**This article may have photos that are too graphic for some people, reader discretion is suggested. **
I dislike this moniker, it’s misleading. How can Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka be compared to Ken and Barbie? In my opinion anyone who is able to rape, stalk, and kill are not innocent as two beloved toys the world over. Just looking into the eyes of Karla Homolka you can see she has no soul, and Paul Bernardo as charming as he tried to be was not the boy next door that was going to be a good influence on anyone.
So how did this toxic relationship begin? To understand the whole story, let’s go back to 1987, in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. A woman was exiting a bus near her home, it was 1 a.m., and as she left the bus, she was raped only a few minutes later. For the next five years, up to 24 women would be raped or attacked. And police didn’t know who was the person doing it.
In 1988, a composite sketch was released when one of the victims provided a description of her attacker’s face. Of the over 16,000 responses, three of them said it looked like Paul Bernardo. Police interviewed him twice and they didn’t think he was a likely candidate; but they took DNA samples of his hair, blood, and saliva. However, DNA testing was in its infancy in Canada, and there were only 2 people who could test these samples, and they had over 50,000 samples for this case alone.
Enter Karla Homolka. Originally the two met in 1987, when they were both attending a convention. 17-year-old Karla and 23-year-old Paul hit it off right away and soon were dating exclusively. They were engaged by 1990, however Paul wasn’t overly pleased with Karla for one minor thing.
She wasn’t a virgin when they met. He then decreed that she will need to provide him a virgin to rape as a way of making things better. And he even made it easy for her, he wanted to rape her youngest sister, Tammy. Tammy was 15 years old, and Paul was 26. Karla had no problems with making this happen, she would do anything for Paul, even while he was verbally and physically abusive towards her.
December 23, 1990, Karla planned to gift her sister to Paul that night. She had Tammy’s rape all planned out as only a caring sister could do. At the veterinary clinic where she worked, Karla stole some of the drug, Halothane. This was used for the animals going into surgery, and Karla planned to ensure that Tammy had plenty of air and she would check her breathing regularly.
After the family went to bed, Tammy who had been drugged earlier was sleeping on the sofa when Paul and Karla began their sadistic games. Paul had a new camcorder that he used to tape the entire rape of Tammy. Karla remained by her sister with the drug laced cloth on her face. After he was done, he ordered Karla to make sexual advances on her sister. But Tammy threw up. And then she began to choke. The violating couple cleaned her, dressed her, and put her in her bedroom. Then they called an ambulance.
Tammy was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and upon arrival she was pronounced dead. When questioned about an unusual burn mark on Tammy’s face, caused by the Halothane, Paul explained it as a rug burn. The police accepted this answer and didn’t question it any further. Although a tragedy, nobody suspected foul play.
With Tammy gone, Paul needed a replacement.
Since Paul blamed Karla for Tammy’s death, she immediately went out to find him a replacement for Tammy. Karla found a teenager, only identified as Jane, who was excited that Karla wanted to be her friend. She looked up to Karla as a role model and they eventually hung together. Karla plied her with sweet drinks laced with Halcion tablets. Eventually Jane passed out. Now was the moment Karla had been waiting for, she called Paul to come over and she presented him with her wedding gift to him. Virginal, unconscious, Jane. He was even more pleased that she resembled Tammy.
Videotaping the assault on Jane, both Paul and Karla participated in her violation. Thankfully, Jane slept through the whole attack, especially Paul’s favorite act, a brutal anal raping. Satisfied with the gift of Jane’s virginity, Paul had Karla clean up the scene and Jane. Jane woke the next morning sore, and met Paul for the “first time”. Paul was amazed at what Karla was willing to do for him, however he was having doubts about marrying her as she was getting old, she was now over 21, and she wasn’t that virgin that he always wanted.
Over the course of the next six months, Paul would continue to work, but he worked even harder at raping women and teens. He would do this at Karla’s parents’ house, in Karla’s bed. And when they rented a home he would rape women there, he recorded all of is attacks on video. Two weeks before they married, Paul was out looking for license plates to steal, and came upon a 14-year-old girl named Leslie Mahaffy.
Paul forced her into the car at knife point and drove home. Leslie was stripped and bound and then Paul began to toy with her. Karla woke and was unhappy he had used their good champagne glasses to entertain his new toy. But shortly after, Karla was once again the obedient woman and followed Paul’s every direction while filming Karla and Leslie together. Then it was Paul’s turn and the force of his anal penetration had Leslie screaming out. When Paul escalated the rough stuff, Leslie died. They disposed of her body in a local lake. She wouldn’t be discovered until two weeks later, on the day of their wedding.
