Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Real Life Horror: The Ken & Barbie Killers



Dubbed ‘The Ken and Barbie Killers’ for their blonde, tanned and seemingly wholesome image, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were in fact a husband and wife team of serial killers from Ontario, Canada.


On October 17, 1987, seventeen year old Karla ,who worked at Veterinary clinic, met 23 year old Paul Bernardo, a graduate of the University of Toronto, in a hotel restaurant during a Toronto pet industry convention. Within hours they were having sex in a hotel room. On December 24, 1989, Paul and Karla became engaged.

Paul would later confess being the “Scarborough Rapist,” committing at least 14 rapes in the Scarborough, Ontario area before he met Karla. Paul provided hair, blood and saliva samples to Toronto police for their Scarborough rapist investigation November 20, 1990. Later in 1990 after Paul lost his job at Price-Waterhouse, he began smuggling cigarettes to make money.

On December 23, 1990, Karla stole Halothane, an animal anesthetic, from her workplace. Karla wanted to give Paul her younger sister, Tammy, as a Christmas present. They served Tammy spaghetti spiked with Valium stolen from Karla’s work. Karla fed Tammy a mixture of alcohol and halcion to sedate her, and then they covered her face with a halothane-saturated cloth before. during the time Paul was raping her, Tammy woke up. As a result of the drugs, Tammy choked to death on her own vomit. Her death was ruled an accident.




In mid January 1991 Paul picked up a young female hitch-hiker, he brought her to Karla’s bedroom in the Homolka home to rape her in then fterwards he dropped her off on a back street. The following month the couple moved into a rented house in St. Catharines Ontario suburbs.

On June 14, 1991, while stealing license plates for his cigarette smuggling operation, Paul met Leslie Mahaffy, who was locked out of her home. He invited her to his car for a cigarette, then he drove her to his home against her will. Karla and Paul kept her as a sex slave, the videotaped assaults even show Karla fixing up for the video ahead of time. After days of torture they killed her In their basement, Paul cut up her body with a circular saw and Karla washed the body parts before setting them in concrete.

On June 29, 1991, Karla and Paul had a fairy tale wedding, before riding off in horse-drawn carriage at Niagara-on-the-Lake. That same day, Leslie’s body parts were found encased in cement by a couple canoeing in a city lake. A newspaper clipping found in Paul’s home described a violent rape in Hawaii on their honeymoon. Due to extradition issues, the rape was never prosecuted.




April 16, 1992, in a church parking lot, with map in hand, pretending to be lost Karla asked 15-year-old Kristen French for directions. From behind Paul approached her with a knife forcing her into the car. They sexually abused and tortured her for days then killed her before Easter dinner with Karla’s family. Kristen’s body was found in a ditch with her hair cut off on April 30, 1992.

In January 1993 Karla left her husband after he allegedly beat her with a flashlight. A physician stated: “the worst case of wife assault I have seen.” Karla had two black eyes, a hemorrhage in the left eye, a contused forehead, bruises on her neck and arms, bruises and swelling of her legs and a puncture wound above her knee.

Paul was arrested February 17, 1993. The officers violated his legal rights by not allowing him to call an attorney despite repeated requests. Therefore, the initial eight-hour interrogation was inadmissible as evidence. Karla used an “abused spouse” defense.



A search warrant was executed in the Bernardo home February 19, 1993. During a 71-day search the police did not find the videotapes of the rapes of Leslie, Kristen, Tammy or anyone else. (The home owners later demolished the home and sold the property.)

The Canadian Crown offered a plea bargain for Karla’s testimony against her husband. After a long standing verbal agreement, the plea deal was signed in May 1993. Karla’s plea bargain was labeled “Two for Tammy” for two counts of manslaughter, adding two years to her ten-year sentence making it a twelve-year sentence.

After her plea deal, videotapes were discovered in Paul and Karla’s rented home revealing her involvement and participation. May 6, 1993, Paul’s lawyer, Ken Murray, gained access to the Bernardo home to retrieve videotapes from an upstairs bathroom ceiling light fixture. Paul gave Ken Murray, his attorney, instructions of where to retrieve six hidden videotapes of the rapes of Tammy Lyn Homolka, Kristen French, and Leslie Mahaffy. He kept these videos in his possession for 16 months to prove Karla was not as innocent as she and the Crown maintained. Murray resigned in September 1994 and he turned the videotapes over to Paul’s new attorney, John Rosen. (In 1997 Ken Murray was charged with obstruction of justice and possession of child pornography for not turning over the videotapes. He was acquitted in June 2000.) The police took possession of the tapes in September 1994.




