Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
The Scarborough Rapist
Paul Bernardo was born to Kenneth and Marilyn Bernardo, the youngest of 3 children. Paul’s mother, Marilyn, was the adopted daughter of Toronto lawyer Gerald Eastman and his wife Elizabeth. Paul’s father, Kenneth, was the son of an Italian immigrant. Kenneth’s father owned and operated a marble and tile business. He was also known to be quite abusive towards his wife and children.
In 1960, Kenneth and Marilyn were married. They eventually settled down in a middle class district located in the Scarborough region of Toronto. The union had many problems though. Kenneth, like his father, was very abusive towards his wife. After giving birth to a son and daughter, Marilyn had an affair with a previous lover and became pregnant with Paul. Kenneth came to accept his wife’s infidelity and on August 27, 1964, the child was born. The baby’s birth certificate listed the child's name as Paul Bernardo.
Paul’s childhood was not a particularly blissful one. His father worked long hours and his mother was not very attentive and seemed to be remarkably self-absorbed. As Paul grew older, he became involved in scouts. He would even spend his summers working as a counsellor for younger children. Paul was resolved that he would one day be somebody and make something of himself. He was quite intellectual, and he worked hard in school.
When Paul was 16, he got into a fierce argument with his mother. In a frenzy she came out and told him the devastating news that he was actually a ”bastard”. Paul was crushed by this divulgement that all he had come to know was a lie based on his mother's reluctance to keep her legs closed to men other than his father. Paul would soon come to openly refer to his mother as a "whore”. Paul’s father, Kenneth, was meanwhile in the court system on charges that he had fondled a young girl. He also began snooping around the neighborhood at night, peeping into the windows of young women. Soon he graduated to sexually abusing his young daughter. Now presented with the infidelity and his father’s disgusting sexual perversions, Paul began to hate his parents with a passion.
In the early 1980's, Paul bought books and tapes of motivational get-rich speakers. He soon began working as a salesman for Amway™ to try to hone his business skills. He eventually decided to enrol in college at the University of Toronto in the fall of 1983. It was around this time that Paul seemed to develop a taste for radically kinky sex, dominant anal sex and subjugation appeared to be his most preferred means of pleasure. He would seek out naive and pliant women to fulfill these desires. Paul also developed a violent temper and began to enjoy degrading women publicly. In addition, he also began to beat the women he dated.
Paul and a childhood friend Van Smirnis, soon began trafficking stolen goods. Paul’s craving for luxury items could not be mollified by any normal job. He seemed to always be searching for the ultimate scam that would put him on easy street for good.
In 1987, Paul graduated college and got a job as a junior accountant for Price Waterhouse accounting firm. In October of 1987, it seems Paul met the girl of his dreams, an attractive, young blond named Karla.
Karla Homolka was born on May 4, 1970, to Karel and Dorothy Homolka of Port Credit, a hamlet of Toronto. She was raised by a caring family that grew to include 2 sisters and a menagerie of pets in an equitably nice home situated in a working class district. Karla did reasonably well in school and was quite popular while growing up. She would often invite friends over to the house where they would sit around the pool in her backyard and listen to music and talk. She seemed to be your average ordinary teenager. No one noticed any outward signs of anything awry in her life or personality.
Karla had not been seriously involved with any boys except for one that had moved away to Kansas when she was 17. Following his move, against the wishes of her parents, Karla visited him there in the summer of that year. Unbeknownst her parents, she had her first sexual experience at that time, giving up her virginity.
In October of 1987, while working for a Pet Care Center, Karla was invited to a Veterinary convention in Toronto. Karla attended the convention with her friend/co-worker Debby Purdie. While hanging out with a Debby in the restaurant area of their hotel, the girls were approached by 2 young men, Paul Bernardo and Van Smirnis. After a brief acquaintance, the girls invited Paul and Van back to their room to watch television. Once in the girls room Paul and Karla became sexually obsessed with each other almost instantly. They were soon on the bed fucking like savage, undomesticated animals while Van and Debby looked on in shock. Unlike all his other girls, Karla appeared to energize Paul’s sadistic sexual behavior.
