Mission teenager Rachel Pernosky was killed more than five years ago. Her half-brother Mathew Pernosky has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. / File photo

Half-brother pleads guilty in B.C. teen’s murder

Rachel Pernosky, 18, of Mission killed five years ago; her body was discovered in Chilliwack

A man who was charged with killing his half-sister in 2013 entered a surprise guilty plea in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on Monday morning on what was supposed to be the first day of his trial.

Mathew Pernosky, 33, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Rachel Pernosky, 18, of Mission. Two charges of indignity to a body are expected to be stayed at his sentencing hearing, which has been scheduled for June 21.

Second-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence, but the sentencing hearing will determine Pernosky’s parole eligibility, which can range from 10 to 25 years.

The Crown indicated in court Monday that the decision to enter a guilty plea had been reached over the weekend. Rachel’s family plans to enter victim impact statements during the sentencing hearing, the Crown said.

Speaking outside of the courthouse, Rachel’s sister, Brittany Pernosky, said the family learned of the impending guilty plea over the weekend. About a dozen family members were in the courtroom on Monday morning.

“We are all very relieved. My mom was emotionally exhausted … and she was just drained from the whole experience of having to come here and relive it all again, so we’re definitely relieved that we don’t have to carry on (with) that,” Brittany said.

Rachel, the mother of a now six-year-old boy, was reported missing on March 16, 2013. She has last been seen at her home on Kite Street in Mission.

Police, search and rescue members, and volunteers began looking for her and, three days later, Rachel’s body was found in steep terrain in Chilliwack, near Old Orchard Road.

At the time, police said they believed the attack was not random.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, along with the Mission RCMP, announced on June 27, 2016 that Rachel’s estranged half-brother had been charged with her killing. Details of how she died were not released.

At that time, RCMP S/Sgt. Jennifer Pound said Pernosky had been identified as a person of interest early in the investigation.

Brittany said her family has fond memories of Rachel and thinks of her often.

“She stole a lot of stuff,” she laughed. “We joke about that a lot. Any time we’re trying to find something, it’s like, ‘Oh, well.. There she is.’ She had a really obnoxious laugh … that’s not a sound I’ll ever forget.”

Brittany said that Rachel’s son is doing well and “looks exactly like her,” which helps keep her memory alive. She said they visit Rachel’s gravesite on special occasions, including on the boy’s birthday, when a gift is left behind for him on behalf of his mom.

She said although the guilty plea is a relief, it doesn’t change the loss of her sister.

“It’s not something that you can get over or ever will get over. People say that time heals everything, but that’s not the case … You live with this forever.”

Brittany also expressed appreciation for the support the family received after Rachel’s death.

“We’re really grateful for the help that the community gave us when this all happened. It was beyond expectations — all of Mission, the support we got, was astounding,” she said.

 

Brittany Pernosky, sister of Rachel Pernosky, speaks to the media Monday morning after a guilty plea was entered in Rachel’s murder. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Just Posted

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

Passion for the fiddle keeps Kootenay culture alive

Proceeds from the Calvin Vollrath show in Trail will help support the 2019 Kootenay fiddle camp

Nelson police find $16K worth of suspected fentanyl, meth in minivan

Two people face charges of possession and trafficking in a controlled substance

COLUMN: Meet Todd Coyne, our new editor

Todd Coyne takes charge of five Black Press newspapers in the West Kootenay

Rossland council approves Pinewood housing project

Developer gets OK for multi-family housing, despite local opposition

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Canadians widely unaware of accomplishments of famous women, poll suggests

A new poll suggests Canadians have a lot to learn about the accomplishments of some of the country’s most famous women.

Most Read