A judge has sentenced Garry Handlen to life in prison for killing a 12-year-old girl in 1978 but moments later dismissed a case involving allegations the man murdered another British Columbia girl three years earlier.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen called Handlen a sexual predator who preys on the vulnerable and weak to commit barbaric crimes and has already been convicted for other sexual assaults.
Handlen was found guilty by a jury earlier this month of the first-degree murder of Monica Jack, who disappeared while riding her bike in Merritt on May 6, 1978.
He had also been charged with the first-degree murder of 11-year Kathryn-Mary Herbert in or near Matsqui in 1975, but pleaded not guilty after being sentenced for Jack’s murder and the Crown said it would not be presenting evidence.
A conviction of first-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence of 25 years without parole, although Cullen noted Handlen is eligible to apply for parole in 15 years through the so-called faint hope clause because he killed Jack before that law was eliminated.
Jack’s cousin Debbie John told the sentencing hearing she has carried enormous guilt about Jack’s murder because she was the one to suggest they ride their bicycles into Merritt the day Jack disappeared.
The Canadian Press