Forthwith after their meeting, Karla knew that she was going to end up marrying Paul. She had fell in love with him that very night. Upon returning home, Karla was bubbling over with news of her new beau. Even though they were separated by a 2-hour drive, she felt positive that there relationship would last. Her friends and parents soon noticed a vast change in her. Her entire world seemed to revolve around Paul. He soon began visiting her every weekend. Eventually, her parents allowed him to spend nights at their home so he would not have to make the long drive back and forth so often.
Paul and Karla’s relationship quickly took shape when Paul began to control every aspect of Karla’s life. He had her change the way she dressed, her taste in music, anything that he disliked. Nonetheless, Karla seemed more than happy to allow Paul change her. Karla began sending him cards and letters all the time when they were not together, the letters gushed with statements of love and devotion. Although Paul was seeing several other women at the time, unbeknownst to Karla, she never doubted that soon they would be wedded. She loved Paul very much. He was unique and wild in bed. She would do absolutely anything to keep his love, anything at all. Paul would constantly make contemptible demands of Karla, and she just as outrageously agreed to them.
The pattern was almost always indistinguishable. When a victim got off a bus, the "Scarborough Rapist" would grab her from behind and pull her to the ground. After forcing anal sex and fellatio on the victim, he would let her go. The number of reported sexual assaults soon grew to 11. Then there was a several month break before several more rapes occurred in 1988. The police were having no luck finding the suspect. Although, they had collected a lot of physical evidence from the women. Just before Christmas, 1987, one of the victim’s gave a very specific description of her rapist. He was good looking, about 6 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. However, the police for unknown reasons decided against publishing the composite.
One of Paul’s old girlfriends, Jennifer Galligan, had gone to the police several times about Paul regarding his brutal rape, physical abuse, and threats to do her bodily harm. There were also coincidences, which linked Paul to the rapes that were going on at that same time - the rapist drove a white Capri and so did Paul, he also lived in the vicinity of where the rapes took place. A report was filed, but nothing came of it.
By 1990, Paul and Karla were engaged, and planning what they felt was going to be an extraordinary wedding - one that her friends and family would never forget. Finally, in May 1990, years after the rapes began, the police decided to publish the composite picture. The picture, along with a $150,000 reward, initiated a flood of tips.
As the novelty of Paul’s relationship with Karla wore off, his eye began to wander and he became obsessed with thoughts of having sex with her younger sister 15-year-old Tammy Lyn. Paul was very irked by the fact that Karla was not a virgin when they met. It was, thereupon, from his point of view, her obligation to make it possible for Paul to take the virginity of her attractive younger sister Tammy, without her knowledge or consent, otherwise referred to as rape. Once Karla recognized the logic in Paul’s thinking she agreed. They even decided to videotape the entire event for there own personal sadistic use.
Since Karla worked at veterinary clinic, she had a rudimental knowledge of sedatives used for animals. The key was to figure out which drug to use and how much to administer in order to render Tammy unconscious so Paul could have his way with her. Ultimately, Karla decided to use halothane, an anesthetic twice as strong as chloroform and 4 times as effective as ether. It was used at the clinic to knock out animals prior to surgery. There was some risk without the suitable equipment. Karla would have to deposit the halothane on a cloth and hold it over Tammy’s face. However, she was certain that she could make sure that Tammy had plenty of air by checking her breathing periodically.
On December 23, 1990, Paul and Karla decided to put their plan into action. The 3 were down in the basement family room of Karla’s parents house watching a movie. Paul started the night off by making Tammy mixed alcoholic drinks laced with the sedative Halcion. The effects of the drugs and alcohol were swift and Tammy was unconscious in no time. When the other members of the family went to bed, Paul and Karla laid the unconscious girl on the floor. Paul took out his video camera and filmed while he raped Tammy. Karla made sure to keep the halothane-laden rag over her sister’s face. At one point during the rape Paul ordered Karla to suck on her sisters exposed nipples, while masturbating her, and then to perform oral sex on her sister, who was at that time menstruating. Karla obeyed every order without hesitation, even appearing to take enjoyment from the deprived and ludicrous acts.
