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Karla Leanne HOMOLKA






Also known as Karla Leanne Teale and Leanne Bordelais
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: December 1990 - April 1992
Date of arrest: February 19, 1993
Date of birth: May 4, 1970
Victims profile: Tammy Homolka, 15 (her sister) / Leslie Mahaffy, 14 / Kristen French, 15
Method of murder: Poisoning - Strangulation
Location: Ontario, Canada
Status: Sentenced to 12 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea for manslaughter. On July 4, 2005, Homolka was released from Ste-Anne-des-Plaines prison

Photo galleries

Karla Homolka Karla Homolka in prison
Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo Paul Bernardo
Karla Homolka - A Threat to Society, by Amelia MacGregor
Women, violence and gray zones, by Dr Stacy Banwell

Karla Leanne Homolka, also known as Karla Leanne Teale and Leanne Bordelais (born 4 May 1970 in Port Credit, Ontario, Canada), is a convicted Canadian serial killer. She attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the 1991 and 1992 rape-murders of two Ontario teenage girls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, as well as the rape and death of her sister Tammy.

Homolka and Paul Bernardo, her husband and partner in crime, were arrested in 1993. In 1995, Bernardo was convicted of the two teenagers' murders and received life in prison and a dangerous offender designation, the full maximum sentence allowed in Canada. During the 1993 investigation, Homolka stated to investigators that Bernardo had abused her, and that she had been an unwilling accomplice to the murders. As a result, she struck a deal with prosecutors for a reduced prison sentence of 12 years in exchange for a guilty plea for manslaughter.

However, videotapes of the crimes were later found that demonstrated that she was a more active participant than she had claimed. As a result, the deal that she had struck with prosecutors was dubbed in the Canadian press the "Deal with the Devil". Public outrage about Homolka's plea deal continued until her high-profile release from prison in 2005. Following her release from prison, she settled in the province of Quebec, where she married and gave birth to a boy. In 2007, the Canadian press reported that she had left Canada for the Antilles with her husband and their baby, and had changed her name to Leanne Teale. In 2012, journalist Paula Todd found Homolka living in Guadeloupe, under the name Leanne Bordelais, with her husband and their three children.

Early life

Karla Leanne Homolka was the eldest of Karel and Dorothy Homolka's three daughters. Her sisters were Lori (b. 1971) and Tammy (1975–1990). The family lived in St. Catharines, Ontario. Karla Homolka began working part-time at a pet shop while attending Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. After graduation in 1988 she was hired by Thorold Veterinary Clinic to work as a veterinary assistant. She later took a similar job at the Martindale Animal Clinic, from which she stole drugs that were to be used in her crimes.

Karla Homolka met Paul Bernardo at a Scarborough restaurant on October 17, 1987, while they were both attending a convention in Toronto. She was 17 years old; he was 23. Bernardo proposed to Homolka on 24 December. The age of majority in Ontario is 18, and at the time, the age of consent in Canada was 14.


Tammy Homolka

By 1990, Bernardo was spending large amounts of time with the Homolka family, who liked him. He was engaged to the eldest daughter and flirted constantly with the youngest one. He had not told them that he had lost his job as an accountant, and instead was smuggling cigarettes across the nearby US–Canadian border. He had become obsessed with Tammy Homolka, peeping into her window and entering her room to masturbate while she slept. Karla Homolka helped him by breaking the blinds in her sister's window to allow Bernardo access. In July, Bernardo took Tammy across the border to get beer for a party. While there, Bernardo later told his fiancee, "they got drunk and began making out."

According to Bernardo's testimony at his trial, on July 24, 1990, Karla Homolka laced spaghetti sauce with crushed Valium she had stolen from her employer, Martindale Animal Clinic. She served dinner to her sister, who soon lost consciousness. Bernardo began to rape Tammy while Karla watched.

Over the summer, he supplied Tammy and her friends with gifts, food, and sodas that had "a film and a few white flecks on the top."

Six months before their 1991 wedding, Karla Homolka stole the anaesthetic agent Halothane from the clinic. On December 23, 1990, Homolka and Bernardo administered sleeping pills to the 15-year-old in a rum-and-eggnog cocktail. After Tammy was unconscious, Homolka and Bernardo undressed her and Karla applied a Halothane soaked cloth to her sister's nose and mouth.

Karla Homolka wanted to "give Tammy's virginity to Bernardo for Christmas" as, according to Homolka, Bernardo was disappointed by not having been Karla's first sex partner. With Tammy's parents sleeping upstairs, the pair videotaped themselves as they raped her in the basement. Tammy began to vomit. The pair tried to revive her, then called 911, but not before they hid evidence, dressed Tammy, and moved her into her basement bedroom. A few hours later Tammy Homolka was pronounced dead at St. Catharines General Hospital without having regained consciousness.

Despite the pair's behaviour – vacuuming and washing laundry in the middle of the night, and despite the presence of a chemical burn on Tammy's face, Niagara Regional Coroner and the Homolka family accepted the pair's version of events. The official cause of Tammy Homolka's death was accidental – choking on her vomit after consumption of alcohol. The pair subsequently videotaped themselves with Karla wearing Tammy's clothing and pretending to be her. They also moved out of the Homolka house to a rented Port Dalhousie bungalow, to let her parents cope with their grief.

Leslie Mahaffy

Early in the morning on June 15, 1991, Bernardo took a detour through Burlington, halfway between Toronto and St. Catharines, to steal license plates. He found Leslie Mahaffy. The 14-year-old had missed her curfew after attending a funeral, was locked out of her house and had been unable to find anyone with whom she could stay overnight. It was then that Bernado left his car and eyed up his victim.

Bernardo approached her and told her he was looking to break into a neighbour's house. Unfazed, she asked if he had any cigarettes. As Bernardo led her to his car he blindfolded her, forced her into the vehicle and drove her to Port Dalhousie, where he informed Homolka that they had a playmate. Bernardo and Homolka subsequently videotaped themselves torturing and sexually abusing Mahaffy, all while listening to Bob Marley and David Bowie. At one point, Bernardo said "You're doing a good job, Leslie, a damned good job." Then he added, "The next two hours are going to determine what I do to you. Right now, you're scoring perfect." On another segment of tape, played at Bernardo's trial, the assault escalated. Mahaffy cried out in pain and begged Bernardo to stop. In the Crown description of the scene, he was sodomizing her while her hands were bound with twine. Later Mahaffy told Bernardo that her blindfold seemed to be slipping, an ominous development as it signaled the possibility that she might be able to identify both her tormentors if permitted to live.

The following day, Bernardo claimed, Homolka fed her a lethal dose of Halcion. Homolka claimed that, instead, Bernardo strangled her. The pair put her body in their basement.

The following day the Homolka family had dinner at the house.

After the Homolkas and their remaining daughter, Lori, had left, Bernardo and Homolka decided the best way to dispose of the evidence would be to dismember Leslie Mahaffy and encase each piece in cement. Bernardo bought a dozen bags of cement at a hardware store the following day. He kept the receipts which would prove damaging at his trial. Bernardo used his grandfather's circular saw to cut the body. Bernardo and Homolka then made numerous trips to dump the cement blocks in Lake Gibson, 18 kilometers south of Port Dalhousie. At least one of the blocks weighed 90 kg (200 pounds) and proved beyond the pair's patience or abilities to sink. It rested near the shore, where a father and son on a fishing expedition discovered it on June 29, 1991. Leslie Mahaffy's orthodontic appliance proved instrumental in identifying her.

Kristen French

On the afternoon of April 16, 1992, Bernardo and Homolka were driving through St. Catharines to look for potential victims. It was after school hours on the day before Good Friday. Students were still going home but by and large the streets were empty. As they passed Holy Cross Secondary School, a main Catholic high school in the city's north end, they spotted Kristen French, a 15-year-old student, walking briskly to her nearby home. The couple pulled into the parking lot of nearby Grace Lutheran Church and Homolka got out of the car, map in hand, pretending to need assistance.

As French looked at the map, Bernardo attacked from behind, brandishing a knife and forcing her into the front seat of their car. From her back seat, Homolka controlled the girl by pulling down her hair.

French took the same route home every day, taking about 15 minutes to get home in order to attend to her dog's needs. Soon after she should have arrived, her parents became convinced that she had met with foul play and notified police. Within 24 hours, Niagara Regional Police (NRP) had assembled a team and searched the area along her route and found several witnesses who had seen the abduction from different locations, thus giving police a fairly clear picture. In addition, one of Kristen's shoes, recovered from the parking lot, underscored the seriousness of the abduction.

Over the three days of Easter weekend, Bernardo and Homolka videotaped themselves as they tortured, raped and sodomized Kristen French, forcing her to drink large amounts of alcohol and to behave submissively to Bernardo. At Bernardo's trial, Crown prosecutor Ray Houlahan said that Bernardo always intended to kill her because she was never blindfolded and was capable of identifying her captors.

While Bernardo was out buying pizza on April 18 he was spotted by Kerry Patrich, whom he had stalked the previous month. Her report to NRP was mishandled by police, as noted by Judge Archie Campbell in his 1995 inquiry into the police investigation of Bernardo's crimes, thus negating any chance of Kristen French's being discovered at the Bernardo house.

The following day, the couple murdered French before going to the Homolkas' for Easter dinner. Homolka testified at her trial that Bernardo had strangled French for exactly seven minutes while she watched. Bernardo said Homolka beat her with a rubber mallet because she had tried to escape and that French ended up being strangled on a noose tied around her neck secured to a hope chest. Immediately thereafter, Homolka went to fix her hair.

French's nude body was found in a ditch on April 30, 1992 in Burlington, approximately 45 minutes from St. Catharines, and a short distance from the cemetery where Leslie Mahaffy is buried. She had been washed and her hair had been cut off. It was originally thought that the hair was removed as a trophy, but Homolka testified that the hair had been cut to impede identification.


