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

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder of his teenage half-sister

Rachel Pernosky of Mission was 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 had 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 Staff 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)

Just Posted

The Vancouver Canucks and Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen have agreed to a two-year deal with an average annual salary of $2.55 million. (@Canucks Twitter photo)
Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen, Vancouver Canucks agree to two-year deal

Two sides avoid arbitration, Virtanen will receive average annual salary of $2.55 million

Abbotsford courthouse
Man sentenced to 7 years for sexual abuse of 2 young girls in Abbotsford

Sisters assaulted while mom was asleep or away from the home

Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
MISSING: Mission RCMP request assistance in search for Joseph Pierce

Pierce last seen in Abbotsford on Oct. 6, may be headed to Alberta

Someone needs a manicure? The She Devil pursues Jvck Wilde in a cinematic music video about struggling with mental illness. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hip-hop artist Jvck Wilde produces She Devil music video

Dark, chilling and very cinematic, Wilde produces a gripping video on a tight budget

John Horgan meets with candidates Pam Alexis and Preet Rai and local citizens in Abbotsford on Wednesday afternoon. (Submitted)
NDP Leader John Horgan campaigns in Abbotsford with local candidates

Horgan meets with hopefuls Pam Alexis and Preet Rai on Wednesday afternoon

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Swimco announced recently it is shutting all of its stores in Canada, including in Langley. (Swimco website)
Canadian-owned swimsuit chain bankrupt

Swimco had been in creditor protection for several months

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Most Read