Suddenly, Tammy began to vomit. Karla did what she had seen them do in the veterinary clinic. She held her sister upside down in an attempt to clear her throat. Unbeknownst to Karla, that was the wrong choice of action. Hence, Tammy choked to death on her own vomit. Their unskilled attempts to revive Tammy also failed, so they dressed her, hid the drugs, camera, and any other evidence, dragged her body up stairs into a bedroom and called an ambulance. Nonetheless, it was far too late, Tammy was dead before she even reached hospital. Karla’s parents knew of this misfortune when they heard the ambulance pull up outside the house. Karla and Paul were not suspected as having been responsible for Tammy death. She had been drinking and even though there was a suspicious mark on her face due to the halothane soaked cloth, her death was ruled due to aspiration - fluid in the lungs.
By all accounts, Paul was devastated when he found out that Tammy was dead. Karla on the other hand, although suitably grieving at the funeral, soon became more interested in what effect the death would have on her wedding plans. Her parents did not feel it would be suitable to have the big festive wedding that was being arranged in light of the situation. This seemed to really piss Karla off. She was also angry that Paul was no longer welcome in the Homolka household. Even though no one suspected him of anything at that point in time, the rest of the family did not feel comfortable with him there while they were mourning the loss of their daughter/sister. Hence, Paul was asked to move out. He unwillingly agreed and Karla went with him.
Paul and Karla stayed at a local hotel for several days before deciding to rent a Cape Cod-style home, located at 57 Bay View, Port Dalhousie, a suburb of St. Catharine’s near lake Ontario. It was much more expensive than any of their friends could afford and people began to wonder how the young couple were able to afford it.
Paul was pissed and blamed Karla for Tammy’s death. Karla felt in order to please Paul, she would need to find replacement for Tammy. She soon remembered a 15-year-old girl named Jane, who looked very much like Tammy. Jane, Karla surmised would be a great wedding gift for Paul.
Jane idolized Karla and gratefully accepted Karla’s invitation to the Bernardo's home. That evening, Karla treated Jane to dinner and spent hours talking to her and fixing her one Halcion laced alcoholic drink after another. Jane eventually passed out from the mixture of alcohol and Halcion. After Karla was certain that Jane was out, she summoned Paul. He was quite stimulated when he saw how much Jane resembled Tammy and by the fact that Jane was a virgin as well.
Once they disrobed Jane, Paul videotaped Karla as she performed oral sex on the sleeping girl. After Karla was finished, Paul took Jane’s virginity and sodomized her. Afterwards Karla was ordered to clean the blood off Jane and put her to bed for the night. The next morning, Jane was sick to her stomach and for some unknown reason quite sore. Jane had no notion of what had happened to her.
On Friday, June 15, 1991, 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy, a promiscuous, troubled youngster, went out for the evening with her friends. The teenager stayed out well past her curfew and at 2:00 A.M, found herself locked out of her house. While wandering the streets, Leslie soon ran in to Paul Bernardo who was lurking around the neighborhood looking for license plates to filch. Paul had began broadening his income by illegally importing cigarettes across the border and it had become imperative for him to use stolen license plates to guise his constant trips across the American-Canadian border. Leslie asked him if he had a cigarette and he replied in the affirmative and said they were in his car. After luring her to his vehicle, he convinced Leslie to get in. Once inside, Paul pulled out a knife, held it to Leslie’s throat and sped off towards home with his new hostage.