Homolka and Bernardo had been questioned by police several times – in connection with the Scarborough Rapist investigation, Tammy Lyn Homolka's death, Bernardo's stalking of Sydney Kershen and the Patrich sisters (covered in the Paul Bernardo article) – before the death of Kristen French. The officer filed a report and, on 12 May 1992, an NRP sergeant and constable interviewed Bernardo briefly. The officers decided that he was an unlikely suspect, although Bernardo admitted having been questioned in connection with the Scarborough rapes.

Three days later, the Green Ribbon Task Force was created to investigate the murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. Meanwhile the couple applied to have their names changed legally from Bernardo and Homolka to Teale, which Bernardo had taken from the villain of the 1988 movie Criminal Law – a serial killer. At the end of May, John Motile, an acquaintance of Bernardo, also reported Bernardo as a possible murder suspect.

In December 1992, the Centre of Forensic Sciences finally began testing DNA samples provided by Bernardo three years earlier.

On 27 December 1992, Bernardo severely beat Homolka with a flashlight on the limbs, head and face. Claiming that she had been in an automobile accident, the severely bruised Homolka returned to work on 4 January 1993. Her skeptical co-workers called Homolka's parents, who assumed they were "rescuing" her the following day by physically removing her from the house. Homolka went back in, frantically searching for something. Her parents took her to St. Catharines General Hospital, where her injuries were documented and she gave a statement to the NRP, claiming she had been a battered spouse, and filed charges against Bernardo. He was arrested but later released on his own recognizance. Homolka moved in with relatives in Brampton.

Net closes

Twenty-six months after the sample had been submitted, Toronto police were informed that Bernardo's DNA matched that of the Scarborough Rapist and immediately placed him under 24-hour surveillance.

Metro Toronto Sexual Assault Squad investigators interviewed Homolka on 9 February 1993. Despite telling her their suspicions about Bernardo, Homolka concentrated on his abuse of her. Later that night she told her aunt and uncle that her husband was the Scarborough Rapist, that they were involved in the rapes and murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, and that the rapes were recorded on videotape. The NRP, meanwhile, reopened the investigation into Tammy Homolka's death.

On 11 February 1993, Homolka met with Niagara Falls lawyer George Walker who sought full immunity from St Catharines's Crown Attorney Ray Houlahan in exchange for her cooperation. Homolka was placed under 24-hour surveillance.

The couple's name change was approved on 13 February 1993. The next day George Walker met with Murray Segal, Director of the Crown Criminal Law Office. Walker told Segal of videotapes of the rapes and Segal advised Walker that, considering Homolka's involvement in the crimes, full immunity was not a possibility.

Metro Sexual Assault Squad and Green Ribbon Task Force detectives arrested Bernardo on numerous charges on 17 February 1993, and obtained search warrants. Because Bernardo's link to the murders was weak, however, the warrant contained limitations. No evidence that was not expected and documented in the warrant was permitted to be removed from the premises. All video tapes the police found had to be viewed in the house. Damage to the house had to be kept to a minimum; police could not tear down walls looking for the videotapes. The search of the house, including updated warrants, lasted 71 days and the only tape found by the police had a short segment depicting Homolka performing oral sex on "Jane Doe".

On 5 May 1993, Walker was informed that the government was offering Homolka a 12-year sentence plea bargain that she had one week to accept. If she declined, the government would charge her with two counts of first degree murder, one count of second degree murder and other crimes. Walker accepted the offer and Homolka later agreed to it. On 14 May 1993, the plea agreement between Homolka and the Crown was finalized, and she began giving her statements to police investigators.

Publication ban

Citing the need to protect Bernardo's right to a fair trial, a publication ban was imposed on Homolka's preliminary inquiry.

The Crown had applied for the ban imposed on 5 July 1993, by Mr. Justice Francis Kovacs of the Ontario Court (General Division). Homolka, through her lawyers, supported the ban, whereas Bernardo's lawyers argued that he would be prejudiced by the ban since Homolka previously had been portrayed as his victim. Four media outlets and one author also opposed the application. Some lawyers argued that rumours could be doing more damage to the future trial process than the publication of the actual evidence.

Public access to the Internet effectively nullified the court's order, however; as did proximity to the American border, since a publication ban by an Ontario Court cannot apply in New York, Michigan, or anywhere else outside of Ontario. American journalists cited the First Amendment in editorials and published details of Homolka's testimony, which were widely distributed by many Internet sources, primarily on the Usenet newsgroup. Information and rumours spread across a myriad of electronic networks available to anyone with a computer and a modem in Canada. Moreover, many of the Internet rumours went beyond the known details of the case. Newsweek's 6 December 1993 edition, for example, "reprinted without permission" as the correspondent stated, reported: "Another account said that, to keep them from escaping, both girls were hobble[d] by their abductors, who used veterinary surgical instruments to sever tendons in their legs."

Newspapers in Buffalo, Detroit, Washington, New York and even Britain, together with border radio and television stations, reported details gleaned from sources at Homolka's trial. The syndicated series A Current Affair aired two programs on the crimes. Canadians bootlegged copies of The Buffalo Evening News across the border, prompting orders to the NRP to arrest all those with more than one copy at the border. Extra copies were confiscated. Copies of other newspapers, including The New York Times, were either turned back at the border or were not accepted by distributors in Ontario. Gordon Domm, a retired police officer who defied the publication ban by distributing details from the foreign media, was charged and convicted on two counts of contempt of court.

Plea bargain controversy

Jamie Cameron, Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall, noted that "at the time of the Homolka trial, three features of the case worried and concerned the public. Little was known about the respective roles Homolka and Bernardo played in their actions and the killing of their victims. By spring, 1993, it was clear that the Crown's case against Bernardo depended on Homolka's evidence. "In simple terms, to secure a conviction against him, her story had to be believed. Yet on no view of the facts then known could she be exculpated; by casting her as a victim of his predatory behaviour, her responsibility for the crimes that were committed could be diminished and her credibility as a witness preserved.

Search warrants

The search warrants granted to the Green Ribbon and Scarborough Rapist Task Forces on 19 February 1993, were limited in the extent to which they could find and remove evidence: no damage could be done to the house interior in the search for evidence and videotapes had to be viewed in the house. On 21 February 1993, police found a tape in which a short segment depicted Bernardo, Homolka and an unnamed American prostitute having oral sex with an unconscious, unidentified young woman believed at first to have been Kristen French. The unidentified girl would later be called "Jane Doe" after the discovery of the full tapes, in which she was revealed to be a minor. Her identity remains covered by the publication ban.

The authorities soon concluded that they had no prima facie case against the couple; discussions with Homolka's lawyer therefore proceeded on the assumption that Homolka could provide the information they required – for a price. Moreover, Walker pressed the case for Homolka's having been abused, though Segal countered that no amount of abuse could account for her participation in the murders. The justification came largely from an FBI document titled "Compliant Victims of the Sexual Sadist", written by profiler Roy Hazelwood.

The search warrants expired on 30 April 1993. On 6 May 1993, Bernardo instructed his lawyer, Ken Murray, in writing to enter the house and remove, but not to watch, six 8 mm videotapes hidden behind a pot light in the bathroom.

Homolka led police through the house on 17 May 1993, leading them to find pertinent DNA evidence, as well as a receipt for the excess cement which tied Bernardo to Leslie Mahaffy's murder.



On 18 May 1993, Homolka was arraigned on two counts of manslaughter. Bernardo was charged with two counts each of kidnapping, unlawful confinement, aggravated sexual assault and first-degree murder as well as one of dismemberment. Coincidentally that day Bernardo's lawyer first watched the tapes. Murray decided to hold onto the tapes and use them to impeach Homolka on the stand during Bernardo's trial. Neither Murray nor Carolyn MacDonald, the other attorney on the defence team, were deeply experienced criminal lawyers and it was only over time that their ethical dilemma showed itself also to be a potentially criminal matter, for they were withholding evidence. By October 1993, he and his law partners had studied over 4,000 documents from the Crown. Murray has said he was willing to hand over the tapes to the Crown if they had let him cross-examine Homolka in the anticipated preliminary hearing. The hearing was never held.


Homolka was tried on 28 June 1993, though the publication ban the court had imposed limited the details released to the public, who were barred from the proceedings.


Murray said the videotapes showed Homolka sexually assaulting four female victims, having sex with a female prostitute in Atlantic City, and at another point, drugging an unconscious victim.

During the summer of 1994, Murray had become concerned about serious ethical problems that had arisen in connection with the tapes and his continued representation of Bernardo. He consulted his own lawyer, Austin Cooper, who asked the Law Society of Upper Canada's professional-conduct committee for advice.

"The law society directed Murray in writing to seal the tapes in a package and turn them over to the judge presiding at Bernardo's trial. The law society further directed him to remove himself as Bernardo's counsel and to tell Bernardo what he had been instructed to do," Murray said in a statement released through Cooper in September 1995.

On 12 September 1994, Cooper attended Bernardo's trial and advised Justice Patrick LeSage of the Ontario Court's General Division, lawyer John Rosen, who replaced Murray as Bernardo's defence counsel, and the prosecutors about what the law society had directed Murray to do. Rosen argued that the tapes should have been turned over to the defence first. Murray handed the tapes, along with a detailed summary, to Rosen, who "kept the tapes for about two weeks and then decided to turn them over to the prosecution."

The revelation that a key piece of evidence had been kept from police for so long created a furor, especially when the public realized that Homolka had been Bernardo's willing accomplice. The tapes were not allowed to be shown to the spectators; only the audio portion was available to them. Moreover, Bernardo has always claimed that, while he raped and tortured Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, it was Homolka who actually killed them.

After the videotapes had been found, rumours spread that Homolka was an active participant of the crimes. The public grew incensed as the full extent of Homolka's role in the case was finally exposed and the plea agreement now seemed unnecessary. However, as was provided in the plea bargain, Homolka had already disclosed sufficient information to the police and the Crown found no grounds to break the agreement and reopen the case.

