Disclaimer: This write-up may offend some readers. It is not my
intention to do so, it is merely a side effect of describing the actions of two of the most
perverse individuals in Canadian history. If you are likely to be offended by a factual
description of the actions of these two rapists and murderers, I suggest that you pick
another node at this point.
The case against rapists Paul Bernardo and Karla Holmolka was one of the most
shocking in Canadian history, and likely generated more media coverage than any other
criminal case in Canadian courts. The reasons behind this are fairly simple. To outsiders,
they were, simply put, the perfect couple. It is not without reason that they are often
referred to as the Ken and Barbie killers, because with both of their good looks, and their
fair blond hair, they look the part. He was an attractive, intelligent, ambitious young
accountant, who seemed to have quite a future ahead of him. She was also quite a
stunning woman, had a job at a pet care company, and was absolutely devoted to Paul and
What wasn't evident to the public however, was the depth of Paul's violent sexual
fantasies, and the way that Karla, unlike previous girlfriends who had grown tired of the
violence and the brutal sodomy that Paul liked so much, cheered him on, encouraging Paul
to act out his sadistic fantasies with her, and with others.
With her encouragement and approval, after he met her in 1987, he started out on a
series of nearly identical rapes. As the woman got off the bus, he would grab her from
behind, pulling her to the ground. He would then proceed to engage in the brutal anal sex
that he enjoyed so much, talking to them all the while. Within two years, with this method,
called the Scarborough Rapist by police, he assaulted at least 11 women.
Now Paul was a bit annoyed that Karla wasn't a virgin before he met her, so in 1990,
he was able to convince Karla that he should be able to take her younger sister Tammy's
virginity in lieu of hers.
Because Karla worked at a pet care center, she knew something about the sedatives
used to knock out animals. She selected one of those drugs, and carefully measured the
dosage needed to put 15 year old Tammy under, so she could give her to Paul at
Christmas time. Paul had the camcorder running while he raped Tammy, as Karla held the
rag soaked in the inhalant drug over her face. But something went wrong, and Tammy
started vomiting. Karla tried to clear her throat, but Tammy choked to death on her own
vomit. They re-dressed her, and hid the evidence of their crime, calling the Ambulance.
Everyone believed it was an accident.
Next, Karla found for Paul a 15 year old named Jane. She drugged her up, and
together they raped the girl, taping it all the while. Jane was Karla's wedding present to
Paul. They did get married, at a very lavish affair at Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Later, on June 14th of 1991, Leslie Mahaffy had been locked out of her house by her
parents, as a punishment for staying out past her curfew. Paul happened upon her, and
pulled a knife on her, forcing her into the car and taking her to his home. Paul instructed
Karla on how to violate the 14 year old, and then gave the camera to her for his turn.
Later that month, two canoeists found a concrete block with half of Leslie's leg
embedded in it. Police went on to find five concrete blocks, and Leslie's torso. She was
identified by her braces.
For a while, the pair amused themselves with a willing girl by the name of Terri
Anderson. Eventually, they decided it was time to be rid of her. She disappeared on the
last day of November, 1991. Her body was found in the water next may. Initially the
coroner was not able to find any evidence of foul play.
On April 16th 1992, the pair kidnapped young Kristen French from a church parking
lot. For a day or two, the pair abused her, raping her, urinating on her. She cooperated
because she felt it was the only way in which she would be able to make it out alive. She
was wrong. On the 30th, her body was found in a ditch.
Police were initially led to Paul from his work as the Scarborough Rapist.
Eventually, they released the sketch they had of him, and a number of his acquaintances
phoned in about him.
They went and interviewed him, took some saliva and blood samples, and went their
merry way. After a time, the Scarborough Rapist stopped, and the case was no longer a priority. The samples were kept in the lab.
Years later, after the Mahaffy and French murders, another tip was called in about
Paul. Investigators finally decided to do the final test of his blood to the semen sample
obtained from the Scarborough rape victims. It was found that he was the rapist. He was
put on surveillance. Paul was frustrated and began beating up Karla. She was interviewed
a few times by police, and realized they had made the connection between the
Scarborough Rapist and the murders. She got herself a good lawyer, and played the role
of the innocent victim of Paul. When he was arrested in February of 1993, she made a plea
bargain to serve 12 years on manslaughter charges, in exchange for her testimony against
In the meantime, before he was arrested, Paul had given the videotapes to his lawyer,
in the hopes that they would stay out of the Crown's hands that way. However, because of
the cooperation of Karla, they still knew about the tapes, and eventually his lawyer gave
over the tapes and withdrew from the case.
In light of the evidence of Karla's behavior on the tapes, her previous plea bargain is
now regarded as one of the worst deals ever made by a Crown Prosecutor in Canada.
Paul's trial was delayed for 2 years after his arrest, but once he did get to trial, with his
own videotapes as evidence against him, there was little doubt about the verdict. His
lawyer attempted to cast doubt upon Karla's credibility as a witness, but at that point it
didn't matter. He was convicted of two counts each of first degree murder, aggravated
sexual assault, forcible confinement, kidnapping, and one count of performing an indignity
on a human body. He will be eligible for parole in 2020. I seriously doubt his chances of
receiving it. Karla's last parole application was denied, and she will remain in an institution
until at least 2005.
Update 2 July, 2005: Karla will have finished serving her time, and be released sometime between today, and Monday, July 4, 2005. She attempted to get a court injunction to prevent the media from releasing any information about her, photos, her new address, the name she's going under now (Teale). It didn't quite work the way she hoped to. She is, however, planning on living somewhere in Quebec, where knowledge of herself and her crimes are somewhat less widespread.
Update: Karla is out, and living in Montreal. Since she was deemed to still be a danger to the public, she was released with the following conditions:
- She will inform police of her home address, work address and who she lives with.
- She has to notify police as soon as any of the above changes, as well as any name changes.
- If she wants to be away from her home for more than 48 hours, she will have to give 72 hours notice.
- She cannot contact Paul Bernardo, the families of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French or that of the woman known as Jane Doe. She also may not contact any violent criminals.
- She also will be forbidden from being with people under the age of 16 and from consuming drugs other than prescription medicine.
- She must continue therapy and counselling.
- She must provide police with a DNA sample.
Not shockingly, she rather quickly had her name changed. She is now going by the moniker "Karla Leanne Teale." With the exception of one interview, in french, by Radio Canada, she has not surprisingly been trying to avoid any media attention. It remains to be determined if she'll be successful at letting society forget what she had done.
Wikipedia, "Karla Homolka," Wikipedia, the free encylopedia.
Marilyn Bardsley, "Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka, Serial Killer and Rapist Team," Court TV's CRIME LIBRARY: Criminal Minds and Methods