Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crime Scenes and Murder Houses a Blight on Communities

Removal of evidence from Homolka and Bernardo's House of Horrors
57 Bayview Ave., St. Catharines, Ontario

"With murder houses, the severity of the stigma depends on a few factors, said Barry Lebow, a forensic real estate expert based in Toronto. A well-established neighbourhood with longtime residents will remember the murder and continue to associate it with the house, Lebow said. It also depends on how notorious the murder was, and whether the house was prominent in media coverage of the crime.
A study by two business professors at Wright State University in Ohio found that "stigmatized" or "psychologically affected" houses take 50 per cent longer to sell at an average price that's 2.4 per cent below comparable properties. A gruesome, high-profile murder can lower a selling price by as much as 15 to 35 per cent.
Despite the challenges of selling such a house, research shows esthetic changes can improve the chances .
"If there's been a murder and the house has been out there in the media, the first thing you should do is rearrange the facade of the house," Lebow said. Small changes, such as painting the garage a new colour or switching brass house numbers for plastic ones, can help distance a property from a crime.
Murder houses, however, can continue to attract public attention for years. The St. Catharines, Ont., house that had been rented by notorious murderer and rapist Paul Bernardo and his wife Karla Homolka was torn down in 1995. A new home - reportedly with a new number - was built on the site, Lebow said, but people still drive by to look."

The new home that sits where the house at 57 Bayview Drive once stood

Crime scenes a lasting reminder 'something horrible happened'
Julian Cummins, Edmonton Journal
December 11, 2011

"Horrific Video Tapes as Evidence"

Horrific Video Tapes as Evidence: Balancing Open Court
and Victims' Privacy

Bruce A. MacFarlane, Q.C.
Deputy Minister of Justice
Deputy Attorney General for the Province of Manitoba
September 25th, 1998

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gender and Crime

Gender and Crime (PDF)
Janet T. Davidson, 2009
21st Century Criminology: A Reference Handbook
Sage Publications

Monday, February 27, 2012

Law, Psychiatry and the Remaking of Karla Homolka

For those who enjoy scholarly reading, here's an interesting article I found discussing the case of Karla Homolka from a psychological and legal perspective.

"She remains caught in the maelstrom of public demonisation. Sympathy for this devil is constrained by her moral vacuity, by her desire for the Hollywood order of things - cute boyfriend, great looks, fancy wedding, perfect marriage, neat house - inverted, a wedding and three funerals, four if we count the only death she seems to mourn, that of her relationship with Bernardo. [...] The gap between law and the psy disciplines in the face of the problem of evil in women is painfully apparent in Galligan's struggle to comprehend and contain the findings of law's junior discourse. The fracture between criminal justice and social notions of justice is wider than ever."

Law, psychiatry and the remaking of Karla Homolka
Anne McGillivray, International Journal of the Legal Profession, 5:2-3, 255-288

Sunday, February 26, 2012

'I just wanted him to go to sleep'

"I just wanted him to go to sleep."

Christie Blatchford
Thursday, July 5, 2007
The Canadian Press

MEDICINE HAT -- The youth criminal justice system may have treated her as a victim, but the 13-year-old girl accused in the slaying of her entire family yesterday revealed the much sterner stuff of which she is made.

In cross-examination by prosecutor Stephanie Cleary, the girl, who can be identified only as "J.R.," was by turns testy, chirpy and spirited as she admitted she "might have" asked her boyfriend to kill her family for her, but she said the request would have been made sarcastically, "like, please, would you help me ... I was, like, never, 'Ohhh, this is a good idea.' "

She even allowed that she and the boyfriend discussed in these faux-murder hypotheticals that her brother couldn't be allowed to live, but said it was always done "in a stupid, joking, not-serious way."

The small courtroom was packed with "Hatters", as the residents of this small southeastern Alberta city call themselves, to hear the jarring juxtaposition of familiar teenage cadence applied to a discussion, even an allegedly joking one, of familicide.

