When this notorious case hit the headlines 19 years ago I couldn’t stand to hear the details. I refused to watch the news and see the precious faces of Leslie Mahaffey and Kristen French , the two beautiful little schoolgirls murdered by serial rapist Paul Bernardo and his then-wife Karla Homolka. Due to their blonde “good looks” (I cannot consider sickos to be attractive personally) they were called the Barbie and Ken Killers (Mattel must be so proud). I knew about it, since everyone was discussing it and shaking their heads as if in disgust. Some were disgusted. I believe that. But there were women working with me at, of all places, the Peel Regional Police, who found the case fascinating and were happy to sit about like clucking hens chatting away as if it was Christmas. They knew it upset me. I was young then. Nowadays, I’d go to the union and have them told to shut up or find themselves suspended. But I digress… watch how is paul bernardo doing
Before the schoolgirl murders, Homolka and Bernardo drugged, raped and “accidentally” murdered Homolka’s sister, Tammy Lyn. When Tammy Lyn died, Homolka covered evidence of the assault and the coroner ruled she died by choking on her own vomit after drinking and taking halcion. Bernardo had always liked Tammy and even had Homolka pretend to be her sister during sex. He asked Homolka if he could have sex with Tammy and Homolka agreed, obtaining the alcohol and the sedative. Creepily, 2 weeks after Tammy Lyn’s death, Bernardo filmed Homolka dressed in her late sister’s school uniform prior to their having sex. watch the Ken and Barbie killers 2/2
I have never blogged about the French-Mahaffy murders. To be sure, this blog deals with such crimes but this one hits too close to home: St. Catherine’s is but a few hours from where I live and working at a police station made it even more difficult. Once while on a call with a cop, he paused for a moment and listened to the radio for details about a car that was seen locally and matched the description of the vehicle that abducted both girls. The gruesome case constantly surrounded me in my private and professional life.
Blogging about the schoolgirls has made me weep: I have a teenaged daughter now. I cannot imagine the trauma the girls’ parents suffered during and after the trial, and the trauma they will suffer for the rest of their lives. The Mahaffys divorced one year after the trial. Around the time of Leslie’s abduction, they were participants in the parent support group Tough Love. The group advised them to lock their daughter out of the house should she break curfew again. Leslie broke curfew, they locked her out, and she paid for it with her life. Too much blame, too much hurt, no more marriage. Some tragedies never end. watch and listen to sarah mclachlan – angel
Which brings us to the Homolka half of Bernardo-Homolka. Homolka served her 12-year sentence, a plea bargain that prevented her from serving a life sentence. A shame. Police discovered after her manslaughter deal was done that she had relished her participation in the murders far more than she had relayed (there’s a surprise). After 12 years, a university degree earned at Ontario tax payers’ expense, and she was free to marry her lawyer’s brother, Bordelais, move to Guadelupe and have 3 children of her own. If that isn’t the ultimate insult added to grave (sick pun) injury, the worst injustice added to a brutal tragedy, the most regretful move lawmakers have likely ever made in Ontario and ever will, I don’t know what possibly could be.
Having said, her 3 children will eventually be exposed to the truth about their murderous mother. When that day comes, they will no doubt be highly traumatized. Their lives will never be the same. Perhaps Homolka’s history will answer long-held Bordelais family secrets: harsh discipline; verbal abuse; and other decidedly dysfunctional scenarios. It is impossible for me to believe that Homolka is a good mother. A sociopath cannot develop the maternal bond with her children as those of us with a foothold in sanity.
However, even this well-deserved consequence in Homolka’s life will not be enough punishment for what she has done. Homolka, aka Leanne Bordelais, should not be free. She should not be married. She should not be living in beautiful, sunny Guadelupe. She should not have 3 children of her own. Oone good thing at least: I doubt she lets them stay out after dark. But then again, are they any safer at home with their mother? watch karla homolka is found on a street
A friend once told me that I “labour under the illusion that life was meant to be fair.” The implication was that when I no longer believed that “fair” was the way life would and should be, the easier my life would be. Since then I have learned to accept, with much more grace, that indeed life isn’t fair. In doing so, I expected that this philosophy could make me, as my friend implied, not happier, but perhaps more content when people’s acts seemed beyond comprehension. If only my friend been right. That would seem much more fair to me.