first_imgVANCOUVER – A man charged with murdering a 12-year-girl in British Columbia over 40 years ago should be found guilty after confessing to undercover police that he abducted, sexually assaulted and killed her, a Crown attorney says.Mark Sheardown told jurors in his opening statement Monday that Garry Handlen also took RCMP undercover officers to the crime scene and provided details about snatching the girl while she was riding her new bike near Merritt, in the province’s Interior.He said Handlen’s “truthful, reliable confession,” which the jury will watch on video, will demonstrate he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the death of Monica Jack on May 6, 1978.Sheardown said Jack’s mother saw her riding her bike as the woman was heading home in her vehicle, a few days before the girl’s 13th birthday.“Monica was offered a ride home but turned it down,” he said, adding Madeline Lanaro never saw her daughter again.Handlen, who sat in B.C. Supreme Court wearing a grey and black plaid shirt and listened to proceedings wearing headphones, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.Sheardown said 17 years after the girl disappeared, Jack’s skull and some bones were found by a crew doing work for the Forests Ministry. The remains were linked to her through dental records.Handlen was living in Minden, Ont., when he became the focus of an undercover police operation starting in May 2014.Sheardown said Handlen allegedly provided a supposed crime boss with details of the murder, saying “he grabbed her, took her in his camper, went up a hill and had sex with her, in Mr. Handlen’s words, and killed her by strangling her.”Handlen then accompanied three officers, who he thought were members of a crime group, to Merritt, Sheardown told the jury as Jack’s sister and other family members sat in the courtroom.“Together, the three officers and Mr. Handlen drove out to the Merritt area where Mr. Handlen attempted to find the area where he abducted Monica Jack,” Sheardown said of the girl who lived on the Quilchena Indian Reserve with her mother and siblings.“This took place over the course of two days,” he said, adding Handlen provided more details about the abduction and murder during that time.Four witnesses gave police statements about what they saw in the area where the girl was last seen near a pullout on Highway 5A, he said.“Collectively, the Crown expects these four statements will indicate that a truck and camper had stopped at the pullout right around the time Monica was passing through the area, a bicycle was seen almost directly across the road from the camper, that a sound of someone crying out was heard and that it was thought to be a girl because of the high pitch.”Jack’s brother went looking for her and spotted her bike, court heard, before their mother reported the girl missing.Handlen worked for the supposed crime group as a debt collector, loan shark and repossessed personal property such as all-terrain vehicles, Sheardown said.A former undercover officer who posed as the crime boss told court he met Handlen at a restaurant in Orillia, Ont., on May 22, 2014.He said Handlen talked about his childhood on a farm, being a handyman in Ontario’s cottage country and his work as a pipefitter in the Toronto area, which he’d left for Minden, as well as his supervisory job in Alberta’s oil sands for several years.Handlen was arrested in November 2014.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.last_img