Police eventually found a tape of the couple with an unidentified American prostitute, showing Karla raping an unidentified unconscious girl. Later police discovered the full tapes revealing the minor’s identity. Prosecutors had the opportunity to charge Karla with another crime and prosecute her for lies in her earlier testimony but on May 18, 1995, they agreed not to prosecute Karla further incident, and not to break the deal. The decision was final.

June 28, 1993, Karla’s trial began. She plead guilty on two counts of manslaughter receiving a ten-year prison sentence on two counts of manslaughter in July 1993. Her pleas and the statement of facts were protected by a publication ban ordered to ensure a fair trial for Paul. She was sent to Kingston Prison for Women.

Paul’s trial began May 18, 1995. Paul’s claimed the murders of Kristen and Leslie were accidental. June 29, 1995, Karla testified against Paul. The videotapes were shown to Karla as she testified againnp'+iv̮1aul was found guilty of all nine charges against him, including two counts of first-degree murder for killing Kristen and Leslie on September 1, 1995. He was sentenced to life in prison on September 15, 1995. On November 1995, he was declared a “Dangerous Offender,” ensuring he will not be released on parole.




Paul enjoyed stories about serial killers, including Bret Easton Ellis’s "American Psycho". He assumed the surname, “Teale”, in homage to the fictional serial killer Martin Thiel, played by Kevin Bacon in "Criminal Law". In April 1996, an Ontario Court judge ruled that videotapes showing the rape and torture of Paul’s victims must be destroyed after they are no longer needed for legal purposes.


In July 1996 a six-month-long inquiry into the police investigation of Paul concluded that the investigation was hampered by numerous mistakes made by officers and police department rivalries. If his DNA samples were processed in a timely manner Paul’s crimes could have been prevented.


In his book, “Invisible Darkness,” Stephen Williams indicated these tapes were available in some “underground circles” at high prices. Williams sold segments of the video to Home Box Office for use in the show “Autopsy.” Home Box Office aired short segments of the rape of Tammy in “Autopsy 8.” The videotapes do not show the deaths, but the infliction of injuries that caused death. On November 30, 2000, prosecutors dropped charges that Williams broke a court order by watching the tapes. Since the Crown didn’t want to air the tapes in court again, so the judge dismissed the charges. (Williams arrested on May 4, 2003, for the publication of courtroom exhibits.)




Paul was convicted of Tammy’s murder based on an autopsy after her body was exhumed. Robert Baltovich was convicted for the 1990 murder of 22-year-old Elizabeth Bain. Baltovich contends Paul killed her. Witnesses testified to seeing Elizabeth, an acquaintance of Paul’s, with a blond man matching his description before she vanished . December 2, 2004, the Ontario Court of Appeal set aside Robert’s conviction and ordered a new trial. In 1998, the Derek Finkle book “No Claim to Mercy,” presented evidence tying Paul to the murder.

Homolka was transferred to Joliette Institution in Quebec during the summer of 1997 when the Kingston Prison for Women closed. During her imprisonment psychologists agreed Karla exhibited severe clinical depression, battered spousal syndrome, and post traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. Sharon Williams, an expert on sex offenders and psychopaths, evaluated her between 1996 and 1999, and concluded that Karla was not a psychopath. Karla participated in a treatment programs in prison. She refused to participate in a program for male sexual offenders. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology 

from Queen’s University, with high grades.



The Ontario Court of Appeals dismissed Paul’s request for a new trial in March 2000. The Supreme Court of Canada denied Paul’s leave to appeal his murder convictions September on 21, 2000.


September 22, 2000, a Montreal Gazette article and photo inferred Karla was in a lesbian relationship with Christina Sherry a child-rapist. The article was accompanied by a photo of the two together. Independently wealthy Lynda Verroneau, now convicted of bank robbery, sold pictures and stories to the media claiming Karla pretended to be her lover to get lingerie and a computer. In January 2003 the Toronto Sun published pictures of Karla in Joliette sunbathing, playing with a cat, and on a swing set.


October 9, 2000 Karla was transferred to a maximum-security prison in Saskatoon for a psychiatric examination. Her lawyers claimed her life was in danger if she were removed from Joliette. After Karla received death threats at Joliette, she was transferred to Ste-Anne-des-Plaines prison north of Montreal where her boyfriend, Jean-Paul Gerbet, is incarcerated for the 1998 murder of his ex-girlfriend. Karla was transferred to a Montreal psychiatric hospital to undergo treatment in January 2001.