Appeal and Inquest

Homolka's plea bargain had been offered before the contents of the videotapes were available for review. As Anne McGillivray, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Manitoba, explained the continuing public antagonism against Homolka: There was widespread belief that she had known where the videotapes were hidden, that she wilfully concealed the Jane Doe incidents and, most centrally, that her claims of being under Bernardo's control – a central tenet of the plea bargain – were dubious. Speculation was fed by a publicity ban on the plea bargain which stood until Bernardo's trial.

Print and website sources imagined demonic duos, vampirism, Barbie and Ken perfect-couple perfect murderers [sic], sexy "Killer Karla", the comic "Karla's Web" featuring Homolka's psychological confessions. The gaze centres, always, on Homolka (italics added).… That [Bernardo] would be incarcerated for his mortal lifespan seemed a foregone conclusion. Homolka, in the popular view, should have taken her seat beside him in the prisoner's box and seat of ultimate evil.… Homolka promised full disclosure and testimony against Bernardo in return for reduced charges… and a joint sentencing recommendation. In so doing, she escaped central blame for the deaths."

Although the contents of the videotapes would likely have led to a conviction of murder for Homolka, an inquiry into the conduct of the prosecutors who had made the plea bargain found their behaviour "professional and responsible" and the "resolution agreement" that they had established with Homolka "unassailable" under the Criminal Code of Canada. Judge Patrick T. Galligan, reporting to the Attorney General on the matter, indicated that in his opinion "the Crown had no alternative but to …[negotiate with the accomplice] in this case" as "the 'lesser of two evils' to deal with an accomplice rather than to be left in a situation where a violent and dangerous offender cannot be prosecuted."

In December 2001, Canadian authorities determined that there was no possible future use of the videotapes. The six videotapes depicting the torture and rape of Bernardo's and Homolka's victims were destroyed. The disposition of the tapes of Homolka watching and commenting on the tapes remains sealed.


After her 1995 testimony against Bernardo, when Homolka returned to Kingston's Prison For Women, her mother started to suffer annual breakdowns between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The collapses were severe enough that she was hospitalized, sometimes for months at a time. Homolka was moved from Kingston in the summer of 1997 to Joliette Institution (a medium security prison in Joliette, Quebec, 80 km northeast of Montreal), a facility called "Club Fed" by its critics.

Homolka appeared to thrive in a highly structured prison environment. Several psychologists and psychiatrists examined her and agreed that she showed symptoms of spousal abuse, although some believe she simulated with coaching and books.

In 1999, Toronto Star reporter Michelle Shephard came into possession of copies of her application to transfer to the Maison Thérèse-Casgrain, run by the Elizabeth Fry Society, and published the story noting the halfway house's proximity to local schools, hours before the Canadian courts issued a publication ban on the information. Homolka sued the government after her transfer to a Montreal halfway house was denied.

Before her imprisonment, Homolka had been evaluated by numerous psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health and court officials. Homolka, reported one, "remains something of a diagnostic mystery. Despite her ability to present herself very well, there is a moral vacuity in her which is difficult, if not impossible, to explain." As Homolka proceeded through the Canadian prison system there were frequent flashes that illuminated this perception.

In Joliette, Homolka had a sexual affair with Lynda Véronneau, who was serving time for a series of armed robberies and who reoffended so that she could be sent back to Joliette to be with Homolka, according to the Montreal Gazette. Her letters to Véronneau, wrote Christie Blatchford in her Globe and Mail column, were "in French and on the same sort of childish, puppy-dog-decorated paper she once wrote to her former husband… the same kind of girlish love notes she sent to him." Her language, Blatchford noted, was "equally juvenile".

While being evaluated in 2000, Homolka told psychiatrist Robin Menzies that she did not consider the relationship to be homosexual, as Véronneau "'saw herself as a man and planned to undergo a sex operation in due course,' the psychiatrist wrote." Psychiatrist Louis Morisette, meanwhile, noted in his report that Homolka "was ashamed of the relationship and hid it from her parents and the experts who examined her. The psychiatrist mentions in his report that under the circumstances, the relationship was not abnormal."

Again, it demonstrated Blatchford's observation that "what is particularly compelling – and telling – is how radically different are the faces she presents" to each audience. Her former veterinary clinic co-worker and friend, Wendy Lutczyn, the Toronto Sun declared, "now believes Homolka's actions were those of a psychopath, not of an abused, controlled woman". Homolka, Lutczyn said, had promised "she would explain herself", yet though the women exchanged "a series of letters while Homolka was… waiting to testify at Bernardo's trial" and after she had completed her testimony, Homolka never did try to explain to Lutczyn "why she did what she did".

On 11 January 2008, the Canadian Press reported that letters written by Homolka to Lutczyn had been pulled from eBay, where they had reached $1,600 with a week to go. Lutczyn said she did not want them any more.

In a letter of apology to her family, she continued to blame Bernardo for all her misdeeds: "He wanted me to get sleeping pills from work… threatened me and physically and emotionally abused me when I refused… I tried so hard to save her." Tim Danson, attorney for the victims' families, has said that she has never apologized to them.

Homolka took correspondence courses in sociology through nearby Queen's University which initially caused a media storm. Homolka was required to pay all fees, as well as her personal needs, from her fortnightly income of about $69, although, she told author Stephen Williams in a subsequent letter, "I did get some financial assistance". Homolka later graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Queen's. News of Homolka's self-improvement courses was greeted in the media with disdain: "Nothing has changed. Concepts of remorse, repentance, shame, responsibility and atonement have no place in the universe of Karla. Perhaps she simply lacks the moral gene," wrote another Globe columnist, Margaret Wente.

The complexities and challenges of completing behavioural studies of women who are suspected of having psychopathic traits have been noted in the forensic literature. The various different masks that the female psychopathic killer displays at different times often have more to do with the audience and the manipulation at that moment that will benefit the individual wearing the mask than the true nature of the individual wearing the mask.

Dr. Graham Glancy, a forensic psychiatrist hired by Bernardo's chief defence lawyer, John Rosen, had offered an alternative theory to explain Homolka's behaviour, noted Williams in Invisible Darkness, his first book on the case. She appears to be a classic example of hybristophilia, an individual who is sexually aroused by a partner's violent sexual behaviour, Dr. Glancy suggested."

Williams, who wrote Invisible Darkness, later reversed his opinion about her and began corresponding with her. This formed the basis for his second book, Karla – a Pact with the Devil. In her letters Homolka also disparaged a number of the professionals who had examined her and said she did not care "what conditions I would receive upon release. I would spend three hours a day standing on my head should that be required." Upon her release Homolka vigorously fought a string of conditions imposed upon her by a court (see Post-Prison, below).

Homolka participated in every treatment program recommended by prison authorities, until she was asked to participate in a program that had been designed for male sex offenders. She refused, on the grounds that she was neither male nor a convicted sex offender.

During Homolka's release hearing (under section 810.2 of the Criminal Code), Morrisette said the then-35-year-old did not represent a threat to society. Various hearings over the years have left a mixture of opinions. According to Candice Skrapec, "a fearless and much-sought-after criminal profiler", Homolka might herself be driven by malignant narcissism. If she posed any kind of danger, said Dr. Hubert Van Gijseghem, a forensic psychologist for Correctional Services Canada, it lay in the ominous but not unlikely possibility of her linking up with another sexual sadist like Bernardo. "She is very attracted to this world of sexual psychopaths. It's not for nothing that she did what she did with Bernardo," he told the National Post after reviewing her file. A scheduled newspaper interview with Homolka was quashed by her lawyer. It was not just the facts of the case that shredded Homolka's cloak of victimization. Her demeanour on the witness stand had been at times "indifferent, haughty and irritable".


Where other inmates might apply for parole at the first opportunity, Homolka refrained from doing so. "Because she was deemed a risk to reoffend, she was denied statutory release two-thirds of the way through her sentence," Maclean's reported in explaining what had exempted Homolka from the parole restrictions meant to ease an offender's integration into mainstream society. In 2004, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation noted that "The National Parole Board has ruled that Karla Homolka must stay in prison for her full sentence, warning that she remains a risk to commit another violent crime." While the NPB noted that she had made some progress toward rehabilitation it expressed concern that Homolka had begun corresponding with a convicted murderer whom she had met when they were both being held in different parts of a prison handling unit in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec. As a result it decided to keep her in prison. The Toronto Sun reported that Homolka had had sex in prison with "a male inmate she now wants to marry, a former cell pal says."

According to former inmate and Homolka confidante Chantel Meuneer, the Sun reported, Homolka and the inmate stripped at a flimsy fence, touched one another sexually and exchanged underwear. At the same time, Meuneer told the Sun, Homolka was still in a lesbian relationship with Lynda Véronneau, who had spent $3,000 on her at Victoria's Secret. The NPB reprimanded Homolka: "you have secretly undertaken an emotional relationship with another inmate, and evidence gathered seems to indicate that this relationship rapidly became sexual," the panel stated. On December 6, 2001, only seven days before Homolka dumped Véronneau, Meuneer said she asked Homolka why she continued her lesbian relationship while being in love with a man. Meuneer recalls Homolka saying, "I don't let go right now because I want my clothes and I want my computer."

According to the Sun, Meuneer later began living with Véronneau. Véronneau, together with writer Christiane Desjardins, wrote Lynda Véronneau: Dans L'Ombre de Karla, published in 2005 by Les Éditions Voix Parallèles.

Homolka gave her the incentive to finish her schooling, Véronneau said. Véronneau, who identified as a man and was scheduled to undergo gender reassignment surgery, said Homolka "liked to be tied up, something that disturbed Véronneau, who was serving a sentence for robbery. She said one game seemed to simulate rape," the Post reported. This article, along with numerous others, whipped up public opinion as the date of Homolka's release neared. A rumour that Homolka intended to settle in Alberta caused an uproar in that province. Maclean's weighed in with a series of possible scenarios: "The most educated speculation has Homolka staying in Quebec, where language and cultural differences supposedly muted the media coverage of her case, and where she'll be less recognizable. Another rumour suggests she will flee overseas, restarting in a country where her case is unknown. Or sneak into the United States, using an illegal identity to cross the border and living out her life under a pseudonym."

