VANCOUVER — A man charged with killing a 12-year-old British Columbia girl provided details in a video seen in court, saying he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled her near Merritt.
Garry Handlen gave the information to an undercover officer posing as a crime boss who shows the man several documents including a fake RCMP memo about DNA analysis.
Handlen has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Monica Jack, who disappeared on May 6, 1978, while riding her new bike on a highway in the B.C. Interior.
On Nov. 14, 2014, Handlen was the focus of an RCMP sting that began months earlier while he was living in Minden, Ont., the court heard.
It involved a supposed crime boss saying he had connections to make the DNA evidence "go away" and arrange for another man to take the fall if Handlen provided enough information about the murder that police were still investigating.
Handlen reluctantly says in the video shown to the jury on Tuesday that he picked up a girl in the Merritt area, that she seemed to be 11 or 12 and he must have sexually assaulted her if police had DNA evidence.
"Do you remember anything about her at all?" asks the boss.
"All I know is she was Indian," Handlen says. Jack lived on the Quilchena Indian Reserve with her mother and siblings before she disappeared.
"There's witnesses so we have to cover this off," the boss tells him as the two men sit on a couch in an apartment.
"She was riding her bike," he says in the recording. "And I stopped. I grabbed her, just like that, threw her bike in the lake," he says, adding he took the girl to his camper hitched to his green Chevy truck.
Handlen says after strangling the girl, he put her body in a clearing on a hill and left the area. He says he'd never told anyone what he'd done and later adds he "feels great" getting it out.
Jack's sister, who sat behind Handlen in the gallery, turned to clutch the hand of a supporter beside her as she watched the video.
Jack's skull and some bones were found on a hill in June 1995 by a crew working for the Forests Ministry.
The video shows Handlen agreeing with the boss that he'd have to accompany some people to Merritt so a man who once worked for the criminal organization and had agreed to take the rap for the death could have the relevant information when questioned by police.
Jurors also heard an audio recording earlier Tuesday of Handlen being fired by the boss about three weeks earlier for lying and then repeatedly apologizing as he is confronted at a bar in Quebec in front of other members of the fictitious organization.
The scenario involves the supposed boss firing Handlen for saying he'd completed the task of meeting a particular woman in Quebec even though he hadn't gone there.
"Let me explain," Handlen is heard saying in a recording at the bar on Oct. 16, 2014.
"I already know the truth, I already know what happened," says the boss, an undercover officer who testified about his role in the sting.
"I'm sorry," Handlen says, sounding increasingly rattled at the boss's angry outburst.
"You lied to my face!" he tells Handlen.
"Everybody, go to your phones, delete his numbers," the boss tells the other group members, all undercover officers.
"Let that be a lesson to any who need it," the boss says. "He's finished!"
The jury hears the boss tells the others not to contact Handlen, who is told to turn in his cellphone and the keys to a vehicle.
However, the trial heard that the boss accepted Handlen back into the group a week later after he'd stepped up "for one of the brothers" in another task for the organization.
Handlen is then told in a recording that his elevated role in the organization will require a deeper background check on him, which involved a covert interview leading to his confession.
Court has heard Handlen was arrested and charged in November 2014.