In December 2001, the six videotapes of victims being abused to death were finally destroyed. The National Parole Board denied Karla’s application for early release, saying she is a risk to kill again in March 2001 and again in March 2002.

Stephen Williams was arrested and charged May 4, 2003, for illegal publication of courtroom exhibits. He wrote a book on Homolka, published in French on November13, 2002, containing excerpts from letters between the author and Karla. The English version: “A Pact with the Devil,” Karla was published in February 2003.

Ontario Police imposed 94 additional charges against Williams related to his books in October 2003. He was awarded a grant on May 2004 from the Human Rights Watch, for legal costs. On January 14, 2005, after pleading guilty, he received a three-year suspended sentence and was ordered to serve 70 hours of community service




The National Parole Board ruled on December16, 2004 that Karla must stay in prison for her full term. In May 2005, Karla officially changed her name to, “Karla Leanne Teale.” “Teale” the same name Paul took from his hero, the fictional serial killer “Martin Thiel” in the film "Criminal Law".

Karla appeared in a court June 2, 2005, in Joliette, Quebec as prosecutors requested restrictions be placed on her freedom. This was the first time she was seen in public since she testified against Paul 10 years earlier. Judge Jean R. Beaulieu ruled Karla still posed a risk to society and imposed the following conditions of her release on June 3, 2005.

She is required notify the police of any changes in her name, home and workplace addresses and who she lives with. If she leaves home for more than 48 hours, she must give the police 72 hours notice, She is prohibited from any contact with Paul, violent criminals, the families of her victims, and anyone under the age of 16, She is prohibited from consuming any drugs other than prescription medicine, She is required to continue therapy and counseling. She must provide police with a DNA sample.




A judge must approve her release application every year. There is a maximum two year prison term for violating the order.

On June 29, 2005, a Quebec judge turned down Karla’s request prohibiting the media from divulging details about her life after her release from prison. Justice Paul-Marcel Bellavance ruled that the public has a right to know her location because of the severity of her crimes and another court ruled she could still be dangerous.

Karla, 35, was released from Ste-Anne-des-Plaines prison on July 4, 2005 after serving a 12-year sentence. The same day speaking in French she gave an interviewed to Radio-Canada television. Her mother was present but stayed off camera.




Before Karla’s release, Paul was interviewed by police. July 5, 2005, his lawyer, Tony Bryant, told the media Paul wanted to free the girls they held captive. Leslie saw Paul’s face when her blindfold fell off, Karla thought she recognized him, and it was Karla’s plan to murder her by injecting an air bubble into her bloodstream, causing an embolism. Karla attempted to murder Leslie after they raped her. Paul said Karla participated in a kidnapping and a rape not widely reported.

Finally on November 30, 2005, Quebec Superior Court Judge James Brunton lifted the restrictions on her freedom under Section 810 of the Criminal Code.

“The possibility that Ms. Teale (the name the killer Homolka now goes by) might reoffend one day cannot be completely eliminated,” wrote the judge. However, her development over the last 12 years demonstrates, on a balance of probabilities, that this is unlikely to occur. She does not represent a real and imminent danger to commit a personal injury offence.”




Karla Leanne Teale is now free to associate with criminals, including murderer Jean-Paul Gerbether, her incarcerated lover, and even Bernardo, her ex-husband. She is allowed to care for young children without supervision, travel freely without notifying authorities, and she may contact the families of her victims.

After Tammy Homolka died, Paul Bernardo saved as many items of hers as he could; he kept an empty cereal box simply because he knew she’d eaten from it. He went so far as to take a healthy dose of the same Halothane and sedative concoction that ended her short life, to know something of what she went through, he says. Such histrionic behavior seems typical of Bernardo.

The death of Karla’s sister was strangely under-investigated and in Paul and Karla lore, Tammy Lyn’s significance in general is often overlooked. But according to Paul Bernardo, he beat his wife that late December night after she admitted that Tammy’s death was not the emotionally devastating event for her that it was for him–and if that’s true, it presents us with yet another dark aspect of the Bernardo-Homolka tale.

Karla now has a child of her own, Paul in Kingston Prison.

If you want to watch a documentary on "The Ken & Barbie Killers" then just check out the video below:

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