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Karla Homolka & her husband, Paul Bernado, terrorized the Scarborough, Toronto community during the 80s & 90s. What are they up to now?

Serial killer Karla Homolka released: Does she deserve a normal life now?

Karla Homolka & her husband, Paul Bernado, terrorized the Scarborough, Toronto community during the 80s & 90s. Dubbed the Ken & Barbi Killers, the couple were serial killers & rapists known for the charm & good looks. They were like a serial killer power couple. 

The two went around kidnapping, murdering, and raping young women in Toronto, Canada, between the ages of 15 & 21. While Bernado still sits in prison, Homolka was released in 2005 with multiple restrictions attached to her releases. 

While she remains a threat to the community, Homolka now lives a free woman, regardless of the restrictions attached to her release. As she lives along, she continues to look to live a private life in a real Nancy Voorhees scenario. But does she deserve her privacy? 

If you haven’t seen “Five Star Final,” where the Voorhees reference comes from, we highly recommend watching it.

Karla Homolka’s crimes

While engaged to Paul Bernado, he took a liking to Karla Homolka’s younger sister Tammy. Bernado would break into her bedroom to masturbate. To please her fiance, Homolka broke slats in her sister’s blinds for Bernado to get better access to Tammy. 

The abuse went further as the couple drugged & raped Tammy twice. According to Homolka, the first time she drugged her sister’s spaghetti sauce with Valium. The second time she laced her sister’s drink with Halothane, an animal tranquilizer Homolka stole from the animal clinic she was working at. After the drug took effect, Bernado raped Tammy. 

She began vomiting and choked on her vomit resulting in her death. The couple put her in the basement bathroom before calling 911 to cover up her murder. Despite chemical burns to Tammy’s face, authorities believed the couple’s version of events. The two went on to kidnapped, raped, and murdered two other victims: fourteen-year-old Leslie Mahaffy & fifteen-year-old Kristen French. 

Karla Homolka’s trial & deal

Karla Homolka testified on her husband in exchange for a shorter sentence. Homolka told authorities he was abusing her, and she was an unwilling accomplice to it all. However, after authorities finalized the plea deal, videotapes revealed she was a much more active participant than she let on. 

For testifying against her husband, Homolka received twelve years in prison. In 2005, she was released with nine restrictions. They included notifying police of any residence or name changes, any travel plans for over forty-eight hours, report to the police station the first Friday of every month, and can’t work or volunteer around anyone under the age of sixteen. The courts lifted the restrictions four months later. 

Karla Homolka’s case for privacy

Karla Homolka, now fifty, sued a journalist for revealing her living situation, including where she was living & her assumed name.  The case was heard & dismissed by The Quebec Press Council. Her lawyer argued the reporting was a breach of Homolka’s privacy. 

Prisoners’ advocates agree with this view of privacy. According to Eric Bélisle, a coordinator at the prisoners’ rights group Alter Justice, “Yes, [Homolka’s crimes were] horrible but if we want a former prisoner not to commit a crime again — not just for Homolka but for former prisoners in general — they must be able to participate in society.” 

Bélisle recognizes the differences in Homolka’s case, given the horrific & public details of her crimes. However, for prisoners to reenter society after their sentences, public scrupulous isn’t fair. In his interview with the Montreal Gazette, he added, “If the court decided that there was no reason for strict supervision, you must have confidence in the experts.” 

Public vs. private figures

Prisoners fall under a delicate tight rope. While most trials like Karla Homolka’s are public, does it reasonably make them a public figure. Journalists have to make this determination with their editors & publications. In Five Star Final, the film depicts this struggle, and it costs the protagonists their life. Again if you haven’t seen it, we highly recommend you do.  

The council’s dismissal means Homolka is a public figure and not privy to the privacy rights allotted to private figures. They ruled the article in question was not the first to release Homolka’s location and didn’t release her exact address. It also ruled her assumed name Leanne Teale had been used in court documents and was first published in 1999. 

Though prisoners’ advocates believe the best thing for former prisoners is to return to anonymity. Many argue just because Homolka was in the paper once automatically makes her a public figure. She deserves the right to return to private life. Her crime might be horrific, but she’s served her time. 

What do you think? Does Karla Homolka deserve privacy? Let us know in the comments. 

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Comments
  • While Karla Homolka had rights the same as anyone before her alignment with Paul Bernardo, her resistance to his criminal ways was not apparent at any point during or after the crimes until the police were involved.

    In fact, had Karla not been personally abused by Paul, there is no evidence she would have told the police anything, ever.

    Having pursued a life of kidnapping, assault and at least a primary accessory to murder, it seems clear her regard for notoriety was and remained of little or no interest before she was arrested.

    Her present condition bears no relation to any supposedly deserved privacy. Incarceration, properly arrived, meets legal obligations to society but has no affect whatsoever on changing the past decisions of a perpetrator.

    Proper judicially arrived punishment neither changes or forgives the past, certainly not in the case of adult offenders.

    What is important is that young people be taught, preferably by their parents, that the forgiveness of society is difficult to measure and more difficult to reach on any assured basis. Karla could have learned something good and meaningful about boundaries at an earlier age. Paul could have learned something good and meaningful about boundaries at an earlier age.

    Legal name change? I see it as a blatant disregard for public safety and an error which could easily result in lawsuit directed at the court in the event personally damaging outcome.

    April 15, 2021
  • Of course she deserves privacy now.
    She has served the sentence which the court imposed on her, so now she should be allowed to get on with her life.
    Unless you believe in hounding people and vigilante justice of course

    May 13, 2021
  • This women should of been sentenced for life!!!! The court system failed there victims! For God sake her own sister! Who was the judge? This women should never been released. Eye for a eye is the saying! If this trial was in America she would of never got out! What about the victims?? They will never come back! So why she get off??? There is a reason.Disquisting!!!! I feel so bad for the victims family!!!!!

    May 24, 2021
  • I don’t know, I think she shouldn’t even have a life outside of prison, she should be in prison for life (in my opinion) because she is just as much to blame as much as Paul does. I mean after she found out that he’s a rapist (which can’t be that far into their relationship) she didn’t go to the police she just stayed with him. Now to the question, I think no, she should not have any privacy if anything she should be on high alert (again in my opinion). You don’t have to take my comment seriously because I didn’t do much research on the Barbie and ken killers all I did was watch the movie, I don’t recommend it if you like Misha Collins or Lara Prepon they play Paul and Karla (I watched it for Misha not knowing he was playing a Rapist until it was to late and I got invested into the plot)and watched a short video about them and read articles about them like this one

    June 9, 2021
  • Paul deserves to be released also as he did what most men would have done. He had sex with a few yng girls that he more than likely didn’t force. He likes to have sex and was a little out there. As for Karla in my opinion irrelevant to the bigger picture as she was not innocent in the whole deal.

    July 8, 2021
  • She shouldn’t be out of prison? She helped her husband drug n raped her own sister n killed her n they killed 2 more teenaged girls as well n my heart goes out to their families n friends. She should not ever been released, but, if she kills again the blood will be on your hands whoever let her out.

    September 12, 2021

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