Michael Bryant, Ontario's Attorney General fought to get Homolka on the agenda at a meeting of Canada's justice ministers. "He wants the federal government to expand the category of dangerous offenders to ‘catch those slipping between the cracks.’" "Bilingual and armed with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Queen's University, Homolka may choose to try to live a quiet life in Quebec, where her crimes are not as well known as they are in English-speaking Canada," reported CTV in May, 2005.

On June 2, 2005, the network said, "the Ontario Crown will ask a Quebec judge to impose conditions under Section 810 of Criminal Code on Homolka's release." "The French and Mahaffy families want even tighter restrictions on Homolka, including asking that she submit to electronic monitoring or yearly psychological and psychiatric assessment," CTV said. These conditions are not allowed under Section 810 because they cross the line between preventive justice versus punitive measures, but "that's why [Toronto lawyer Tim Danson, acting on their behalf] believes the families want the government to amend the Section."

A two-day hearing was held before Judge Jean R. Beaulieu in June, 2005. He ruled that Homolka, upon her release on July 4, 2005, would still pose a risk to the public-at-large. As a result, using section 810.2 of the Criminal Code, certain restrictions were placed on Homolka as a condition of her release:

  1. She was to tell police her home address, work address and with whom she lives.

  2. She was required to notify police as soon as any of the above changed.

  3. She was likewise required to notify police of any change to her name.

  4. If she planned to be away from her home for more than 48 hours, she had to give 72 hours' notice.

  5. She could not contact Paul Bernardo, the families of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French or that of the woman known as Jane Doe (see above), or any violent criminals.

  6. She was forbidden to be with people under the age of 16 and to consume drugs other than prescription medicine.

  7. She was required to continue therapy and counselling.

  8. She was required to provide police with a DNA sample.

There was a penalty of a maximum two-year prison term for violating such an order. While this reassured the public that Homolka would find it difficult to offend again, it was felt by the court that it might be detrimental to her as well, because public hostility and her high profile might endanger her upon release.

On June 10, 2005, Senator Michel Biron declared that the conditions placed on Homolka were "totalitarian", according to an interview with CTV Newsnet. Two weeks later, Biron apologized.

Homolka then filed a request in the Quebec Superior Court for a wide-ranging injunction aimed at preventing the press from reporting about her following her release.

While at Joliette Institution, Homolka received death threats and was transferred to Ste-Anne-des-Plaines prison north of Montreal.

On July 4, 2005, Homolka was released from Ste-Anne-des-Plaines prison. She granted her first interview to Radio-Canada television, speaking entirely in French. Homolka told interviewer Joyce Napier that she chose Radio Canada because she had found it to be less sensational than the English-language media. She said that she had likewise found Quebec to be more accepting of her than Ontario. She affirmed that she would be living within the province but refused to say where. She said she had paid her debt to society legally, but not emotionally or socially. She refused to speak about her alleged relationship with Jean-Paul Gerbet, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines. During the interview, her solicitor, Sylvie Bordelais, sat beside Homolka; however, she did not speak. Homolka's mother was also present but off-screen, and was acknowledged by Homolka.

Freedom and relocation to Guadeloupe

The national media reported in July 2005 that Homolka had relocated to the Island of Montreal. On August 21, 2005, Le Courrier du Sud reported that she had been sighted in the South Shore community of Longueuil, across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal.

On November 30, 2005, Quebec Superior Court Judge James Brunton lifted all restrictions imposed on Homolka, saying there was not enough evidence to justify them. On December 6, 2005, the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld Brunton's decision. The Quebec Justice Department decided not to take the case to the Supreme Court, despite Ontario's urging.

TVA reported on June 8, 2006, that Homolka's request to have her name changed was rejected. She had attempted to change her name legally to Emily Chiara Tremblay (Tremblay being one of the most common surnames in Quebec).

Sun Media reported in 2007 that Homolka had given birth to a baby boy. Quebec Children's Aid said that despite Homolka's past, the new mother would not automatically be scrutinized. Several nurses had refused to care for Homolka before she gave birth. On December 14, 2007, CityNews reported that Homolka had left Canada for the Antilles so that her now one-year-old could lead a 'more normal life.'

On June 21, 2012, Canadian journalist Paula Todd published a 40-page e-book entitled Finding Karla: How I Tracked Down an Elusive Serial Child Killer and Discovered a Mother of Three, which revealed that Homolka had relocated to Guadeloupe and changed her name to Leanne Bordelais. She is married to her lawyer's brother Thierry Bordelais, with whom she has two sons and one daughter. Todd wrote that she visited the Bordelais residence and stayed for about an hour. Todd reported that she spent "stretches of time" simply watching the three Bordelais children play, and concluded that Homolka appeared to be "an excellent mother." After the visit, Homolka phoned her lawyer and ceased contact with Todd, stating that "no one cares about where she is or what she's doing."

A poll of 9,521 voters concluded that 63.27% believed that the public had the right to know Homolka's location, 18.57% of voters believed that she deserved anonymity, and 18.16% believed that Homolka should be permitted to receive anonymity in about 50 years.

Possibility of pardon

On April 19, 2010, The Vancouver Sun reported that Homolka would be eligible to seek pardon for her crimes in the summer of 2010. Offenders convicted of first- or second-degree murder or with indeterminate sentences cannot apply for a pardon but, Homolka was convicted of manslaughter, making her eligible. If she is successful her criminal record will not be erased but will be covered up in background checks, except those required for working with children or other vulnerable persons. The Canadian government introduced legislation to make pardons more difficult to get.

On June 16, 2010, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said an agreement had been reached between all federal parties to pass a bill that would prevent notorious offenders like Karla Homolka from obtaining a pardon.

In popular culture

In 1997, Lynn Crosbie, Canadian poet, novelist and cultural critic, published Paul's Case, termed a "theoretical fiction". After systematically analyzing the couple's crimes it provided an examination of the cultural effects of the shocking revelations and controversy surrounding their trial.

Episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Close to Home were inspired by the case, as well as an episode of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries called "Know Thine Enemy", aired in 2007. Under the Canadian publication ban on details of the crimes that was in force at the time, the original Law & Order episode, "Fools for Love," could not be shown on Canadian television when it aired on February 23, 2000. The second episode of the series The Mentalist featured a respectable but murderous husband and wife team.

Dark Heart, Iron Hand is a documentary broadcast by MSNBC and was rebroadcast as an episode of the series MSNBC Investigates retitled "To Love and To Kill" concerned the case.

The episode "Bittersweet" in season 12 of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation mirrors the murders of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. A murderous couple is caught and tried for the murders and dismemberment of young girls. The woman claims spousal abuse to exonerate herself and strike a deal. It is only after the deal is struck that videotaped evidence proves she participated fully. The episode aired on Thursday, October 6, 2011,

Movie Karla

In 2004, Quantum Entertainment released the film Karla (which had the working title Deadly), starring Laura Prepon as Homolka and Misha Collins as Bernardo. Tim Danson, attorney for the French and Mahaffy families, was given a private screening, and announced that the families had no objection to the film's release. Nevertheless, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty called for a boycott. The film was given a limited released in Canada by Christal Films.

Further reading

  • Williams, Stephen (2004). Karla: A Pact with the Devil. Seal Books.

  • Pron, Nick (2005). Lethal Marriage: The Uncensored Truth Behind the Crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Toronto: Seal Books.

  • Scott Burnside; Cairns, Alan (1995). Deadly innocence. New York: Warner Books.

  • Davey, Frank (1994). Karla's web: a cultural investigation of the Mahaffy-French murders. New York, N.Y: Viking.

  • Pron, Nick (2005). Lethal Marriage (Updated Edition): The Uncensored Truth Behind the Crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Seal.

  • Williams, Stephen Joseph (1998). Invisible darkness: the strange case of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. New York: Bantam Books.

  • Peter Vronsky: «Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters”, Berkley Books, New York (2007), p. 328,368 etc.

  • Todd, Paula (18 June 2012). Finding Karla: How I Tracked Down an Elusive Serial Killer and Discovered a Mother of Three.



Oct. 17, 1987: Karla Homolka, 17, meets Paul Bernardo, 23, at a hotel in Scarborough, Ont.

Dec. 24, 1990: Bernardo and Homolka drug and sexually assault Tammy Homolka, who later dies. The death is ruled an accident.

June 15, 1991: Bernardo and Homolka stalk, rape, torture and murder Leslie Mahaffy, 14.

June 29, 1991: Bernardo and Homolka wed in a lavish ceremony. That evening, a couple canoeing on Lake Gibson discover Mahaffy's remains.

April 16, 1992: Bernardo and wife Karla abduct Kristen French, 15.

April 19, 1992: French is killed and her body dumped outside Burlington.

Feb. 17, 1993: Bernardo is arrested at his St. Catharines home for beating Homolka.

Feb. 19, 1993: Police begin two-month search of the Bernardo-Homolka home but fail to locate incriminating videotapes.

May 6, 1993: Bernardo's lawyer, Ken Murray, retrieves the videotapes from above a ceiling light fixture in the upstairs bathroom.

May 18, 1993: Homolka is charged with two counts of manslaughter in the French and Mahaffy slayings after striking deal with Crown. She is freed on bail.

May 19, 1993: Bernardo is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, kidnapping, forcible confinement and aggravated sexual assault, and one count of committing an indignity to a body.

July 6, 1993: Homolka pleads guilty to manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

May 4, 1994: Bernardo pleads not guilty.

Sept. 12, 1994: Murray quits as Bernardo's lawyer and hands videotapes over to new lawyer, John Rosen. Days later, Rosen presents the tapes to the Crown.

