- Karla promised her sister’s virginity to his beloved husband Paul for Christmas.
- The horrific acts were videotaped by the couple, in order to relive their fantasies later.
- Two weeks before getting married, they tortured, raped, and eventually killed 15-year-old Kristen French.
The good looking Canadian couple met in 1987 when Paul Bernardo was 23 years old and Karla Homolka was 17 years old. The partners in crime committed their first horrific act after having been together for four years. The duo’s first crime was raping and killing Karla’s sister, Tammy.
Just two weeks before getting married in 1991, they tortured, raped, and eventually killed 15-year-old Kristen French.
When Paul Bernardo was 15, his mother revealed that Kenneth Bernardo was not his real father; instead, he was born as a result of her affair with a former boyfriend. Bernardo was outraged by the fact that he was born as an illegitimate child and started to refer to his very own mother as a slut. To make matters worse, she began to call him a bastard. The stepfather, Kenneth, was charged with child molestation and sexually abused Paul’s sister. Kenneth was also known to be the Peeping Tom of his neighborhood. His wife was depressed over his abusive behavior and withdrew from the family, spending her days in the basement of their Scarborough home.
Bernardo soon developed dark sexual fantasies. He also became overly controlling and protective of the women in his life. He enjoyed humiliating women in public and beating them up. Before meeting Karla, he was already a serial rapist, having raped at least 19 girls. Many of Bernardo’s victims were underage. Because he carried the acts in and around Scarborough, Ontario, he was named the Scarborough Rapist.
In contrast to Bernardo, Karla had a good upbringing. Born as the eldest of three daughters, she did well in her studies. Her teachers described her as “eager” and “a good student.” She loved animals and worked as a veterinary assistant. Despite being a bit bossy and wanting things to be done her way, nothing in her childhood hinted that she would become one of the most notorious female predators in Canadian history.
The two met at a Scarborough restaurant in 1987 while attending a convention. Karla was 17 and Bernardo was 23. The sexual attraction between the two devils was immediate. Unlike other women Bernardo knew, Karla encouraged his sadistic behavior (hybristophilia?) and fantasies towards women. Bernardo spent a lot of time with Karla’s family, who genuinely cherished their new son-in-law. At the same time, he became obsessed with the youngest daughter, Tammy. Bernardo would regularly peep into Tammy’s window and masturbate to her while she was asleep.
Karla married Paul in 1990, six months after their first killing.
Karla approved of his behavior and even praised it, despite being verbally and physically abused by Paul.
In her diary, Karla wrote:
Never let anyone know our relationship is anything but perfect; Don't talk back to Paul; Be a perfect girlfriend for Paul; If Paul asks for a drink, bring him one quickly and happily; Remember you're stupid; Remember you're ugly; Remember you're fat; I don't know why I tell you these things because you never change.
It’s important to understand that Paul Bernardo, despite having already molested at least 19 girls and despite being named the Scarborough Rapist, had never actually killed anyone before meeting Karla. It was her fantasy to give her little sister’s virginity as a “gift” to Bernardo for Christmas because Bernardo had expressed the disappointment of not being Karla’s first sexual partner. Together, the couple became not only serial rapists but also serial killers.
Karla stole an anesthetic called Halothane from her place of employment. On December 23, 1990, a day before Christmas, the duo drugged Tammy by giving her alcohol mixed with a sedative called Valium. When Tammy became dizzy and needed to lie down, Karla used the stolen Halothane to keep her unconscious. Bernardo started to rape her in the basement. Karla videotaped the process and both Karla and Paul took turns in the gruesome act. Suddenly, Tammy started to choke on her own vomit. The couple panicked and called 911. Unfortunately, the paramedics were unable to revive little Tammy. No one suspected foul play. The official cause of death was written down as an accident – Tammy choked on her vomit after consumption of alcohol.
Three weeks after Tammy’s death, Karla and Bernardo filmed a video called “The Fireside Chat”. In the tape, Karla is dressed up in Tammy’s clothing, acts like her, and admits to Bernardo that she enjoyed the rape. The couple eventually had sex on Tammy’s bed.
The videotapes were played during the trial as evidence but remains unseen to the public.
