Karla Homolka

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Karla Homolka
Born(1970-05-04) 4 May 1970 (age 43)
Port Credit, Ontario, Canada
Other namesLeanne Teale, Leanne Bordelais, Emily Bordelais
Criminal chargeManslaughter
Criminal penalty12 years imprisonment
Criminal statusUnconditionally released 4 July 2005[1]
Spouse(s)Paul Bernardo (1991-1994)
Thierry Bordelais (2007-present)
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Karla Homolka
Born(1970-05-04) 4 May 1970 (age 43)
Port Credit, Ontario, Canada
Other namesLeanne Teale, Leanne Bordelais, Emily Bordelais
Criminal chargeManslaughter
Criminal penalty12 years imprisonment
Criminal statusUnconditionally released 4 July 2005[1]
Spouse(s)Paul Bernardo (1991-1994)
Thierry Bordelais (2007-present)

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 accomplice who helped her husband murder at least two women. 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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4] In 2012, journalist Paula Todd found Homolka living in Guadeloupe, under the name Leanne Bordelais, with her husband and their three children.[5]

Early life[edit]

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 veterinary clinic 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.


Tammy Homolka[edit]

During the summer of 1990, Bernardo became obsessed with Karla's younger sister Tammy. Homolka agreed to assist Bernardo in drugging Tammy, seeing "an opportunity to minimize risk, take control, and keep it all in the family."[6] In July, "according to Bernardo's testimony, he and Karla served Tammy a spaghetti dinner spiked with Valium stolen from Karla's workplace. Bernardo raped Tammy for about a minute before she started to wake up."[7]

Six months before their wedding in 1991, Homolka stole the anesthetic agent halothane from the Martindale Veterinarian Clinic where she worked. On 23 December 1990, "after a Homolka family Christmas party, Bernardo and Karla Homolka drugged Tammy Homolka with the animal tranquilizers. Bernardo and Karla Homolka raped Tammy while she was unconscious. Tammy later choked on her own vomit and died. Bernardo told police he tried to revive her, but failed, and her death was ruled an accident."[7] Before calling 911, they hid the evidence, redressed Tammy, who had a chemical burn on her face, and moved her into her basement bedroom. A few hours later Tammy was pronounced dead at St. Catharines General Hospital without having regained consciousness.

Leslie Mahaffy[edit]

On 15 June 1991, two weeks before his wedding, Bernardo – while stealing licence plates to aid in a cigarette smuggling scheme he had devised – met Leslie Mahaffy, who was standing at the door of her Burlington home. Leslie had told her parents she would be home by 11 p.m., after attending the wake of her friend who had died in a car crash – she arrived home at 2 a.m. The two spoke for some time and went back to Bernardo's car for a cigarette, at which point he forced her into the car and drove her to his house, 53 kilometres away. There, Homolka and Bernardo held Leslie Mahaffy hostage for 24 hours, repeatedly sexually assaulting her. They recorded the assaults on videotape, including one scene in which Homolka pretties herself for the camera before raping the girl. Eventually, they killed her.

Homolka claimed later that Bernardo had strangled the heavily drugged Mahaffy with an electrical cord. Bernardo said that she died while he was out of the room, that Homolka had killed her with an overdose of Halcion. They put her body into the basement until they could decide how to get rid of it.

The following day Homolka's parents and Lori visited for Father's Day dinner. After they left, the pair cut up Leslie Mahaffy's body and disposed of it in cement blocks. Bernardo dismembered the body with a circular saw in a makeshift plastic tent in the basement. The body parts then were encased in cement and dumped in Lake Gibson.

On June 29, a couple canoeing on the lake at the edge of St. Catharines found the badly prepared cement blocks, one of which had split open to reveal its contents. That very day, at about the same time, Homolka and Bernardo were married in a lavish ceremony, riding together in a horse-drawn carriage at Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Kristen French[edit]

On 16 April 1992, Homolka and Bernardo drove into a St. Catharines church parking lot, having spotted Kristen French. Homolka stepped out of the car with a map, pretending to be lost, and asking for directions from French. Bernardo then forced her into the car at knifepoint. There were several witnesses, who did not realize what they were seeing.