May 18, 1995: Trial begins with Bernardo blaming Homolka for the killings and Homolka blaming Bernardo.

Sept. 1, 1995: Bernardo is convicted on all counts; later sentenced to life in prison.

November 5, 1995: Bernardo declared a dangerous offender; he will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.

December 1995: Police demolish Bernardo's home. Four years later, a new home is built on the site by a couple.

April 1997: Homolka is moved from the Kingston Prison for Women to a low-and-medium security prison in Joliette, Que., dubbed by critics "Club Fed."

March 27, 2000: Murray goes to trial on charges of obstruction of justice and possession of child pornography.

June 13, 2000: Murray acquitted. He is later cleared of charges from the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Sept. 21, 2000: Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear an appeal by Bernardo.

Sept. 22, 2000: Photos are published showing Homolka at a 1998 birthday party at Joliette Institution, dressed in evening wear.

Oct. 2000: Homolka is transferred to the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon for evaluation ahead of a parole hearing.

March 8, 2001: The National Parole Board denies Homolka's application for early release, saying she is a risk to kill again.

December 2001: The six videotapes of the rape and torture of Bernardo and Homolka's victims are destroyed on an undisclosed date.

May 2003: Homolka returns to Joliette prison for women.

Dec. 16, 2004: National Parole Board rules again that Homolka must stay in prison for her full term. Once again, Homolka refuses to participate in the hearing.

Dec 17, 2004: Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant announces plans to keep Homolka on a tight leash when she is released, including imposing a curfew and restrictions on her movements.

June 3, 2005: A Quebec judge agrees that Karla Homolka is a risk to reoffend when she's released from prison. He grants the Ontario Crown the Section 810 order it had been seeking to put some restrictions on Homolka for a year after her release.

July 5, 2005: Homolka scheduled for release -- though it could happen several days earlier.

Nov. 30, 2005: Quebec judge lifts restrictions against Karla, citing a lack of evidence to impose them.

Feb. 3, 2007: Homolka reported to have given birth to baby boy in Montreal hospital.


Karla Homolka lives in Guadeloupe and has three children, new book reveals

By Tu Thanh Ha - The Globe and Mail

June 21, 2012

Tanned, slimmer but still wary of strangers, Karla Homolka now has three children and lives in Guadeloupe under the name Leanne Bordelais, says a new book by journalist Paula Todd, who met the notorious former convict at her new home.

The book is the first confirmation of previous, sketchier news reports that Ms. Homolka married her lawyer’s brother, gave birth and moved to the French Caribbean island to escape public scrutiny.

She had lived in Quebec following her 2005 release from a 12-year sentence for her role in the lurid sex killings of two Ontario schoolgirls and the drug-induced death of her sister Tammy.

Ms. Todd wrote that she found Ms. Homolka in a small apartment with her new spouse, Thierry Bordelais, and their three small children, a girl and two boys.

“Does the woman who killed three children now have three of her own? The irony comes crashing in,” Ms. Todd wrote in the book, Finding Karla: How I Tracked Down an Elusive Serial Child Killer and Discovered a Mother of Three, which is to be released in electronic format Thursday afternoon.

The encounter took place this spring, the day after Ms. Homolka turned 42, meaning on May 5. After exploring a remote Guadeloupe area where she believed Ms. Homolka had relocated, Ms. Todd wrote that she found herself on a gravel sideroad, staring at a mailbox that said “Leanne Bordelais.”

Beyond the mailbox was a fenced apartment building. On the second floor, “I look through it into a tiny, tidy kitchen. There, bent over the sink, is a petite woman with light hair. She turns her face sideways to see who’s arriving. Then she freezes ...

“I have found Karla Homolka, and I’m not sure which of us is more shocked.”

Mr. Bordelais wanted Ms. Todd to leave but Ms. Homolka, though distrustful, was not outright dismissive and took her visitor to another room and quizzed her.

Ms. Todd explained that, as a journalist and lawyer, she wanted to research her life after prison.

“Why should I trust you? I have everything to lose,” Ms. Homolka replied.

When Ms. Todd tried to make small talk, saying that her host seemed to be a good mother, Ms. Homolka snapped back, “That’s funny that you think you can judge that after seeing me this short time.”

Despite Ms. Homolka’s caginess, she kept her visitor for an hour. “I’d say she was lonely and slightly bored,” Ms. Todd said.

Mr. Bordelais reappeared, however, holding a phone with their lawyer on the line, ending the conversation before Ms. Homolka had made any substantive remark.

The book said that Ms. Homolka at that point made a slip that confirmed previous speculations that Mr. Bordelais is the brother of her long-time prison lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais.

Ms. Homolka ended the meeting, refusing to comment further. “Nobody cares, and everything I’ve said is off the record,” she told Ms. Todd.

Formerly married to the sex predator Paul Bernardo, Ms. Homolka was released from prison after serving her entire sentence in the deaths of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy in the 1990s. She settled in Quebec, hoping that she was less known among francophones.

She changed her name to Karla Leanne Teale but reporters twice retraced her, at a suburban hardware store where she worked, then near an apartment in east-end Montreal. By 2007, the TVA television network reported that she had left for the Caribbean.


Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka

by Marilyn Bardsley

All For Love

It was all too good to be true.  In 1990, Karla was engaged to a handsome, sophisticated professional accountant with money.  It was going to be an incredible wedding.  One that her family and friends would never forget. 

She loved Paul very much.  He was so unique and so very wild in bed.  She would do absolutely anything to keep his love  -- anything at all.

What made this situation a little different than most engagements is that for several years Paul made utrageous demands on Karla -- and Karla, just as outrageously, agreed to them.

Paul was very annoyed that Karla was not a virgin when he met her.  It was, therefore, from his point of view, her responsibility to make it possible for Paul to take the virginity of Karla's pretty younger sister Tammy without her knowledge or consent.  Some people call it rape.  Once Karla accepted that logic, the rest was easy, even the idea of videotaping the whole thing seemed to make sense to her. After all, videotaping was a way to remember important events.

Karla worked in a veterinary clinic so she had a rudimentary knowledge of sedatives used for animals.  The trick was figuring out what and how much to use to knock out Tammy so that Paul could rape her.  Eventually, she decided on using halothane, an anesthetic which animals inhale before surgery.

Stephen Williams in his book Invisible Darkness describes Karla's idea:   "She had really thought this thing with Tammy through.  After all, she did not want to kill her own sister; she just wanted to knock her out and give her to Paul for Christmas.  They sedated animals before they put them to sleep for surgery, so it should be all right to do it to her sister. 

There was some risk without the proper equipment -- she would have to put the halothane on a cloth and hold it over Tammy's face -- but she would make sure Tammy had plenty of air and check her breathing regularly."   A truly organized rape, as only a thoughtful sister could plan.  Maybe even the most thought out and organized rape ever.

December 23, 1990, was the big day -- Tammy's deflowering.  Paul used his new video camcorder to take videos of Mr. and Mrs. Homolka, their daughters, Karla, Tammy and Lori and the Christmas decorations in the house.

Paul plied Tammy with drinks, laced with the sedative Halcion.  The effects of the drugs and alcohol were swift and Tammy was out cold on the couch in no time.  When the other members of the household went up to bed, Karla and Paul started to work on Tammy.  Paul held the camera on Tammy while he raped her, leaving Karla to keep the halothane-laden rag over her sister's face.  Then he ordered Karla to make sexual advances to her sleeping sister.

Suddenly Tammy threw up.  Karla wished her sister hadn't eaten before this event, but Karla knew what to do.  She did what they did in the veterinary clinic.  She held her sister upside down to try to clear her throat.

Only problem was that Tammy choked to death.  Their amateur attempts to revive her failed so they dressed her, hid their drugs and camera and called an ambulance.   The first that Tammy and Karla's parents knew of this tragedy was when they heard the ambulance pull up to the house.  Everybody was led to believe that Tammy had died from accidentally choking on her vomit.

With Tammy no good to him anymore, Paul needed a replacement.

Scarborough Rapist

Paul Bernardo was born into an unusual family.  His mother, Marilyn, had been adopted early in life by the well-to-do Toronto lawyer Gerald Eastman and his wife Elizabeth.  Marilyn was raised in a happy, genteel household.  Her husband, Kenneth Bernardo was the son of an Italian immigrant and a woman of English heritage.   Kenneth's father made a very successful life for himself in the marble and tile business, but was abusive to his wife and children.  Kenneth did not go into the family business but became an accountant instead. 

He and Marilyn married in 1960 after her father disapproved of her other suitor who did not have the education that Eastman demanded in a son-in-law. Eventually,  Kenneth and Marilyn settled in a nice middle-class neighborhood in Scarborough area of Toronto.

The marriage did not go well and Kenneth, like his father, was physically abusive to his wife.  After giving birth to a son and daughter, Marilyn found refuge in the arms of her previous suitor -- the man without the education her father had required for his daughter.  Thus, was Paul Bernardo conceived illegitimately.   

Kenneth was very open minded about this indiscretion and, in August of 1964, the baby's birth certificate gave him the name of Paul Bernardo.  Kenneth had his difficulties as well.  He fondled a young girl and went to court for it.   He started hanging around the neighborhood at night, peeping into the windows of young women.  But worst of all, he started to sexually abuse his young daughter.

Marilyn put on more and more weight.  She became grotesquely obese. Signs of severe depression were very noticeable.  She stopped taking care of the home and the children and withdrew into her own world in the basement of the house.

The children keenly felt the effects of the mental and emotional turmoil in the household.  For a while, it looked as though Paul might have escaped the unhappiness that the older two children had experienced.  Nick Pron in Lethal Marriage describes Paul as a friendly little boy:  "He was always happy.  A young boy who smiled a lot.  And he was so cute, with his dimpled good looks and sweet smile, that many of the mothers just wanted to pinch him on the cheek whenever they saw him.  He was the perfect child they all wanted:  polite, well mannered, doing well in school, so sweet in his Boy Scout uniform"

Later, as he grew up, he became more involved in scouting.   He worked summers as a counselor and he was the most popular one with the children.  The kids loved him and he seemed to enjoy being with them.

