Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of B.C. girl

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

A man accused of killing two B.C. girls in the 1970s, including one from Abbotsford, is slated to begin a jury trial on Monday for one of the murders.

Garry Handlen, 70, goes on trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver for the killing of Monica Jack, 12, of Merritt.

Handlen was charged in December 2014 with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Monica and Kathryn-Mary Herbert, 11, of Matsqui (which later amalgamated with Abbotsford).

But Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for the BC Prosecution Service, said the case involving Herbert was the subject of an earlier court application and will not be part of the proceedings that start on Monday.

He said the nature and results of that application are subject to a publication ban at this time, but the charge has not been stayed or dropped.

Monica vanished on May 6, 1978 while riding her bike along Highway 5A near the Nicola Ranch in Merritt, B.C. Her remains were found on nearby Swakum Mountain in June 1995.

Kathryn-Mary was last seen in the area of Townline and Marshall roads in Abbotsford on Sept. 24, 1975, and her remains were discovered on Nov. 17 of that year near Harris Road in an undeveloped area of Matsqui First Nations.

Her skull was fractured and her jaw was broken. The autopsy was not able to confirm whether she had been sexually assaulted.

Garry Handlen as he appeared at the time of the murders

At the time of his arrest, police said Handlen had been a “person of interest” early in the investigation, but it had taken decades to gather enough evidence to support first-degree murder charges.

Kathryn-Mary’s mother, Sherri Greer, was relentless over the years in seeking justice for her daughter’s killing. In 2012, she offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to a suspect.

She was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Tragically, Greer died Nov. 16, 2016 after suffering a heart attack.

Monica’s mom, Madeline Lanaro, has described her daughter as a beautiful girl who was always happy and had a “tingly laugh.”

Handlen had been living in Minden, Ont. – a small town of about 5,500 people – for about 10 years before his arrest.

READ MORE: Charges laid in decades-old murders of Kathryn-Mary Herbert and Monica Jack

READ MORE: Accused murderer Garry Handlen makes first court appearance

READ MORE: Mom who fought 40 years for justice dies

 

Just Posted

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Stellar musicians, performers recognized at 54th Pacific Northwest Music Festival

More than 150 awards, scholarships given out to Northwest B.C. participants

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

Parliament Hill 4-20 organizers predict record crowd after legalization

A celebration? Yes, but organizers say concerns remain about the government’s decisions on legalization rollout

Building a better learning environment for B.C. students

Minister’s message for Education Week, April 23-27

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, multiple people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Most Read