Homolka and Bernardo took French to Port Dalhousie, where for three days they sexually assaulted, abused, and tortured her. Each gave an account blaming the other. Bernardo claimed that Homolka had beaten Kristen French with a mallet as she tried to escape, and she was strangled on a noose tied around her neck secured to a hope chest. Homolka immediately left to blow-dry her hair.

From the outset, Kristen French's disappearance was treated as a criminal matter. Unlike Leslie Mahaffy, she did not have disagreements at home and had a dog that required scheduled walks and feeding; when she did not arrive on time her parents immediately contacted police. The witnesses recalled what they thought was a Camaro – Bernardo's car was a gold Nissan 240SX.


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, a Niagara Regional Police Service 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[edit]

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 Toronto 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[edit]

Citing the need to protect Bernardo's right to a fair trial, a publication ban was imposed on Homolka's preliminary inquiry.[8]

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.[9]

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 alt.fan.karla-homolka[10] 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" the correspondent's report: "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."[11][dubious ]

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.[9] 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.[12]

Plea bargain controversy[edit]

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."[13]

Search warrants[edit]

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 lawyer on the defence team, were deeply experienced in criminal law 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.[14] 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.[15]


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.[14]

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.[16]

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." [7]

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[edit]

Homolka's plea bargain had been offered before the contents of the videotapes were available for review.[17][18] 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."[19]

Although the contents of the videotapes would likely have led to a conviction of murder for Homolka,[19] 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.[18] 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."[18]

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.[20] 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.[21]

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 dissimulated 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.[22] Homolka sued the government after her transfer to a Montreal halfway house was denied.[23]

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."[24] 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.[25] 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".[26]

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."[25] 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."[25]

Again, it demonstrated Blatchford's observation that "what is particularly compelling – and telling – is how radically different are the faces she presents"[26] 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".[27] 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.[28]

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."[29] Tim Danson, lawyer for the victims' families, has said that she has never apologized to them.

Homolka took correspondence courses in sociology through nearby Queen's University[30] 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,[31] although, she told author Stephen Williams in a subsequent letter, "I did get some financial assistance".[32] Homolka later graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Queen's.[33] 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.[24]

The complexities and challenges of completing behavioural studies of women who are suspected of having psychopathic traits have been noted in the forensic literature.[34] 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.[35]

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."[36]

Williams, who wrote Invisible Darkness,[37] 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."[38] 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.[39] 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.[40] 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.[36] 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".[36]


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,"[41] 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."[42] While the NPB noted that she had made some progress toward rehabilitation[42] 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.[42] 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."[43]

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.[43] 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.[43] 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."[43]

According to the Sun, Meuneer later began living with Véronneau.[43] 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.[44] 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.[44] 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.[41] 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."[41]

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.’"[45] "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.[46]

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."[46] "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."[46]

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.
  7. She was forbidden from consuming drugs other than prescription medicine.
  8. She was required to continue therapy and counselling.
  9. She was required to provide police with a DNA sample.[3][47]

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.[48]

On June 10, 2005, Senator Michel Biron declared that the conditions placed on Homolka were "totalitarian", according to an interview with CTV Newsnet.[49] Two weeks later, Biron apologized.[50]

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.[51] 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.[51] 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.[51]

Freedom and relocation to Guadeloupe[edit]

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.[52]

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.[53] On December 6, 2005, the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld Brunton's decision.[54] The Quebec Justice Department decided not to take the case to the Supreme Court, despite Ontario's urging.[55]

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).[1]

Sun Media reported in 2007 that Homolka had given birth to a baby boy.[56] 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.[4] 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.'[4][57]

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.[58]

Possibility of pardon[edit]

On April 19, 2010, The Vancouver Sun reported that Homolka would be eligible to seek pardon for her crimes in the summer of 2010.[59][dated info] 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.[60]

In popular culture[edit]

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.[61]

Episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Close to Home[which?] 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.