The teenage girls also adored him.  He had angelic looks and a shy, pleasing demeanor.  The girls who dated him in high school considered him a thoughtful and considerate lover.

Paul was out to make something of himself.  He was intelligent, worked hard in school and held a series of responsible after-school jobs.  He had a good head for figures and the makings of a good future businessman.

When Paul was sixteen, he got into an argument with his mother and she told him that he was a bastard.  Then, she showed him a photo of his real father.  The effect on Paul was devastating.  After that, he openly mocked and taunted his mother, calling her a "slob" and a "whore."  Considering his mother's infidelity and his father's sick sexual perversions, Paul began to hate his parents.

Then, he started hanging around with some neighborhood boys that had a very negative impact on his behavior.  They were tough, swaggering macho types and petty thieves.   Paul's attitude in general and towards women in particular changed dramatically for the worse.

In the early 1980s, Paul and his friend were recruited into the Amway business.   Scott Burnside and Alan Cairns in Deadly Innocence describe how deeply Paul was influenced by the things he learned from a few of the people who recruited him.   "Paul used Amway techniques in many facets of his life, not only in sales and business but also in personal relationships.  He bought the books and tapes of famous motivational get-rich-and-famous experts.... Although Paul didn't make much money from Amway, the philosophy he embraced from it and other motivational mavericks justified his own crude and selfish longings."  Then his interests moved on to the style of television evangelist Jim Bakker, which he emulated perfectly.

As he and his friends cruised the bars every night, they spun fantastic stories about who they were to any pretty girl that was naive enough to believe their lies.  It seem to pay off and many willing girls spread their legs.

By the time Paul went to college at the University of Toronto, his sexual fantasies had developed a dark side.  Forceful anal sex was his preferred means of  pleasure.   Submissive women were what he sought.  He had a terrible temper and enjoyed humiliating women publicly.  He began beating up the women he dated.

He and his friend Van Smirnis started trafficking in stolen goods while Paul was still in college.  Paul's appetite for toys, clothes and money could not be supported by any normal job.  Paul was always looking for the ultimate scam that would pay him enormous sums of money.

When Paul graduated from college, he got a job as a junior accountant at Price Waterhouse.  His girlfriends, sick of being tied up and beaten, were ready to dump him.  Then in October of 1987, he met the girl of his dreams -- pretty, blond Karla Homolka.

They became sexually obsessed with each other almost immediately.  Unlike the other girls he knew, she encouraged his sadistic sexual behavior.  "Karla, handcuffed, on her knees and begging for him, was scratching an itch.  Paul asked her what she would think if he was a rapist.  She would think it was cool.  Their love deepened.  He started raping women in earnest." (Stephen Williams)

His pattern was usually the same.  When his victim  got off a bus, he would  grab her from behind and pull her to the ground.  After he forced anal sex and fellatio on her, talking to her all the time, he let her go.  Two years later, the number of his sexual assaults had climbed to eleven.  Then there was a several month hiatus and several more rapes in 1988. 

The police were striking out, although they had collected from the women a lot of physical evidence that would help them determine if they had the right suspect.  They also had, what they considered, a good composite drawing of the man who had assaulted the thirteen women.  While the police decided to share that drawing with other policemen in the region, it was not shown to the public for a long time.

All this time, Karla knew exactly what Paul was doing and encouraged him.  One victim even remembered seeing a woman with the rapist with what appeared to be a video camera in her hand.  The police discounted this memory and chalked it up to hysteria on the part of the woman who was raped.  


Karla was obsessed with Paul’s happiness. Her greatest fear was that she would not be able to hold onto this wild and thrilling man who was to become her husband. When he would become bored or distracted, she would either do something to excite him or find another person for him to get excited about. 

Paul harped continually that Tammy was no longer available to him for his sexual pleasure and blamed Karla for causing her death. Karla searched for a replacement for Tammy – someone very young and virginal. Karla knew just the right person, a teenager named Jane, who looked very much like Karla’s dead sister Tammy. Jane would be Karla’s wedding gift to Paul.

Jane idolized Karla as a beautiful, sophisticated role model and gratefully accepted Karla’s invitation to the Bernardos’ new home they rented at 57 Bayview. The first evening, Karla took Jane to dinner and spent hours talking to her and plying her with sweet alcoholic drinks. Jane passed out and slept deeply.

After Jane had passed out from the Halcion tablets that Karla had put in her drinks, Karla called Paul over for his surprise gift. He was thrilled when he saw how much Jane resembled Tammy and she was a virgin as well. He was a bit concerned that Karla was using the same halothane that killed Tammy to subdue Jane, but Karla convinced him that she was in control of the situation this time around.

Once they undressed Jane, Paul videotaped Karla as she made love to the sleeping girl. Then Paul took her virginity. With that accomplished and memorialized in the videotape, he moved on to his favorite fun – a brutal kind of anal sex.  Jane was so drugged that she did not wake up during the whole ordeal.

Karla was left to clean the blood off the fifteen-year-old girl and put her to bed for the night. The next morning, Jane, who was very sick to her stomach and understandably sore, met Paul, -- she thought for the first time.  Jane had no idea what had really happened to her.

While Paul seemed very grateful for the gift of Jane's virginity and was continually amazed at the things Karla would do for him, he was having second thoughts about marrying her. She was, after all, getting old, having already passed her twenty-first birthday and she was a far cry from being the virgin for which he lusted.

Despite his concerns, he went through with it and married Karla in a huge, lavish wedding. "Their wedding was going to be perfect. The historic church in Niagara-on-the-Lake with the white horses and the carriage, champagne, a sit-down dinner for one hundred and fifty guests with veal-stuffed pheasant at Queen’s Landing, no expense spared." (Stephen Williams)

Paul had carefully controlled every detail of the wedding from Karla’s $US 2,000 wedding dress to her hairstyle to the menu and to the inclusion of "love, honor and obey" in Karla’s wedding vow. He would not allow the minister to pronounce them "husband and wife." It had to be "man and wife."

"If it was to be a grand wedding, then people could be expected to donate money and gifts on a similarly grand scale. Paul viewed the entire process as a great business opportunity.  'If I spend fifty dollars a plate, I expect to get a hundred dollars a person,' the junior accountant proclaimed.  He told them he’d set a goal of realizing $50,000 from the wedding." (Burnside and Cairns)

Leslie Mahaffy was a troubled youngster. Her strong, independent personality seemed to be at the root of the problem, which manifested itself in ignoring her curfews, engaging in promiscuous sex, skipping school and even shoplifting. Her parents responded by getting tough on Leslie when she broke the rules.

On Friday, June 14, 1991, Leslie went out for the evening with her friends and stayed out well past her curfew. At 2 A.M., she found herself locked out of her house. She called her girlfriend to ask her if she could spend the night with her, but the girlfriend didn’t think that her mother would allow it at that hour. Leslie told her girlfriend that she was going back home to wake up her parents.

Her friends and family never saw her alive again.

Leslie had actually gone back to her home to see if there was any way to get in without waking her parents. With the worst possible luck imaginable, she encountered Paul Bernardo who was prowling around the neighborhood looking for license plates to steal. Paul had begun augmenting his income by smuggling cigarettes across the border and needed the stolen license plates to disguise his frequent visits across the American-Canadian line. He pulled a knife on Leslie Mahaffy and forced her to go in his car.

Paul took his catch home. While Karla slept, he began to videotape the fourteen-year-old Leslie naked and blindfolded. When Karla woke up, she was very angry that Paul had used their best champagne glasses to entertain his new toy. Finally, Karla came around and started being the obedient wife that Paul demanded.

Paul gave Karla elaborate instructions on how to make love to Leslie. It was the voice of a director in an important film. Every moment had to be just perfect for the videotape he was making. After the prelude with Karla, Paul went in for the rough stuff, while his wife held the camera. The brute force of his anal penetration caused Leslie to scream in pain.

On the evening June 29, 1991, a man and his wife were canoeing on Lake Gibson when they came across a concrete block with some pieces of animal flesh encased in it. Later, he went back to the spot and, with the help of a fisherman, pulled out the concrete block and looked at it closely. Inside the block was the calf and foot of a young woman.

Soon, the place was alive with cops, who found a total of five concrete blocks that had been dumped there in the shallow water. Police theorized that whoever dumped this body in Lake Gibson was not familiar with the area or he would have dumped the concrete blocks over the bridge where the deep water may have kept them a secret forever.

Not long afterwards, the torso of a young woman was found in the water. The body parts that had been found in the concrete block had been cut from her torso with a power saw. Leslie’s distinctive braces provided the clues to her identification.

Paul deprived of his eccentric entertainment was prone to ill humor. This simply would not do. Karla, the ever-dutiful wife called Jane back into service. But Jane was far from the ideal sex slave. First of all, the girl upset them both by refusing to let Paul have intercourse with her (Jane thought she was still a virgin). Oral sex was all she would agree to. Then she told her riding instructor about Paul and the instructor told Jane’s mother. The result was that Paul and Karla had less opportunity to enjoy themselves with Jane. One night, things got out of hand again with the halothane and Jane stopped breathing for awhile. This scared the daylights out of Paul and Karla.

Not only that, Paul was become annoyed with his new wife. He questioned her competence with the halothane. Karla was frantic. She had to do something to put some new romance back into their relationship.

November 30, 1991, pretty and vivacious fourteen-year-old Terri Anderson disappeared.

For a while, another willing girl satisfied their needs, but eventually she moved back to Youngstown, Ohio, and the Bernardos were bereft once again for entertainment. This always created tensions in their marriage – tensions that were unbearable to Karla.

On April 16, 1992, a very popular and attractive teenager named Kristen French was abducted from a church parking lot. Karla had lured the pretty girl over to their car on the pretense of asking directions. When Kristen stood by the car looking at Karla’s map, Paul forced the girl into the backseat with his knife.