While Karla slept, Paul stripped and blindfolded Leslie. He then began to videotape the ordeal. When Karla awoke, she was pissed that Paul had used their best champagne glasses to entertain his new slave. However, Karla quickly came around when she realized that it was not worth getting the shit kicked out of her over it. Paul was soon giving Karla intricate instructions on how to perform oral sex on Leslie. Afterwards Paul handed the camera over to Karla and brutally sodomized Leslie, forcing her to scream out in pain. After Paul was finished with Leslie, he asphyxiated her and dismembered her body. One of the video tapes was said to show Homolka masturbate with Leslie’s severed hand.
On June 29, 1991, Paul and Karla were married in an immensely, lavish wedding, held in a historic church by Niagara-on-the-Lake. Garlands of baby’s breath adorned Karla’s hair and veil. Her long flounced dress made her look like Cinderella. Paul wore a white tie and tails. Following the ceremony, the couple left the church in a horse-drawn carriage. They seemed to have it all. Paul had carefully arranged every detail of the wedding. He even instructed the minister to pronounce them "man and wife," and not "husband and wife."
Later, on the evening of the 29th, William Grekul and his wife were canoeing on Lake Gibson when they came across a concrete block with some pieces of what appeared to be flesh and bone encased within it. Later, William went back to the spot and with the help of another fisherman, Reverend Michael Doucette, pulled out the concrete block and looked at it closely. Incased inside the block was the calf and foot of a young woman. Soon, the place was bustling with police, who found a total of 5 concrete blocks that had been disposed of in the shallow water. Police hypothesized that whomever had dumped the body in Lake Gibson was not familiar with the area or they would have dumped the concrete blocks over the bridge where the deep water may have kept them a secret permanently.
Not long afterwards, the torso of a young woman was discovered in the same waters. 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 that let to her ultimate identification.
After a week long honeymoon in Hawaii, Paul and Karla settled into domestic life in their little Cape Cod-style home. On April 16, 1992, 15-year-old Kristen French, was abducted from a church parking lot. Karla had lured the girl over to their car on the pretence of asking directions. When Kristen stood by the car looking at Karla’s map, Paul forced the girl into the car at knifepoint.
Kristen, did everything she could to cooperate with the degenerate couple and their disgraceful and embarrassing demands. Nevertheless, 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. Kristen did not move, even when he slapped her face with his penis. "Don’t make me mad. Don’t make me hurt you," he said, urging her to smile when he rubbed his penis in her face. "Don’t worry, I won’t piss in your face." Ultimately, he stood over her and urinated. Then he placed his buttocks into her face, squatted over her 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."
Paul had Karla cut off the girl’s hair and then made Kristen eat it. Autopsy reports found her innards caked with her own hair. Paul also removed the girl’s fingernails so there would not be any skin left under them that could later be used as evidence in case her body was recovered. During her captivity, the teenager was also forced to watch televised pleas by Doug French, her father, asking for her safe return. These indignities went on for a day or two, all painstakingly captured on video for the future indulgence of Paul and Karla. "A videotape exists of Paul performing cunnilingus on French’s dead, rig amortized and black-blue body. Karla follows him. Afterward, they both had intercourse with the corpse."
"A videotape exists that shows French watching the videotape of Mahaffy being cut to bits. When Paul tired of Kristen, he strangled her with an electrical cord, and dumped her nude body on a Burlington side road, a short distance from Mahaffy’s grave.”
Source of the above - a colleague of counsel for the defense for Homolka’s trial.
On April 30, 1992, Kristen's nude body was found in a small dump, yards from the cemetery where Leslie Mahaffy was buried. Investigators noted that Kristen's long dark hair had been shaved off.
During one of many arguments with Karla, Paul took her pet iguana from its aquarium, hacked its head off, barbecued it on the grill and ate it. He made sure to have Karla carefully remove the hide so that he could keep it as a trophy. On another equally disgusting occasion, Paul defecated on a slice of bread and forced Karla to eat it.
