In 1990, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 20-year-old Karla Homolka was engaged to handsome, successful accountant Paul Bernardo. There was just one problem: Paul couldn’t get over the fact that Karla was not a virgin. And Paul was insistent that she do something to compensate for the shortcoming.
Tammy Lyn Homolka was Karla’s 15-year-old sister. Still a virgin, she seemed the perfect peace offering for Paul.
Karla worked in a veterinarian’s office and was familiar with the drug Halcion, which they used to induce unconsciousness in their animal patients and she felt certain she could administer it to her sister. Paul would be able to have sex with her and Tammy would never know what happened.
On Christmas Eve, Paul and Karla celebrated the holiday with the Homolka family; all the while lacing Tammy’s food and drink with Halcion. The drug soon took affect and Tammy fell asleep on the couch. When the rest of the family went upstairs to bed, Paul and Karla set about making Paul’s fantasies come true. As Paul raped Tammy, Karla held a drug soaked rag over her face to make sure she didn’t wake up while filming the disgusting event.
Suddenly Tammy, full from the dining festivities, began to vomit. Realizing this, Karla held her sister upside down – just as they did with patients at the animal clinic. Despite her efforts, Tammy choked on her own vomit and died. Paul and Karla hid the drugs, video camera, and other evidence of their crime before calling for emergency aid.
Long before Tammy died, Paul had been raping women. At one point after they began dating, he asked Karla what she would think about him if he were a rapist, to which she replied she’d think it was cool. So The Scarsborough Rapist carried on with his crimes, now often accompanied by a videotaping female. Police had good descriptions from victims and semen left behind by the rapist, they just couldn’t identify their man.
On June 15, 1991, Paul was in the process of stealing license plates when he met 14-year-old Leslie Erin Mahaffy, as she stood in front of her Burlington home contemplating what to do about being locked out of the house after missing curfew. Paul forced the young teenager into his car and drove her to the home he and Karla shared. There he stripped Leslie naked, blindfolded her, and, along with Karla, sexually assault the girl for the next 24 hours. As usual, the couple videotaped their indiscretions, including a scene in which Homolka “pretties” herself for the camera.
When the new wore off, they killed Leslie (Karla claiming Paul strangled her, Paul saying Karla killed her with a drug overdose), cut up her body, encased the parts in cement, and dumped their victim into Lake Gibson.
As the date of the wedding drew closer, Paul had doubts about marrying Karla but on June 29, 1991, the couple was wed in a fairy tale wedding that spared no expense at Niagara-on-the-Lake. As the couple rode away in a horse-drawn carriage, a couple canoeing on the lake at the edge of St. Catharine’s discovered Leslie’s dismembered body.
Shortly after returning from their honeymoon, Karla dined with an underage teenage friend. Knowing the girl was a virgin, Karla plied her drinks laced with Halcion and, once they took effect, took her home to Paul as a wedding gift. The next morning, the unidentified girl woke up with no memory of the evening before or of having met Paul until that morning.
In January 1993, Karla, at the urging of her parents and while sporting two black eyes, filed assault charges against Paul. In February 1993, the laboratory test results were finally returned and police learned that Paul Bernando, despite their misgivings, was indeed The Scarsborough Rapist. Shortly thereafter, Paul was arrested on the rapes and for the murders of Mahaffy and French.
Karla was terrified and assuaged her fears with painkillers and alcohol. And she lawyered-up. It served little good, however, when a search warrant produced a written diary kept by Paul in which he thoroughly described each event as well as the video library of the crimes.
A plea bargain was made with Karla in exchange for her testimony against Paul in which she was to only serve 12 years was heavily criticized by the public as a “Deal with the Devil.” She was paroled, under heavy restriction, on July 4, 2005, and moved to Quebec. In February 2007, she gave birth to a baby boy and a year later moved to the West Indies with her new husband, Thierry Bordelais, where she claimed her son could “live a normal life.”
On September 15, 1995, Paul Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison. In December 1995, her was declared a dangerous offender, meaning he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
© 2016 Kim Bryan