And though the girl stuck tenaciously, if often inaudibly, to her denial that she and Jeremy Steinke had jointly planned the slaughter, she placidly agreed that she tried to choke her terrified little brother and stopped only when he began clawing at her arm.

"He was totally panicking," she said in her breathy low voice. "I was totally panicking. I just wanted him to go to sleep."

"But you were squeezing anyway?" Ms. Cleary asked.

"Yes," said the girl.

"You were squeezing his airway?"

"Yes," the girl said.

"He was fighting you, wasn't he?" Ms. Cleary pressed.

"Yes," the girl coolly replied, not a flicker of emotion crossing her face, eyes glittering like marbles.

By her version of her brother's death, moments after trying to choke him, at Mr. Steinke's shouted urging she stabbed the eight-year-old once in the upper body before Mr. Steinke allegedly snatched the knife from her and slit the boy's throat as she was backing out of his purple-painted bedroom littered with toys and games.

Both she and Mr. Steinke, then 12 and 23 respectively, are charged with three counts of first-degree murder, but he has yet to get a court date.

If the evidence at her trial has painted Mr. Steinke as the actual killer, this pony-tailed girl little more than half his age has emerged as the stronger-minded and arguably as the one calling the shots.

It was she who raged to anyone who would listen, but particularly to Mr. Steinke, who was besotted with her and pledging undying love in flowery poem, song and note, that she hated her parents and wanted them dead.

It was she who appeared, in Web chat that is now evidence in the case, to be wielding sex as a weapon over Mr. Steinke, once telling him, "I want to bang you," and according to one of his friends who testified here, threatening to break up with him if he didn't get the job done soon. By her testimony, they first had sex a week before the slayings, and again hours afterwards.

And it was she who, in love letters written after their arrest, was urging Mr. Steinke in essence to move on and advising him that whatever he said to anyone, even a psychiatrist, "can be used against you! For @#%$'s sakes! Rawr!"

Although she wept in court the first time she described her brother's last moments, and grew red-faced doing it a second time yesterday; although her lawyer, Tim Foster, two days ago drew out of her in careful questioning akin to pulling teeth her claim to blame herself ("it was my fault...'cause if I hadn't said those things, it wouldn't have happened"), there is on the evidentiary record here not one spontaneous expression of regret.

Yet the justice system has struggled from Day 1 to see the girl as anything other than a victim.

When Medicine Hat Police first arrived at her family's blood-spattered home and made their grim discovery, they spotted family pictures and noticed there was, as one of the officers testified, "a little girl," too, of whom they had seen neither hide nor hair.

The police searched the house again, checking closets (and discovering in one the little boy's pet hamster in a cage) to no avail: They believed the girl had been kidnapped and was in danger, and considered calling an Amber Alert.

Only later that night, after they discovered in the girl's school locker a cartoon of three members of a family of four being burned alive while the fourth merrily fled to a vehicle conveniently labelled as "Jeremy's truck," did they even begin to consider her a suspect.

The girl described that drawing as her regular "venting" of her fury against parental restrictions in a different form.

Indeed, she even referred Ms. Cleary to what a psychologist told her just days after her arrest.

The prosecutor was taking the girl through the long list of things she might have done that day, and didn't - from calling 911 to asking Mr. Steinke to stop, to sending her brother out the back door to get police, to protecting him herself.

"You didn't even try to save him, did you?" she asked.

The girl grew teary. "I was really scared," she whispered. "I thought he was going to try to kill me."

Yet by her own evidence, Mr. Steinke's first words, as he staggered upstairs, covered in blood and panting, were, "I love you. I love you." When he began yelling at her to stab her brother, the girl said she understood him to mean that he had killed her parents for her, and now she had to do this.

But the little boy was supposed to die all along, Ms. Cleary said, wasn't he? "That was the plan, wasn't it?"

"There wasn't a plan," the girl said, eyes filling up.