At the outset, both Paul and Karla knew that Kristen would have to die. She had clearly seen them, knew where they lived and had seen their dog. Even so, they didn’t want Kristen to figure this out, particularly since she was bigger than Karla was and fairly strong despite her youth.

Kristen, who was a smart girl, did everything she could to cooperate with this depraved couple and their outrageous and humiliating demands. She believed that cooperation was her only chance for survival. The ordeal became worse and worse. The more she cooperated, the more sadistic Paul became.

"’I’m going to piss on you, okay? Then I’m going to shit on you.’ Paul said in a whisper…Kristen did not move, even when he slapped her face with his semi-erect penis.

"’Don’t make me mad. Don’t make me hurt you,’ he said, urging her to smile when he rubbed his groin into her face.

"’Don’t worry, I won’t piss in your face.’

Finally, he stood over her and urinated. Then he moved. Turning his buttocks into her face, he squatted over her face and tried to defecate on her without success.

"’You’re a fucking piece of shit. But I like you,’ he told her. ‘You look good covered in piss.’" (Stephen Williams)

The indignities went on for a day or two, all meticulously captured on video for the future enjoyment of the newlyweds. Then came the final and worst indignity of all for Kristen French, but her death was not captured on film.

On April 30, 1992, Kristen’s body was found in a ditch. Her naked body had not been dismembered like Leslie’s, leading the investigators to erroneously conclude that the murders of the two teenagers were not connected.

On May 23, 1992, the body of Terri Anderson, who had been missing since the previous November, was found in the water at Port Dalhousie. The medical examiner saw no evidence of foul play, despite the difficulties of determining such factors in a body that had been in the water for six months. The coroner ruled that her death was by drowning, probably as a result of drinking beer and taking LSD.

"Inspector Bevan and the coroner were asking Mr. Anderson to accept that his daughter, who had been an excellent student, cheerleader and a generally well-adjusted child, had, under the influence of a few beers and a hit of blotter acid, gone out and in a stupor neither he nor her friends had perceived, walked into the freezing November waters of Lake Ontario and drowned." (Stephen Williams)

The Investigation

The police first became aware of the handiwork of Paul Bernardo in his incarnation as the Scarborough Rapist. Detective Constable Steve Irwin of Toronto’s Metropolitan Police was deeply involved in that particular serial rape case. There were a lot of similarities in the stories the victims told and police were sure that it was one man.

As Stephen Williams points out, serial rapists are fairly rare creatures. "They are invariably acting out some kind of strange, private fantasy, so the details of their crimes are distinctive…In the earlier assaults, the women had all just left buses, they were accosted from behind, the guy had been rough but he did not really ‘rape’ them. He had fondled them sexually, penetrating the last one with his fingers…the descriptions of a well-groomed young man who had good teeth and did not smell bad. The rapist talked all the time he was assaulting his victims, and he wanted to hear certain, specific things. All of the attacks had occurred within a short radius of Scarborough’s Guildwood Village.

Just before Christmas, 1987, one of his victim’s gave a very specific description of her rapist. He was good looking, about six feet tall, clean-shaven and had no tattoos. Her description and the composite picture she helped develop resulted in the exact likeness of Paul Bernardo. But the police did not publish the photo.

One of Paul’s old girlfriends, Jennifer Galligan, had gone to the police several times about Paul regarding his brutal rape, physical abuse of her, and his threats to do her bodily harm. There were coincidences which tied Bernardo to the rapes that were going on at that same time: the rapist drove a white Capri and so did Bernardo; Bernardo lived in the vicinity of where the rapes took place. A report was filed, but nothing came of it.

Finally, in May of 1990, years after the rapes began, the police decided to finally publish the composite picture, which the victims had agreed upon as the likeness of their attacker. That picture, plus the $150,000 reward, initiated a flood of tips.

By this time, Paul had quit his position with Price Waterhouse and was living entirely on his cigarette-smuggling income. But once his former colleagues at the accounting firm saw the newspaper picture, they marveled at how much it resembled Paul. An employee of Paul’s bank contacted the police and reported that Bernardo looked liked the picture. However, at this point in time, the police were inundated with similar calls and did not have the manpower to follow up on all of them.

Detective Steve Irwin centralized all the physical evidence gathered from the rape victims under one individual, Kim Johnston, in the forensic laboratory. From the semen samples, she was able to determine that the rapist was a non-secretor and his blood type factors, which put him in 12.8 percent of the male population.

Eventually, a number of Paul’s acquaintances contacted the police about him and Irwin paid Bernardo a visit. Paul did not strike Irwin as the kind of personality to be a serial rapist, but he took a blood, saliva and hair sample from Paul anyway. The samples, along with 230 samples from other suspects, were handed over to Kim Johnston. Only 5 of the 230 samples fit the blood factors of the attacker. Paul Bernardo was one of those five. His sample was resubmitted for additional testing in April of 1992. By that time, the Scarborough Rapist had mysteriously ended his attacks and the case did not have the urgency and priorities that it had two years earlier when the attacks were in progress.

The Scarborough Rapist samples went onto the back burner.

Now that Paul and Karla were living and murdering in St. Catharine’s, the police investigation was centered in the Niagara Falls area. Superintendent Vince Bevan was in charge once the body of Leslie Mahaffy was found. After the death of Kristen French, the Ontario government formed the Green Ribbon Task Force. Hotlines and a base of operations were set up just outside St. Catherine’s. Forensic experts of the American FBI advised the task force.

Later when Kristen French was abducted, a woman remembered seeing a struggle going on in a car at the scene. While she was not familiar with various makes of cars, she thought it was a Camaro. Vince Bevan focused on tracking the ownership of all the Camaros in the region.

Meanwhile, Bernardo’s name surfaced once again from one of the many tips that police received. Two policemen called on Paul at his 57 Bayview home. Paul was very gracious and polite during the interview and admitted that he had been a suspect in the Scarborough rapes because of his facial similarities to the composite picture. The police noted that Paul was very clean-cut and good looking, that he was intelligent and cooperative and that his home was very clean and orderly. They also noted that he drove a Nissan, which looked nothing like a Camaro.

Nevertheless, the two policemen tried to contact Detective Steve Irwin in Toronto to ask about the results of the inquiry into the Scarborough Rapist. Eight days later, Irwin responded to the message and explained that final testing of Bernardo’s blood and saliva samples had not been done. Thus, technically, Bernardo had not been cleared as a suspect. Irwin sent the task force some information, but neglected to send results of the interviews with friends of Paul who had tipped off the police about him, a woman’s report that Bernardo was stalking her and the police reports filed by his former girlfriend, Jennifer Galligan. Consequently, Bernardo was not pursued as a suspect.

Incredibly enough, in February of 1993, several years after blood samples had been taken from Paul Bernardo, the forensic laboratory in Toronto finally got around to analyzing his blood. The tests proved conclusively that Bernardo had raped the three women victims from whom they had semen samples.

Had the laboratory been speedier, Paul Bernardo would have been in jail instead of raping more women and murdering several school girls!

Despite this irony, Detective Irwin excitedly put Bernardo under surveillance.

What he learned was that Bernardo had just been charged with assault in St. Catharine’s.

The assault charges had been filed by his wife Karla.


When Paul started using Karla as a punching bag in the summer of 1992, he really compromised his future. Regardless of the insane things that Karla put up with from Paul, physically abusing her pushed her to the limit. But even with two black eyes and serious bruises, she didn’t leave him. In early January 1993, her parents intervened and persuaded Karla to take refuge in the home of one of her sister Lori’s friends, whose husband was a Toronto cop. The Niagara police were brought into the situation and took Karla to the hospital. All of this was before the Toronto police had the forensic evidence to convict Paul as the Scarborough Rapist.

In early February, when the police investigation of Paul intensified, both the Toronto police and the Ontario Green Ribbon Task Force wanted to interview Karla. They also wanted to fingerprint her and question her about a Mickey Mouse watch that was very similar to Kristen French’s watch.

Initially, several Toronto detectives interviewed Karla for almost five hours. By the kinds of questions they asked, Karla understood that the police had tied together the Scarborough rapes with the murders in St. Catharine’s. Karla was understandably nervous and told her uncle that Paul was the serial rapist and that he killed Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.

Karla got herself a real good lawyer. As a veterinary assistant, Karla had taken special care with the cancer-stricken Dalmation of lawyer George Walker. Over a period of many interviews with Karla, George Walker realized that she was not necessarily the innocent victim of Paul Bernardo that she painted herself to be. Yet, he did not really understand at that point just what exactly her role had been in these crimes. Some kind of immunity would have been desirable for his client, but he really wasn’t sure what could be negotiated on her behalf in exchange for complete cooperation.

In mid-February, Bernardo was arrested in conjunction with both the Scarborough rapes and the murders of Mahaffy and French. Karla was shocked and afraid. She assuaged her anxieties with large amounts of painkillers and alcohol.

On February 19, police executed the search warrants for Paul and Karla’s house and found an amazing amount of evidence. Paul had a written description of every one of the Scarborough rapes plus an extensive library of books and videos on sexual deviation, pornography and serial killers.

The police also found one brief home video that indicated that there had been more than one lascivious person in the Bernardo household. Quite explicitly, the short video showed Karla as an enthusiastic lesbian in sexual acts with two other women. A week later, George Walker and Murray Segal, a plea-bargain specialist for the attorney general, discussed the deal for Karla. Karla would get twelve years in prison for each of the two victims, but the sentences would be served concurrently. She would be eligible for parole in a little over three years with good behavior. The government even agreed to contact the parole board on Karla’s behalf, pointing out to them the importance of her testimony against Paul. Segal would do what he could to arrange for Karla to serve out her sentence in a psychiatric hospital instead of prison. The trial would be very brief and she would waive her right to a preliminary hearing.

