Wednesday , June 16 2021

Man found guilty of murdering girl, 12, in BC for over 40 years

A man was found guilty of murdering a 12-year-old girl in British Columbia more than 40 years ago.

The jurors convicted him of the first-degree murder of Monica Jack, who was last seen by his mother riding a bicycle in Merritt in May 1978.

The BC Supreme Court heard that Handlen told a secret RCMP officer in November 2014 that he sexually abused Jack after kidnapping her from a highway pickup in the city.

Handlen's defense team maintained during the 11-week trial that the confession was coerced.

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A conviction for first-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of probation for 25 years.

In a hidden camera video shown in court, Handlen told the crime boss about an operation called Mr. Big that he grabbed Jack, threw his bike into a pond and then took her down a hill where he killed her.

His remains were discovered 17 years later.

The nine-month secret operation that began in Minden, Ontario, in early 2014, involved a fictional criminal group that hired Handlen to do legal and illegal work, heard the trial.

Handlen received nearly $ 12,000 from the gang that promised him a job while earning favors from the boss, who told him in the video that the police had DNA linking him to Jack's murder, but the crime could be attributed to someone else if he enough detail.

Handlen told the alleged crime boss that he also picked up an Indian girl and sexually assaulted her, then repeated at least a half-dozen separate times that he strangled her before throwing her body behind a log and leaving the area.

"It's a burden on my shoulder now, I already told you. So I'm not the only one who knows now," he tells the crime boss in the video.

Handlen's defense attorneys told the jury that his client was created by the RCMP with incentives that made him believe he would get the dream of a new truck and remain part of a group he called a bunch of siblings.

However, the Crown said Handlen had no motivation to confess to a crime he did not commit and was relieved to have ventured a secret he had carried for 36 years.

With files from Canadian Press

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