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

Tears and laughter celebrate Bruce Johnson’s Life

Over 1,000 people packed the conference hall of the Lakeside to celebrate the life of Bruce Johnson

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

For New York artist from the darkness comes light

Light has a spiritual life of its own for New York artist who opens his show March 30 in Penticton

Penticton SAR team helicopters injured climber to safety

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

‘Hauntingly gritty’ duo coming to iconic Okanagan music venue

The LYNNeS multi-award-winning Canadian folk artists are going to be in Penticton March 27

Okanagan experts share bike security tips

Geoff Prowse from the Bike Barn and Josh Shulman from Freedom the Bike Shop share their tips.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Kelowna artist featured on furniture

Shandra Smith’s work is now available on credenzas

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

Sock Hop aims to send dancers back to another time

Writers’ Festival fundraiser in Salmon Arm springs into step for another year

Man pinned under metal tank in West Kelowna

Emergency personnel are on the scene

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read