns to start this month in the Okanagan

The Lower Similkameen Indian Band with partners are starting a multi-year burn on Crater Mountain

New highways maintenance contractor begins work April-May

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. to service Shuswap, North and South Okanagan

Lack of bus service leaving residents stranded

Ministry’s Health Connections solution visits Salmon Arm just twice per week, once west, once south

Most Read