But if Mr. Steinke had done something "you never wanted, you never asked him to do, which surprised and shocked and horrified you," why then did she accept his jailhouse marriage proposal made just days later?

"My psychologist said it was post-traumatic stress disorder," the girl replied smartly, eyes clear now, mouth turning up just a touch at the corners.

She'd been in custody only four days at that point, and already the system was beginning to teach her the very lesson she learned so well: She'd been involved with a bad man and exposed to a bad thing, poor lamb.

The evidence in the case is complete. Lawyers will make their closing arguments tomorrow, with the judge charging the jury on Monday.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tearful Confession Evokes Homolka's Grisly Deed

Tearful confession evokes Homolka's grisly deed

By Christie Blatchford
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
The Canadian Press

MEDICINE HAT -- Perhaps not since Karla Homolka described the drugging and handing over of her younger sister as a Christmas present for her then-serial-rapist boyfriend Paul Bernardo has a Canadian jury seen and heard such a galling confession.

The 13-year-old girl accused in the slayings of her entire family took the witness stand in her own defence here yesterday to describe her little brother's last minutes, the boy mewling, calling her name and looking to her for help - and how his cries fell on her deaf ears.

Cut through her myriad tearful explanations - she was panicking, she feared for herself - what the girl admitted doing was first putting the eight-year-old's neck in a half-Nelson, nearly choking him, and then stabbing him once in the upper body.

An autopsy revealed the boy had been stabbed four times, twice in the face and twice in the chest, and had the pinpoint hemorrhages of the eyes and mouth commonly seen in strangulation. But he died of a 12-centimetre-long gash to his throat.

He weighed only 68 pounds and stood 4 foot 4.

The two cases have something else in common beyond the moral failure to protect a vulnerable younger sibling.

As Ms. Homolka impatiently justified her conduct at Mr. Bernardo's murder trial by saying that the idea was that Tammy would be drugged and raped just "the once" (alas, she choked on her own vomit and died), this girl told the jurors that she could bring herself to stab her brother only once, and not very deeply at that.

Both the woman and the girl, who was 12 years old at the time of the slayings and can only be identified as J. R., blamed their male partners.

According to the girl's version of events, she and her brother were cowering upstairs in the house, listening first to her mother's screams and then her father's desperate struggle for his life with her then-23-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy Steinke.

The little boy cried that he was scared, and his big sister offered a peculiar comfort: "I put the crook of my elbow around his neck and I squeezed," she said. "I was trying to make him go to sleep because it was horrible. I didn't want him to hear it."

But the boy cried: "What are you doing, [J. R.]? Stop, stop!"

She did, but any reprieve was short lived.

Shortly afterward, she said, Mr. Steinke staggered upstairs, covered in blood, panting his love for her. He spotted the kitchen knife in her hand, which she ostensibly had retrieved from her bedroom for self-defence, and yelled at her to stab the boy. "Stab him! Just stab him! Slit his throat!" she said he screamed.

"I can't," she said she told him. "I can't do it."

"You have to do this," Mr. Steinke told her. "I did this for you!"

"He was getting really, really mad," the girl said in her oft-inaudible soft voice. "I was panicking that he was going to hurt me.

"I stabbed my brother."

During this part of her testimony, elicited by her lawyer Tim Foster in a gentle manner straight out of a counselling session - "How did you feel about that?" he would often ask, like a friendly psychiatrist - the girl was weepy, red-faced, plucking at the folds of her smocked blue top and occasionally burying her face in her hands. Mr. Foster began to probe this turf by saying, "Let's talk about Jeremy, cause that's what we're kind of all here about."

In fact, this is the girl's murder trial; Mr. Steinke, facing the same three charges of first-degree murder, has yet to get a court date.

But for most of the rest of her day-long evidence, she was cheerful, often flashing a big white grin as she was led down memory lane by her lawyer. Her whispered mumbling, coupled with the teenager's penchant for turning every sentence into a question, had Mr. Foster, the judge, court reporter and even jury members variously begging her to speak up.

