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Karla Homolka- A Serial Killer Afraid of Abandonment

by K.L. Marsala
Friday, July 8, 2005

Karla Homolka, one of Canada’s best known serial killers, has been released from prison after serving twelve years for participating in the rapes and murders of 15-year-old Kristen French and 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy in the early 90s.  Add to her two other convictions the roll she played in the raping, and murder of her own sister, Tammy, who was offered as a "virgin" Christmas present to her fiancé Paul Bernado. 

Poor Karla: no one understands this troubled young woman.  Karla was raised in a nice middle-class family, had a wonderful childhood, with no abuse, nor anything adverse occurring during her growing up years, thusly leaving her wide open to becoming the perfect playmate for Paul Berando. 

Karla’s future husband began his rampage of raping girls back in May of 1987.  He met Karla, then 17, in October of 1987 at a restaurant, two hours later they were having sex in their hotel room.

In 1989, Paul Bernado and Karla Homolka become engaged.

Evidently, Karla, felt that Paul was unhappy with the fact that she was not a virgin, so she gave him a gift on December 23, 1990.  "Caring" Karla planned the event, not meaning to kill her sister… that was just an unfortunate side event.

Soon after the Homolka’s family Christmas party, Paul and Karla drugged Tammy Homolka (Karla’s younger sister) with animal tranquilizers Karla had stolen from her work. Paul and Karla then proceeded to rape Tammy while she lay unconscious and video taped the event with Paul’s new camcorder. Karla even engaged in sexual acts with her sister as her fiancé created disturbing cinema behind them. 

During the rape, Tammy choked on her own vomit and died. They tried to revive her but failed, so they dressed her, hid the video camera, the drugs, and called 911. Tammy’s death was ruled an accident.

Outside, 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy’s home on June 14th, 1991 Paul Bernado kidnapped Leslie and brought her to his and Karla’s home where they both proceeded to rape, video tape and murder her.

Karla was to be the "June Bride" and wedding bells chimed for Paul and Karla on June 29th, 1991.  Meanwhile Leslie Mahaffy’s dismembered body was found encased in concrete in Lake Gibson, near St. Catharines.

Poor Karla, ever faithful to her husband- helps kidnap Kristen French from a church parking lot.  Together they rape, torture, video tape and kill her.  Dumping her naked body into a ditch, with her hair cut off.

On January 1993, Paul Bernado beats Karla with a flashlight and leaves her with two black eyes.  Karla leaves their home and files charges against him.

It was on February 17th, 1993 that Paul Bernado was arrested.  He was suspected of being the Scarborough Rapist.

A search warrant is executed for the Bernado home. The video tapes of the girls who were raped and murdered are overlooked by the police after a 71- day investigation of their home in St. Catharines, Ont.

Karla’s trial began on June 28th, 1993.  She pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and received a 12-year sentence.

On June 29th, 1995, Karla Homolka testified against Paul Bernado.

Ending this process--on September 1995, Paul was found guilty of all nine charges filed against him, including two first-degree murder charges for French and Mahaffy.  His sentence was for life in prison without the option of parole for 25 years.

Karla Homolka bypasses the charges of aiding the rape and murder of her own sister.  According to Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant’s, statement made on April 12, 2005- Homolka will not be charged with the murder of her sister upon her release.

Karla Homolka served 12 years for her involvement in three rapes and murders. 

During her prison time in the Joilette women’s prison, she met in 1997 Lynda Veronneau and they became lovers.  Veronneu had stated Homolka always saw herself as a "victim" in the crimes and never said that she regretted her part in the heinous crimes committed by her and Paul.  When Karla ended her relationship with Veronneu, she began corresponding with a killer named Jean-Paul Gerbet.  

Gerbet was convicted of murder in the first degree in 1995; he had strangled his girlfriend and then tidied up the house after the murder.

Karla Homolka (AKA Karla Teale), has served her time, and is a free Canadian woman. She alleges that she did not leave Paul Bernado because she was young and afraid of being abandoned.  Karla claims she lacked self-confidence.

Upon Karla’s release, a judge ruled that she still posed a danger to society.  He ordered her to immediately report to police upon her release.  The judge banned her from contacting families of the victims, Paul Bernado, and from consorting with other violent offenders.  Karla was ordered to continue therapy and submit DNA samples to authorities as well.

Karla Homolka intends to appeal, calling the restrictions a violation of her plea bargain.

Soon after her release, Karla Homolka went on Radio-Canada with her plea for "breathing room to start a normal life" and the citizens of Quebec for the most part appear to be open to accepting her rehabilitation.

However, for the families of the victims, justice is feeling raw and unfinished.  Many Canadians feel Karla Homolka has somehow managed to cheat the system.   The families of the two innocent girls who were raped, video taped, tortured, and murdered have not had justice completely served.  Neither has Tammy, Karla’s sister… who Karla drugged, and violated herself.  Serial Killers are not known though for caring too much about their victims… let alone their own siblings.

K L Marsala is a commentator on social, cultural, and political ideologies. Ms. Marsala tries to use a bit of satire every now and then in her writing. She has been praised by many of her readers for saying it "like it is" and speaks for the common person who believes in American ideals, especially our freedoms. Stating the way she sees it with "punch," her philosophy remains that no matter the event, you can always find a bit of humor or the human element of hope somewhere amongst the cracks.