Just two weeks before getting married, Bernardo was out to steal license plates when she noticed 14-year-old Leslie Mahhafy. Almost late for curfew, she was forced by Bernardo to his nearby car. A few weeks earlier, her friend Chris had died in a tragic card accident. She was coming home from a wake dedicated to him.
Blindfolded with a sweatshirt around her head, Paul brought her home to "share" with Karla. She suffered 24 hours of a brutal rape from both while the couple took turns on videotaping to relive their sick sexual fantasies later. According to the testimony of Karla, Bernardo strangled Leslie to death. Bernardo on the other claimed Karla was the mastermind behind all the killings simply because she was jealous of the young women he desired.
At first, they didn’t know what to do with the body and left it in the basement, but after some contemplating decided to dismember Lesley and dump it to Lake Gibson like trash.
Kristen French was a beautiful 15-year-old. A role model student at Catholic school and part of precision ice skating team. Several people eyewitnessed the kidnapping in the broad daylight when Karla and Bernardo approached her in front of a church's parking lot. Karla got out with a map in her hand and asked for directions when Bernardo attacked from behind with a knife in hand and forced her into the car.
Kristen had to endure more. During three long days in captivity, she was tortured and raped while being heavily intoxicated from the large amounts of alcohol she was forced to drink. During the horrible ordeal, she was shown the videotape of Leslie's rape. Bernardo strangled her with the very same electrical wire that he used to kill Leslie.
Her naked body was found along the roadside on 19 April 1992.
Besides killing Tammy, Leslie, and Kristen, the couple raped at least two other unnamed girls, who thankfully, were able to survive.
In 1993, Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for at least 25 years. He is now eligible for day parole and has applied for one in the Toronto area. Day parole means the offender must report back to jail or a halfway house at night. Victims and the public have expressed shock over the parole application. Tim Danson, the lawyer for the families of the murdered victims has said there is no chance Bernardo will ever see the outside world again.
Meanwhile, Bernardo self-published a war-fiction book named "A MAD World Order”. The 631-page fictional work involves a plot to return Russia into a world power. The book was briefly sold on Amazon. However, because of the public outrage, Amazon decided to pull the book off their site.
There is no death penalty in Canada, but dying would be an easy way out for a man with such a high sex drive and a need for control. He is now rotting alone in a prison cell – just where he belongs.
In return for a plea bargain, Karla testified against the former husband Bernardo and got an easy way out – 12 years in prison with eligibility for parole after serving three years with good behavior – the worst plea bargain in Canada's history. For the hideous crimes she committed, she was practically allowed to walk free. The videotapes revealed Karla had a far more active role in the murders than she had claimed. Thanks to a quick plea bargain, the prosecutors were unaware of the existence of the live videotapes.
Karla was released from prison on July 4, 2005.
For the people fascinated in the case, I recommend reading the book about Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka by Peter Vronsky. I suggest the audiobook; the narrator has done an excellent job describing the vicious acts of Karla and Paul. If you haven’t already, you can join Audible Free Trial and get it for free. In fact, you get two audiobooks of your choice for free with your free trial. You can cancel at any time.
But be warned, the audiobook is not for the faint-hearted – the narrator describes the crimes in grisly detail.
Since Karla is now a free woman, the media and public have shown great interest in her doings. Karla Leanne Homolka, also known as Karla Leanne Teale and Leanne Bordelais was at one point living in the Caribbean with a new husband, Thierry Bordelais. Thierry just so happens to be the brother of her lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais. She is a mother of three young children.
Wannabe cannibal Luka Magnotta, who couldn't reach the length of Andrei Chikatilo and Armin Meiwes, told CNN that he loves Karla. Magnotta was found guilty of killing a Chinese exchange student Liu Hing, eating and sending the limbs of his victim to elementary schools, former prime minister Jean Chrétien and the sister of Karla Homolka Valentini, who legally changed her name from Lori Homolka.
Valentini said she did not know the accused, but revealed during the trial Karla is now back in Canada. Former gay porn actor Magnotta gained international notoriety after uploading video named "1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick" to the controversial website bestgore.com in May 2012.