A 90-minute videotape of Garry Taylor Handlen calmly confessing to the murder of 12-year-old Monica Jack was played Tuesday for a jury in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
A man accused of murdering a 12-year-old girl more than 40 years ago says he “lost it” during his attack on the victim, according to a videotaped confession that was played for a jury Tuesday.
In 2014, Garry Taylor Handlen, who has pleaded not guilty to the 1978 first-degree murder of Monica Jack in the Merritt area, became the target of a so-called Mr. Big undercover police operation.
Following months of scenarios in which RCMP officers posed as members of a criminal organization bent on recruiting Handlen, the accused was confronted by the “crime boss,” an officer who cannot be identified due to a publication ban.
A 90-minute videotape of the hotel meeting between Handlen and the officer was played for the jury in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
At first, the two men chat about a variety of topics, with the officer congratulating Handlen on having done a good job to date with the “criminal organization.”
Then the officer tells Handlen that “there’s a couple of things that concern me a great deal” and refers to a murder near Merritt, with Handlen responding that he was questioned by police about the slaying but knew nothing about it.
The officer says that “it looks like they’re coming for you” and that there’s DNA evidence that was found on the victim in 1995.
He tells Handlen that he’s been identified as a suspect and that the authorities have his cast-off DNA. The jury earlier heard the undercover officer testify that he presented a number of “props” to Handlen during the confession which falsely claimed there was DNA evidence against him.
The officer indicates in the videotaped meeting that he can deal with the DNA evidence and allow Handlen to advance in the organization but demands that Handlen recall details of the slaying.
“I remember picking up a broad one time,” says Handlen. “Havin’ sex. Then I just lost it for some reason. Uh, I think I strangled her, I’m not sure.”
“She’s like eleven or twelve years old Garry,” says the officer.
“It could be, yeah,” says Handlen.
“And again, I don’t f. kin’ care, but if I’m gonna do this …” says the officer.
“Native, I know she was native,” says Handlen.
The officer demands to know here the incident happened, and the accused replies that it occurred in the Interior someplace.
Pressed for more details, Handlen says that the victim had been riding her bicycle and had pulled in off the road.
“And then what happened,” said the officer. “You decided what?”
“I just grabbed her,” says Handlen.
“Just like that?” says the officer.
“Yup,” says Handlen. “Threw her, threw her bike in the lake, grabbed her, took her in the camper and went up the hill.”
The accused agrees that the victim was still alive when he drove her in his truck camper up the hill, then had sex with her before strangling her.
“And then you just dumped her and left her there?” says the officer.
“Yeah,” replies Handlen.
Again pressed for details, the accused says that he thinks that after strangling the victim, he burned her clothes.
“I think I took all her clothes off and burned her clothes,” he says.
Asked whether he did anything with the body, Handlen says: “I think I just threw it behind a log. No, I didn’t bury it.”
Court has heard that after Monica was reported missing by her family in 1978, her remains were found 17 years later in a mountain area north of Merritt.
In the video meeting, the officer assures Handlen that he can get rid of the DNA evidence and adds he hopes that Handlen appreciates what he’s doing for him.
“I’m indebted for life, now,” says Handlen. “That’s the way it goes. Yes, I appreciate it more than anything, more than I can even say.”
The trial, which is expected to run about 10 weeks, is expected to continue Wednesday.