Eventually, a number of Paul’s acquaintances contacted the police regarding his likeness to the “Scarborough Rapist”. Investigators in turn, decided to pay Paul a visit. Paul did not strike investigators as a serial rapist. Nonetheless, they decided to go ahead and take blood, saliva and hair samples. The samples, along with 230 samples from other suspects, were handed over to a forensics lab. Only 5 of the 230 samples fit the blood factors of the attacker. Paul Bernardo was one of those 5. His sample was re-submitted 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 gravity and priority that it once had just 2 years earlier. Hence, the "Scarborough Rapist" samples were placed on the back burner.
Following the death of Kristen French, the investigators formed the "Green Ribbon Task Force". A command post was set up just outside St. Catherine’s. The FBI was also called in to advise.
A short time after Kristen French’s abduction, a woman came forward and advised investigators that she had seen a struggle take place in a car at the scene of the abduction. She thought the vehicle was a Camaro, so investigators focused on tracking the ownership of all the Camaro’s in the region.
During this time, Paul Bernardo’s name surfaced once again from one of many tips that police received. Investigators again visited Paul, he 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 investigators noted that Paul was cooperative and that he drove a Nissan which looked nothing like a Camaro. Nonetheless, the investigators tried to contact Detectives in Toronto to ask about the results of the inquiry into the Scarborough Rapist. 8 days later, a detective responded to the message and explained that final testing of Bernardo’s blood and saliva samples had not yet been done. Therefore, technically, Bernardo had not been cleared as a suspect.
On January 6, 1993, Paul brutally beat Karla with a flashlight. The wounds were so severe that they resulted in her being admitted to St. Catharine’s General Hospital. It was at this time that she finally decided to stand up to Paul. Karla filed assault charges with the local police and moved in with her aunt and uncle, so that Paul would not be able to locate her.
In early February 1993, several years after the samples had been taken from Paul, the forensic laboratory in Toronto finally analyzed his blood. The tests proved conclusively that Paul Bernardo had in fact been the "Scarborough Rapist". Investigators quickly placed Bernardo under surveillance.
The task force soon learned that Paul had just been charged with assault in St. Catharine’s and that the assault charges had been filed by his wife Karla. 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 she had in her possession that was very similar to a watch Kristen French had been wearing at the time of her disappearance. Toronto detectives formerly interviewed Karla for roughly 5 hours. Karla quickly learned that the police had tied together the Scarborough rapes with the murders in St. Catharine’s. After the interview, Karla was understandable unstrung and told her uncle that Paul was the serial rapist and that he had killed Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.
Karla quickly retained lawyer George Walker for her legal counsel. George knew he immediately needed to try to work out some type of a deal to protect his client. He initially wanted to seek immunity in exchange for complete cooperation from Karla.
On February 17, 1993, Paul Bernardo was arrested on 43 charges of rape and sexual assault. During this time, Bernardo changed his name to Paul Teale, supposedly in an attempt to distance himself from his father, who had been charged and later convicted for sexual molestation.
On February 19, 1993, Police executed a search warrant on Paul and Karla’s house. They soon discovered an astounding amount of evidence. During the search of the house they took everything; Toilets, pipes, the kitchen sink, etc.
Evidently, they were looking for evidence that was flushed or poured down the drain. Investigators also discovered that Paul had a written account of every one of the Scarborough rapes plus a comprehensive library of books and videos covering everything from sexual deviation, to pornography and serial killers. In addition, police found one fleeting home video, the short clip showed Karla as a wild about lesbian engaged in sexual acts with 2 other women.
By mid-February, George Walker (Karla's attorney), and Murray Segal (a plea-bargain veteran for the Attorney Generals office), disclosed an agreed-upon deal. Karla would receive 12 years in prison for each of the 2 victims, but the sentences would be served parallel. She would be eligible for parole after serving approximately 3 years behind bars with good behavior. In exchange for this clemency, Karla would agree to tell the absolute truth about her active participation in the crimes and everything she knew about them. Karla agreed unreservedly.