In exchange for this leniency, Karla would agree to tell the absolute truth about her involvement in the crimes and everything she knew about them. Karla agreed unconditionally.

In early March, Karla was checked into a psychiatric hospital for assessment. She was given heavy doses of drugs and insisted on being given even larger doses. Eventually, Karla got up the nerve to write an important letter to her parents:

Dear Mom, Dad and Lori,

This is the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write and you’ll probably all hate me once you read it. I’ve kept this inside myself for so long and I just can’t lie to you any more. Both Paul and I are responsible for Tammy’s death. Paul was "in love" with her and wanted to have sex with her. He wanted me to help him. He wanted me to get sleeping pills from work to drug her with. He threatened me and physically and emotionally abused me when I refused. No words I can say can make you understand what he put me through. So stupidly I agreed to do as he said. But something – maybe the combination of drugs and the food she ate that night – caused her to vomit. I tried so hard to save her. I am so sorry. But no words I can say can bring her back…I would gladly give my life for hers. I don’t expect you to ever forgive me, for I will never forgive myself.

Karla -XOXO

Karla’s trial had a media circus atmosphere about it when it began on June 28, 1993. Burnside and Cairns described the defendant: "Karla sat impassively, wearing a green jacket over a one piece green dress that seemed oversized and somehow too broad for her slender shoulders. On her feet were black shoes with a slight heel. Unlike her court appearance a month earlier, when she wore a schoolgirl’s tartan kilt and blazer, Karla now looked somewhat matronly. Yet her clothes were out of place with the false eyelashes, deep-red lipstick, and heavily caked foundation on her face. If she was matronly, then she was a matronly Lolita."

Her psychiatric report helped set the stage for the plea-bargain deal. Dr. Malcolm, the psychologist, concluded that Karla "knew what was happening but she felt totally helpless and unable to act in her own defense or in anyone else’s defense. She was in my opinion paralyzed with fear and in that state became obedient and self-serving.

At the end of the trial, the media people left, allowed only to report a few of the details so that the jury pool that would be selected in the future for Paul’s trial would not be tainted by information they heard or read before the trial.

Expecting a public outcry over the plea bargain, Murray Segal chose to make a statement: "Why not a greater penalty in light of the horrendous facts? Without her, the true state of affairs might never be known. A guilty plea is the traditional hallmark of remorse. Her age, her lack of criminal record, the abuse and the influence of her husband, and her somewhat secondary role were factors. She's unlikely to re-offend."

Karla left the trial after receiving the agreed sentence and prepared herself for what was sure to be an ordeal – the trial of her husband Paul Bernardo.


The trial of Paul Bernardo was delayed for two years after his arrest. One of the reasons for the delay was that Bernardo had placed his first lawyer, Ken Murray, in a very difficult ethical situation. Bernardo had given Murray the videotapes that he and Karla had made of their adventures, believing that by doing so, they would never get into the hands of prosecutors.

However, the prosecutors knew of the videotapes from Karla and had wiretapped Murray's conversations with Bernardo. Eventually, the pressure increased and Murray had to do something about the videotapes in his possession. The videotapes were turned over to the prosecutors and Murray withdrew from the case. Veteran defense lawyer John Rosen took his place as Bernardo's lawyer. This series of activities alone caused a delay of one year in the start of the trial.

In May of 1995, Bernardo's trial began in Judge Patrick LeSage's courtroom with the videotapes as critical pieces of evidence. Bernardo faced two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of forcible confinement, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of performing an indignity on a human body.

"For a public who had been denied access to information revealed at Karla Homolka's trial almost two years earlier, the day-long opening address of lead prosecutor Ray Houlahan was a relentless avalanche of sexual degradation, brutality and murder. In painstaking detail, Houlahan …described the Crown's belief that Paul had first dominated Karla, reducing her to a compliant victim through systematic physical and mental abuse, then used her to exploit his sexual fantasies in the rape of Tammy Homolka, a rape in which Karla participated. Unable to shake free of Paul's violent control and scared he would reveal her role in Tammy's death to her parents, Karla then took part in the rapes and murders of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy."

Crown prosecutor Ray Houlahan began with a segment showing Karla naked, masturbating, with the camera focused on her vagina.

Nick Pron in Lethal Marriage describes the electrifying effect the video had on the courtroom: "Gasps of surprise and disgust, perhaps even shock, along with plenty of embarrassed giggles, could be heard throughout the courtroom as the camera lingered on Homolka's exposed body for several minutes as she stimulated herself... For the previous two years, ever since her arrest, Homolka's face had been almost as well known as the prime minister's. She had been seen on television in footage taken at her wedding, with her friends, and at her trial…But few people in the courtroom that day were expecting to see a triple X-rated tape, a close study of the country's most infamous woman in a variety of sexually explicit positions."

It seemed like an odd way for the prosecutor to treat his star witness, however Houlahan explained that the dialog in the videos had been scripted by Bernardo and was a good example of how he forced his will on Karla.

The tape was clearly geared to sexually excite Bernardo as Karla talked of procuring thirteen-year-old virgins for him to rape. The whole dialog was an articulation of Bernardo's sexual fantasies with the goal of bringing him to a climax. Karla played the role of the sex slave and Bernardo was "the king."

As more of these videotapes of Leslie, Kristen and Jane were shown, the jury was provided with indisputable and powerful evidence of Paul Bernardo's sexual depravity. As if that were not enough, Karla was called to the stand to elaborate on what the jurors had just seen and heard.

What she described in her relationship with Paul was an escalating theme of sexual degradation similar to what Paul had begun with other girlfriends before he met Karla. In Karla, the willing victim, the degradation knew no boundaries. He made her wear a dog's "choke" collar; he inserted a wire bottle into her vagina; and he almost strangled her with a wire cord to satisfy his sadistic fantasies. Paul told her that his choke fantasy was "important to him and it wouldn't hurt anybody." He told her that she was nothing without him and he would call her names, like slut, bitch, and cunt.

When the defense had its turn in the courtroom, John Rosen attacked Karla's credibility. His goal was to show that she was not the victim she portrayed herself to be, but a willing participant in the couple's rape and murder spree.

He was, at least, successful in showing Karla to be a morally vacuous woman with no remorse for her part in these crimes. In particular, Kristen's murder had to be committed at a particular time so that Karla and Paul could spend Easter dinner with Karla's parents. Immediately after Kristen was strangled, Karla left to blow dry her hair. If it was not immediately clear at the trial, it became clear shortly after, that Karla had cleverly manipulated the circumstances of her cooperation with the government to engineer one of the worst deals that the Canadian government had ever made with a criminal witness.

Regardless of Karla's degree of guilt or innocence and the deal she had made with the authorities, it did not save Bernardo from the outrage that he kindled in the minds of the jurors. On September 1, 1995, Bernardo was convicted on all the charges against him regarding the kidnappings, rapes and murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. He also faced trials in the death of Tammy Homolka and the serial rapes in Scarborough. Under Canadian law, Bernardo can apply for parole after twenty-five years in prison, although it is unlikely that he would be successful in any parole bid.

Latest Update February 2001

by Patrick Bellamy

Karla Homolka's safety became a growing concern for her lawyer after he was made aware of an Internet death pool that allegedly took bets on when Homolka would be killed.

At the time, Homolka was housed at the Pinel Institute, a psychiatric hospital in Montreal after being transferred there in early February for a treatment program after she spent more than two months under psychiatric evaluation in Saskatoon.

According to her lawyer, Homolka has discovered at least two or three Web sites that contain threats against her, including the betting pool.  One site is called "Karla Homolka Death Pool: When the Game is Over, We All Win."  While the site states clearly it does not condone violence against Homolka, it solicits bets on the exact day she will die.  The strongest bets are for June and July 2001.  The rules state players are not allowed to fix the bet by killing her themselves or having someone else do it.  Homolka, who is using the alias Karla Teale while in prison, is taking the threats seriously.

The threats came at a time when two out of three psychiatrists had recommended that Homolka is still too dangerous to be released forcing corrections officials to make recommendations to the National Parole Board to keep her in prison until her sentence expires in 2005.  Homolka's lawyer said that Homolka still wants to return to Joliette prison and stay there for the rest of her term.  Labelle said Homolka feels it's the only place in Canada where she won't be murdered.  He said she also intends to waive opposition to her detention hearing.

Prior to Homolka's transfer to Pinel, corrections officials had told Labelle that his client would go to St. Anne-des-Plaines maximum-security prison, one of the most notorious federal institutions in Quebec.  Labelle suggested that Homolka will almost certainly launch a federal court challenge if she is sent anywhere but Joliette.

On March 8, 2001, Karla Homolka was officially denied early statutory release.  The National Parole Board released its ruling after a review of the case, ordering that Homolka remain detained past her July release eligibility date.  ''The board is satisfied that, if released, you are likely to commit an offence causing the death of or serious harm to another person before the expiration of the sentence you are now serving,'' said the order.  The families of her schoolgirl victims are delighted with the result, according to Tim Danson, their lawyer. 

According to the board report, the gravity of her crimes is part of the reason she was detained.  ''The judge described those acts as monstrous and depraved,'' said the report. ''All these crimes are extremely grave ... the fact that you continued your crimes after the death of your sister, which occurred during your sexual abuse of her, demonstrates clearly your difficulty in controlling your violent sexual impulses to the point of putting in danger the safety of others.  Your modus operandi demonstrates a high degree of indifference to the consequences of your acts.''

The report added that Corrections didn't know of any surveillance program Homolka could participate in outside prison that would sufficiently protect the public. It also noted that Homolka had expressed worry about her own safety in the community.

Canadian law requires that when the Correctional Service of Canada feels a case requires detention beyond the two-thirds point, it be referred to the board at least six months before the statutory release date.  The law also requires that the board review the case every year after the statutory release date until the expiry of her sentence, which is in July 2005. 

At the time of the board’s announcement, Homolka said that she wouldn’t contest the ruling and indicated that she may leave Canada after she has served her full sentence.



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