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Karla And Paul Bernardo Essay

1333 words - 6 pages

Karla Leanne Homolka, also known as Karla Leanne Teale, (born May 4, 1970 in Port Credit, Ontario, Canada), is a Canadian serial killer who attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter in the rape-murders of two teenaged girls; her husband, Paul Bernardo, was convicted of their murders and admitted having raped numerous women. Homolka and Bernardo also were responsible for the rape and death of her sister Tammy. In return for her confession and testimony against her husband, she was given a plea bargain whereby she escaped the maximum penalty for her crimes. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served 12 years in prison. She now lives in an undisclosed ...view middle of the document...

Instead of entering the family business, Kenneth Bernardo became an accountant. After her father had disapproved of an earlier suitor, Eastman married Bernardo in 1960. Like his father, Kenneth Bernardo was said to be abusive and Marilyn, after having given birth to a son and a daughter, found refuge in the arms of her previous suitor. She became pregnant and gave birth to Paul Kenneth Bernardo on August 27, 1964.
The elder Bernardo was tolerant of the affair and put his name on the birth certificate. He had other personal problems, however: he fondled a girl and was charged with child molestation in 1975; he was known as the neighborhood peeping tom; and he sexually abused his own daughter. Bernardo's mother sank into clinical depression over her husband's abuse and gained a great deal of weight. There is the suggestion that she suffered from untreated hypothyroidism, which is extremely common in the Great Lakes basin. She withdrew from family life and lived in the basement of their Scarborough home. Though the elder children felt the effects of the emotional and mental turmoil, young Paul appeared to be unscathed by it. In his book Lethal Marriage, Nick Pron describes the young Bernardo: "He was always happy. And he was so cute, with his dimpled good looks and sweet smile, which many of the mothers just wanted to pinch him on the cheek whenever they saw him. He was the perfect child they all wanted: polite, well mannered, doing well in school, so sweet in his Boy Scout uniform."
Following an argument between his parents when Bernardo was 16, his mother told him of his actual parentage and that she and his "father" had covered it up by putting the family name on his birth certificate. Repulsed, he began openly to call his mother "slob" and "whore". Bernardo graduated from Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute, opting to work for Amway, whose sales culture had a deep effect on him. Bernardo and his friends practiced their techniques on young women they met in bars, and were fairly successful. By the time Bernardo attended University of Toronto Scarborough, he had developed dark sexual fantasies, enjoyed humiliating women in public and beat up the women he dated.
On October 17, 1987, Homolka, then 17, met 23-year-old Bernardo at a Scarborough restaurant. They were in bed together an hour later. Bernardo proposed to Homolka on December 24, 1989; Homolka called it "the most romantic moment of her life". Their relationship ended in 1993, when Homolka divorced Bernardo and began testifying against him.
Bernardo's trial for the murders of French and Mahaffy took place in 1995, and included detailed testimony from Homolka and videotapes of the rapes. The trial was subject to a publication ban which applied to Canadian newspapers and media, and the venue was moved to Toronto from St. Catharines, where the murders occurred. However, the ban did not affect American newspapers and television stations from nearby Buffalo, New York from...

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