The MSNBC documentary series Dark Heart, Iron Hand devoted an episode to the case, which was later rebroadcast as an episode of the series MSNBC Investigates, retitled "To Love and To Kill".[62][63]

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.[64] The episode aired on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

The premiere episode of Wicked Attraction, a television show which focuses on couples who commit heinous crimes, focuses on Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. The episode, entitled "The Perfect Couple" first aired on August 7, 2008.

Movie Karla[edit]

In 2004, Quantum Entertainment released the film Karla (which had the working title Deadly),[65] starring Laura Prepon as Homolka and Misha Collins as Bernardo. Tim Danson, lawyer for the French and Mahaffy families, was given a private screening, and announced that the families had no objection to the film's release.[citation needed] Nevertheless, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty called for a boycott.[citation needed] The film was given a limited released in Canada by Christal Films.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Homolka loses bid to change name". CBC News. 2006-06-09. Retrieved 2009-05-17. [dead link]
  2. ^ Jenish, D'Arcy (1995-09-11). "Bernardo Convicted". Maclean's. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  3. ^ a b "CBC News In Depth: Bernardo". CBC News. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c "Karla Homolka has left Canada for the Caribbean: report". Canada.com. 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  5. ^ "Karla Homolka lives in Guadeloupe and has three children, new book reveals", Globe and Mail, June 21, 2012
  6. ^ Williams, Stephen: Invisible Darkness, Little, Brown Company (1996)
  7. ^ a b c "Key events in the Bernardo/Homolka case". CBC News. June 17, 2010. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Bernardo Trial Gets Underway". Thecanadianencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  9. ^ a b "Murder Trial in Canada Stirs Press Freedom Fight." New York Times. December 10, 1993.
  10. ^ "Dov Wisebrod, "The Homolka Information Ban"". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  11. ^ "The Barbie-Ken Murders". Newweek. December 6, 1993. p. 36. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  12. ^ "Freedom Party International – Consent 24 – December 1995". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-07-29. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  13. ^ "Microsoft Word – Word_rr_English.doc". Justice.gc.ca. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  14. ^ a b "Paul Bernardo's former lawyer continues his testimony". CBC News. April 18, 2000. 
  15. ^ "Victim Privacy and the Open Court Principle Chapter Five: Perspectives (continued)". Justice.gc.ca. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  16. ^ Henry Hess and Michael Grange (January 24, 1997). "Bernardo's ex-lawyers charged". The Globe & Mail. 
  17. ^ Plea bargains; Necessary function of justice, or deals with the devil?[dead link]
  18. ^ a b c "Plea bargaining". Justice.gc.ca. 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  19. ^ a b ""A moral vacuity in her which is difficult if not impossible to explain": law, psychiatry and the remaking of Karla Homolka". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  20. ^ *Williams SJ (2004). "Cellblock A". Karla: a pact with the devil. Toronto: Seal Books. ISBN 0-7704-2962-9. 
  21. ^ "Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka – Timeline: Apr 18, 1992". Bad Girls Do It. 
  22. ^ Harris, Michael. "Con Game: The Truth about Canada's Prisons", 2003. p. 133
  23. ^ Homolka sues Ottawa for violating her rights , National Post, November 3, 1999, Janice Tibbetts
  24. ^ a b "The new and self-improved Karla Homolka". The Globe and Mail. 1999-11-06. 
  25. ^ a b c "June 2005 – Posts". Opinionated Lesbian. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  26. ^ a b Blatchford, C (2005-06-30). "Homolka – In letters: With Karla Homolka's release imminent, her exchanges with author Stephen Williams shed new light on the mind of a 'good girl'". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 2009-05-17. [dead link]
  27. ^ Cairns, A; Felon B (2005-06-01). "Ex-pal: Karla psychopath – Wants her jailed for life". Toronto Sun. 
  28. ^ "Homolka prison letters pulled from Ebay". Toronto: Toronto Star. 11 January 2006. [dead link]
