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

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Road trip comes to end with split for Grand Forks Border Bruins

The team is coming off its longest road trip this season.

Grand Forks to receive business recovery funds post-flood

The community will receive two Rural Dividends grants for a total of $655,000.

Grand Forks high school students remember

The school and the Legion joined for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Letter: English town remembers Grand Forks on anniversary of Armistice

Phillip Morris writes from Shrewsbury, England.

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Homicide victim found under B.C. bridge identified as Hells Angels member

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

B.C. Sikh temple vandalized with racist graffiti

Racist graffiti was found on the side of the building this morning

Most Read