Two weeks later, June 29, 1991, Paul and Karla got married in a lavish over the top wedding. Paul controlled the entire planning of the wedding from Karla’s hair and dress to the dinner menu, carriages, ceremony, and gifts. After their marriage, Paul and Karla were without a playmate. There were a few times they were able to find someone, but when they didn’t have one, tensions began between the couple. Karla the dutiful wife would always go out and find another girl for her husband.
In April of 1992, Karla and Paul abducted 15-year-old Kristen French from a church parking lot. She was trying to help Karla with directions when Paul drew a knife and forced her into the car. They took her back to their house and for two days Paul and Karla would take turns raping, beating, and humiliating Kristen. Her final humiliation was not recorded on video, but she was found in a ditch at the end of the month, but her case was not connected to Leslie Mahaffy’s case as she was not dismembered.
This time though the police had a lead. A witness to Kristen French’s abduction recalled seeing a struggle and admitted she wasn’t very savvy about cars but thought it was a Camero. The police were investigating and Paul’s name came up again. When police interviewed him at his home, they noticed he was a clean-cut polite man with a tidy home, and he drove a Nissan, which didn’t remotely resemble a Camero. He was not considered a suspect.
Karla had two black eyes and several other bruises from Paul. This prompted her to file the charges. During police interviews, she had admitted that Paul was the Scarborough rapist, and that he had murdered both Leslie and Kristen. Karla had gotten herself a great lawyer and he would later realize she wasn’t the innocent victim she portrayed, and would learn the extent of her participation of these crimes as the case progressed.
Karla’s lawyer worked out a plea agreement; she would serve 12 years for each murder, served concurrently, she could be out in as little as three years with good behavior. The government even agreed to contact the parole board on her behalf pointing out the importance of her testimony against Paul. They even stated they would do their best for her to serve her sentence in a psychiatric hospital instead of prison. The trial would be brief and she would waive her right to a preliminary hearing. All she would have to do for this is provide the absolute truth about her involvement in the crimes and all she knew about them. Karla agreed.
In February of 1993, the DNA samples that Paul had provided in 1988 had finally been processed. His blood matched the DNA of semen found on three of the victims. It was conclusive that Paul had raped at least 3 of the victims. He had still been considered a suspect in the rape cases, but due to the delay in processing of the samples, police now had to find him as he was no longer in the area. But a lucky break happened and assault charges had just been filed on Paul Bernardo, by his wife, Karla.
To prepare for her trial she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for observation, and during this time, she wrote a letter to her parents and other sister, Lori, and confessed to her role in Tammy’s death and also implicated Paul in it as well. Her parent’s had not forgiven her.
Paul’s trial was delayed for two years. Paul had anticipated a trial and had handed over all of the videos that they had of their adventures and exploits to his lawyer. He had hoped this would prevent them from getting to the hands of the prosecutors. The prosecution knew about the tapes from Karla and the pressure mounted until finally the tapes were turned over.
During Paul’s trial the prosecution showed videos of Karla following Paul’s directions while masturbating on camera. The prosecution wanted to show that Karla was also a victim of Paul’s and how he had forced his will upon her.
The defense showed a different Karla. He was successful in showing Karla to be remorseless for her part in these crimes. Kristens murder had to be committed by a certain time so they could spend Easter dinner at Karla’s parents’ home. On video it was seen that immediately after Kristen was strangled, Karla left the room to go blow dry her hair.
If it had not been immediately clear at the trial, it became clear shortly after, that Karla had cleverly manipulated the circumstances of her cooperation with the government to engineer one of the worst deals that the Canadian government had ever made with a criminal witness. But the deal was done and she had followed through with her end of it. Paul was sentenced to life in prison, and considered a dangerous offender. He still resides in prison.
In July of 2005, Karla was released from prison. Her family was not there upon her release and they have stated they do not plan to see her. She has changed her name to Leanne Teale. Upon her released he was required to inform authorities of her whereabouts at all times, have therapy, and refrain from interacting with anyone under the age of 16. She isn’t happy about these restrictions that were not part of the original plea agreement. Karla has remarried and has a son; she lives in the Montreal area. At one time she was working at a private school until it was revealed who she really was.
That my friends, is the long and sordid tale of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. I do not agree that Karla was a victim, I fully agree that she was an active participant in the crimes that they were both accused of, what do you think?
Make good choices, stay safe