According to her, Mr. Steinke snatched the knife from her, and as she fled the room, her brother crying "[J. R., J. R.], I'm scared," she saw Mr. Steinke make a sweeping motion: "He slit his throat."

From the doorway of her parents' bedroom down the hall, "I heard my brother trying to breathe," she said. "It was gurgling."

Her professed fear of Mr. Steinke notwithstanding, the girl immediately fled after him to his trailer, and then to a friend's flat, where they had sex. "He pulled me on top of him and started kissing me," she said. "How did you feel about that?" Mr. Foster inquired solicitously.

"I didn't feel like anything was real," the girl said. "I was like so out of my mind, I couldn't really process what happened, I didn't want to think about it."

"Why did you go to Jeremy's?" Mr. Foster asked.

Too young to have heard the old joke about the child who kills his parents and then throws himself upon the mercy of the court as an orphan, she whispered, "Because he was the only person left that loved me and I knew he'd take care of me and I'd be safe with him."

Later, she offered a variant of this when asked to explain why she continued to write him after their apprehension, even accepting his jailhouse marriage proposal: "I needed to love him because I felt he was the only person left."

Several times, Mr. Foster asked if she had been able to cry about what the two of them yesterday came to call, in the passive voice others might describe tornados or acts of nature, "these things that happened."

"No," she said once, "this is too big to cry about." Another time, when he asked, "Were you able to cry about this?" she said she thought she'd cried the day she and Mr. Steinke were arrested across the border in Saskatchewan.

The girl's testimony confirmed other evidence heard earlier at the trial - that she had remarked to friends a day later that her brother had been "gargling" (she said it, she told the jury, to shut up Mr. Steinke's bragging); that the two of them had talked about killing her parents but only as "stupid talk" and what she called "hypotheticals" and never for a minute meaning it; that she was raging about the restrictions they put on her.

As for a stick drawing she did, portraying the burning alive of three members of a four-member family rather like her own, she said it was but another example of her "venting."

"I was angry," she said. "I was venting, heh-heh." She drew it in band class one day in late March, she said. "I guess I put it in my locker and forgot about it. It was a different way of venting ...."

Police found it in her locker on April 23 last year, the day the bodies of her parents and brother were discovered.

She seemed most outraged yesterday when Mr. Foster asked her if she had ever seen the "N word" on Mr. Steinke's page of dislikes on a website where they were both members.

"We had a conversation about that," she replied smartly, quite audibly for once. "I was mad at him for that."

A thoroughly modern girl, then: On her own profile on that website, her own dislikes list began, "Homophobia, ageism, sexism, hypocrites ..." Stabbing a little brother, choking him, listening as he fought for breath through a gash in his throat, are not so bad as all that.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jail House Love Letters

The following is a series of letters exchanged between J.R. and Jeremy Steinke as they awaited trial in the brutal slaying of the young girl's family.

