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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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)

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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is looking to provide food waste collection and composting programs in the region. (Contributed photo)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen applies for grants for food waste composting projects

Work includes creating facilities and implementing curbside collection of residential food wastes

Painted Rock Estate Winery has had their “Red Icon” Merlot blend recognized as one of the country’s best wines. (Painted Rock Winery / Facebook)
Penticton winery’s Merlot blend recognized as Canada’s best

Decanter’s 2020 ‘Wine of the Year’ list includes only one Canadian wine, and its local

Even the Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Letter: Wear a mask

Letter to the editor from head of Okanagan - Skaha Teacher’s Union

Giant's Head Elementary
Second COVID-19 case at Giant’s Head Elementary

Letter sent to parents Dec. 3 about the recent case

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

The Siberian elm is an invasive plant. In Manitou Park in Naramata, crews are working to remove these trees and plant native species instead (File photo)
Crews remove Siberian elms from Naramata park

Invasive plant identified as a problem in region

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Two arrested after attack at Vernon home

Police spotted around 43rd Avenue linked to Wednesday assault

Most Read