In March of 1993, Karla was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. She was given hefty doses of drugs. In due time, Karla got up the courage to write a 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.
On June 28, 1993, Karla’s trial began. "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 school girl’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." -- Authors Burnside and Cairns describing the defendant.
Karla’s psychiatric report set the platform for the plea-bargain deal. Karla’s psychologist Dr. Malcolm, 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."
During Homolka’s brief trial, prosecutor Murray Segal read the statement of facts, a 25-minute litany of assault, rape and torture that left seasoned law enforcement officers and journalists in tears. Virtually stumbling out of the courtroom, reporters called what they heard "gruesome" and "devastating”. The Toronto Globe and Mail said the next day that it was "a catalogue of depravity and death." Karla’s lawyer, clearly shaken, took his glasses off and put his hand to his head while the statement was being read. 2 others addressed the court, the mothers of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, who read statements revealing what their daughters’ deaths had meant to their families. Both women broke down several times on the stand, and even Karla Homolka, who had remained impassive throughout the trial, was observed to be choking back tears and wiping her eyes.
In anticipation of 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."
On July 6, 1993, Karla Homolka was charged with 2 counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Leslie Mahaffey and Kristen French, to which she pled guilty and was sentenced, to concurrent terms of 12 years each. Karla was also banned for life from owning firearms, ammunition or any like substances. While the maximum sentence for manslaughter is life in prison, the judge noted the maximum "is reserved for worst offenses committed by worst offenders. Ms. Homolka has committed the worst crime. However, she is not the worst offender, for whom the maximum sentence is designed." He went on to say: "No sentence I can impose would adequately reflect the revulsion of the community in the death of the young girls who lived lives beyond reproach. I understand the outrage the community feels, and rightly so." Many people were stunned at the leniency of Karla’s sentence, as she would be eligible for parole in 1997.
As police escorted the Judge from the courthouse, an angry group of onlookers booed and shouted insults. "Is that what you mean by justice? There’s no way you can tell me 12 years justifies the killing of these two girls," said 29-year-old Dave Sabourin, a landscape company owner in St. Catharine’s.
When Paul heard Karla’s sentence his exact words were, "Can you fucking believe that she's the sick fucking bitch and she only gets 12 years?!"
During the week following Homolka’s trial, the police announced that they had a videotape of Karla with an unidentified female having sex. This announcement generated a number of rumors that she and her husband were making snuff films. Police also exhumed the body of Karla’s sister, Tammy, whose death had previously been labeled accidental. In addition, Judge Francis Kovacs ordered a publication ban. The ban was imposed "to insure a fair trial" for Paul Bernardo. The ban was hotly contested by both Canadian and American media, and by Paul’s attorney to no avail.
On November 19, 1993, retired police officer Gordon Domm, was arrested as he tried to mail copies of a British newspaper article containing banned information on the Karla Homolka manslaughter trial.
In April 1994, it was announced that Bernardo’s preliminary hearing was going to be skipped and he would proceed directly to trial. During this time Karla Homolka filed for a divorce from her husband. The trial of Paul Bernardo was delayed for 2 years after his arrest. One of the reasons for the delay was that Paul had placed his first lawyer, Ken Murray, in a strenuously moral situation. Paul had supplied Murray the video tapes that he and Karla had made of their memoirs, assuming that by doing so, they would never get into the hands of prosecutors.
Nonetheless, the prosecutors knew of the video tapes from Karla and had wire-tapped Murray’s conversations with Paul. Inevitably, the tension elevated and Murray had to do something about the video tapes in his possession. Hence, he turned the video tapes over to the prosecutors against his client’s wishes and withdrew from the case. Seasoned defense lawyer John Rosen took his place as Paul’s lawyer. By its own right, this series of activities caused a delay of 1 year in the start of the trial.
