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Man accused of killing Merritt girl found guilty

Last Updated Jan 17, 2019 at 5:16 pm PDT

Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978.

VANCOUVER – The man accused of killing a 12-year-old girl from Merritt, B.C. more than 40 years ago has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

A B.C. Supreme Court jury began deliberating the fate of Garry Handlen on Tuesday after an 11-week trial.

Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, her remains were found 17 years later.

RELATED: B.C. jury should consider if confession details came from police, media: judge

Handlen was the subject of a RCMP sting operation in 2014 and told an undercover officer that he sexually assaulted and strangled Jack after abducting her.

Handlen’s defence team maintained the confession was coerced.

The Crown’s lawyer told the jury the man had no motivation to confess to a crime he didn’t commit and Handlen felt relief at having unburdened himself from a secret that he’d carried for decades.