  29. ^ "Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka, Serial Killer and Rapist Team – The Crime library". Trutv.com. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  30. ^ "Homolka's Plea Bargain Revealed". Thecanadianencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  31. ^ Letter from Homolka to Williams, November 24, 2001, cited on http://www.theglobeandmail.com/partners/free/khletters/
  32. ^ Letter from Homolka to Williams, December 11, 2001, cited on http://www.theglobeandmail.com/partners/free/khletters/
  33. ^ Homolka readies for life on the outside CTV.ca – by Angela Mulholland – May. 24, 2005(accessed November 21, 2010.
  34. ^ Perri, Frank S. and Lichtenwald, Terrance G. (2010). “The Last Frontier: Myths & The Female Psychopathic Killer.” Forensic Examiner, 19:2, 50–67.
  35. ^ Perri, Frank S. and Lichtenwald, Terrance G. (2008). The Arrogant Chameleons: Exposing Fraud Detection Homicide Forensic Examiner, 26–33.
  36. ^ a b c Post, National (2005-05-30). "Karla the victim?". Canada.com. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  37. ^ "Invisible Darkness". Stephenwilliamsbooks.com. 2000-11-30. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  38. ^ "main". Toronto: Theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  39. ^ "Homolka at low risk of reoffending: psychiatrist". CBC News. June 3, 2005. [dead link]
  40. ^ "The Case Against Karla". Truecrime.net. 1990-12-24. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  41. ^ a b c Charlie Gillis. "Karla Homolka to Be Released from Prison in July". Thecanadianencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  42. ^ a b c "Parole Board keeps Karla Homolka behind bars for 7 more months". CBC News. December 16, 2004. [dead link]
  43. ^ a b c d e Alan Cairns (January 19, 2003). "CRUEL KARLA: Homolka's former cell pal speaks out about love gone wrong". Toronto Sun. 
  44. ^ a b The National Post, Nov. 14, 2005, by Rollande Parent
  45. ^ "Serial killer news – Homolka, Karla". Crimezzz.net. 2005-07-04. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  46. ^ a b c "Homolka readies for life on the outside". Ctv.ca. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  47. ^ "Judge says Homolka still poses threat, imposes strict conditions on her freedom". CBC News. June 4, 2005. Archived from the original on February 1, 2008. Retrieved Feb. 16, 2009. 
  48. ^ "Homolka hated for her lack of remorse: author". Ctv.ca. 2005-06-26. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  49. ^ "Senator defends attending Homolka hearing". Ctv.ca. 2005-06-10. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  50. ^ "Senator apologizes for supporting Homolka". Ctv.ca. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  51. ^ a b c "CBC News Indepth: Bernardo". CBC News. [dead link]
  52. ^ Homolka spotted in Montreal suburb: newspaper Aug. 22 2005
  53. ^ To represent her before this jurisdiction, Homolka had hired high-profile lawyer Christian Desrosiers.Homolka now free without conditions
  54. ^ "Court rejects Crown appeal of Homolka conditions". Ctv.ca. 2005-12-07. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  55. ^ http://web02.nm.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/12/07/homolka_appeal051207.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  56. ^ "Karla has baby boy". Cnews.canoe.ca. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  57. ^ Vincent Larouche (December 15, 2007). "Homolka moves to Caribbean". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  58. ^ "Homolka living in Caribbean with three kids - Canada - Canoe.ca". Cnews.canoe.ca. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  59. ^ Tibbetts, Janice (April 19, 2010). "No way to stop Homolka from applying for pardon". 
  60. ^ No Pardon For Homolka[dead link]
  61. ^ Paul's Case: Insomniac Chapters.indigo.ca
  62. ^ MSNBC Investigates, "To Love and To Kill...a classic program from our Crime Files." Retrieved September 5, 2007.
  63. ^ MSNBC Investigates episode schedule. Retrieved September 5, 2007.
  64. ^ "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Bittersweet Episode Summary". TV.com. 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  65. ^ Homolka movie to debut at Montreal film fest CBC News – July 25, 2005 (accessed November 21, 2010)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]