On May 18, 1995, Paul Bernardo’s trial began in Judge Patrick LeSage’s courtroom with the video tapes as climacteric pieces of evidence. Paul faced 2 counts of first-degree murder, 2 counts of aggravated sexual assault, 2 counts of forcible confinement, 2 counts of kidnapping, and 1 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 2 years earlier, the daylong 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 video-taped segment-showing Karla naked, and masturbating, with the camera zoomed in on her vagina. The camera lingered on Homolka’s naked body for several minutes as she aroused and stimulated herself. Not many people in the courtroom that day expected to see an X-rated cinema portraying one of the country’s most infamous women in an assortment of sexually explicit positions. It seemed as though a bizarre way for the prosecutor to treat his star witness. However, Houlahan explained that the dialog in the videos had been scripted by Paul and was a model of how he forced his will on Karla. The tape was clearly arranged to sexually charge Paul as Karla talked of obtaining 13-year-old virgins for him to rape. The dialog was an enunciation of Paul’s sexual fantasies with the goal of bringing him to a climax. Karla played the role of the sex slave and Paul was the "king".
As video tapes of Leslie, Kristen and Jane were shown, the jury was provided with indisputable and powerful evidence of Paul Bernardo’s sexual degradation. It has been said that some of the films depict Karla engaged in sexual activity with animals. It was further said that there was animal sperm found on one and or both of the victims. Karla was soon 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 accelerating theme of sexual degradation. 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 sadomasochism 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. She then went on to describe the details of the kidnappings, tortures, rapes, and murders.
One of the video tapes presented at the hearing showed Paul engaging in sex with Karla Homolka while she held a picture of Tammy over her face. It was also reveled in court that Paul had cut the tendons of the victims, while they were still alive, to prevent them from escaping. When the defense took over, John Rosen attacked Karla’s credibility. He wanted to show that she was not the victim she portrayed herself to be and nothing more than a willing participant in the couple’s rape and murder spree. Regardless of Karla’s degree of guilt or innocence and the deal she had made with prosecutors, it did not save Paul.
On September 1, 1995, Paul Bernardo was convicted on all the charges, and sentenced to life in prison. He also faces trials in the death of Tammy Homolka and the serial rapes in Scarborough. Under Canadian law, Bernardo can apply for parole after serving 25 years. Paul Bernardo was declared a dangerous offender and is being held indefinitely at Kingston Penitentiary.
Karla Homolka is incarcerated at Quebec’s Joliette prison, nicknamed Club-Fed. In 1997 Karla declined a bid for parole, stating that she feared for her life. Karla will again be eligible for parole in 2001. Her lawyers have been trying to get approval for visits to a halfway house. Due to the long distance, they have been denied. She is currently taking correspondence courses in sociology at Queen’s University
Members of Karla’s case-management team wrote in an August 1999 report that they were concerned about Homolka’s inability to withdraw from her relationship with Paul, and that her ability to feign sexual interest during the assaults on the girls remain a "therapeutic issue’’.
"People may be wondering what other victims there may be in addition to French, Mahaffy and Karla’s sister Tammy. I had a conversation with a co-worker which strongly suggests a link between Teale (Bernardo) and unsolved missing persons' cases"
-- Lt. Starbuck
It is rumored that the FBI is investigating a link between Paul and several unsolved murders in upper New York State. It has also been said that investigators found SOMETHING during the search of Paul and Karla’s home that "connects to something in Florida." The Mahaffy and French families have been waging a legal battle to have Paul and Karla’s twisted sex tapes destroyed. It is rumored that Paul and Karla’s home-snuffed videos were copied and are currently circulating in the Japanese sex underground. In 2000, Paul lost his appeal and Karla was denied parole.
A Toronto couple bought the home Paul and Karla shared in 1995. The new owners tore down the house when it became a target for vandals who broke windows and spray-painted the white clapboard with hate messages. The new owners are in the process of building a new house on the property, neighbors say they are taking the development in stride. At least one neighbor was skeptical about the development. An 88-year-old man, who would not give his name was quoted as saying, "I wouldn’t want to be sleeping in there."