Exhibit 64 
I love you with all my heart and no matter what happens please don't forget that people are lying, including Casey. I feel very alone. Stay strong. God I can't seem to write what I feel but I love you eternally. Try to hope, there is only so much bonds of flesh can do to the soul. kisses
Exhibit 65 
"There is only so much the bond of flesh can do to the soul!"
Dear Jaxz, *kisses* I'm sorry, I'm so very sorry, i love you with all my heart, and that will never change. [section whited out] I broke, I confessed. I'm sorry! I love you, I truly do . . . and I hope that one day I may be able to gaze into your eyez once again . . . I slept with your note in my hand every night, the only thing pushing me through this is the thought of you. I wish we could just go back in time and run . . . run far away and never look back. Never forget how much you mean to me or how much I love you! Without you I feel so empty and wish I could just die . . . no matter what I'm with you in mind and spirit, once this time comes, I hope to be with you in body too . . . keep this note close 2 your heart if I can write again I shall
kisses Jeremy 
Exhibit 66 
Dear my loverly Ba [indecipherable] te,
Please don't be sorry, I'm the one who needs to be begging your forgiveness. If only we ran, yes, but don't obsess on what could have been. In due time we shall have our castle. I am not whole without you. I love you with everything I am. I'll never stop and my promises shall be kept. However desolate it seems and shall become take it one day at a time. It can only get so bad before it gets better. I will be with you in spirit. I hope your doing allright, however large a task, please don't stress out to much. Having your sanity might be helpfull. More than anything I wish to be with you and hold you again. But until that time comes, know I love you.
xoxox (In joy and sorrow my sweet 666) Jaxz 
Exhibit 67 
Dear Cuddlebunny,
I'm sure that you are right, what's done is done. You need not ask for my forgiveness. Indeed, in due time our Empire shall be complete. Before you I was half and now that I am whole, I can't go back to being half. Your the one that I breathe, you're my moon when it breaks through the clouds at night, your all that I need. I long to feel your soft skin, I yearn for your kisses, for they could get me high. I hope that you stay true to your words. My entire faith has been bestowed unto you. With your words I shall remain strong, for you. Sometimes I have troubles sleeping at night, but I'm sure the thought of you before we get through the nights. 
In due time we shall be together once again . . . but until that day arrives, stay strong, keep hope & have faith! I love you with all my heart and soul! Never forget that okay my love. 
Til we speak again, xoxoxo Jeremy
Exhibit 68 
Never has a person affected me so much. Always will there be something missing without you with me. My lawyer tells me we're ledgends. Ha, close to immortality it would seem. Monday I'm being moved to Calgary "sadness." I need to stay in contact.
[written by J.R.] 
Exhibit 69 
Dear Jaxz,
I love you more than life, it's self. I've added you to my visitors list so once your released please visit after. Never forget how much I care or that I love you. We can keep visiting each other til we can be together again. Without you this life isn't worth living. *kisses* The thought of being with you is all that is helping me stay some what sane. We shall be 2 gether again I promise. Stay true to your promises and I shall to mine. Casey continues to lie. I wish I could hold u right now. Stay strong and continue to write me please . . . I need you. I love you, I miss you! *kisses* xoxoxo
your lover Jeremy 
p.s. U said you want to get engaged? Then here's a Q . . . Will u marry me? If so, then it is a verbal agreement.  
Exhibit 70 
May my heart become cold to all others.
Dear Jeremy, Ahahaha! I never thought I'd find myself hysterically laughing in a holding cell in these kind of circumstances . . . or ever really. But still! Ahaha you make me so happy! Yes! Yes! I will I would love to. Of course I'll come visit you'll have to find where you're being held. Ahaha god I'm so happy I must be happily insane then. Either way apparently I get a phyciatrist. Interesting information I came across. Anything you say to anyone including a phyciatrist, unless issued by a lawyer can be used against you for [expletive] sake. Rawr. The world really is against us. Do you have a lawyer yet? Do you know where your going in the near future? Oh I wish I could hold you and make you feel better! Argh I love you so much. I'm going crazy. Have you been in jail before? Ha I've counted and at times during the day a guard will come to "see if I'm okay" every 90 to 120 seconds lol
Oh did Casey happen to be in love with you? 
We've been in the papers everyday apparently. I haven't seen them but hopefully can Monday. Everything related to me knows that I am in jail and what not, but don't know anything other than the charges and seemingly doesn't believe because my aunty says they still love me. Although it was as if I wasn't alive before. Oh remember that gift I had for you? It was a charm bag I had made for your well-being and such. You may think it's stupid but I put a unusually large amount of effort into it. I believe the planetary alignment and everything else that takes months to explain was correct so it's still helpful I suppose. I'll pray and reiki you. You will have no choice in the matter. In regards to the first time I snuck out, we're "safe." I want to be able to talk to you soo bad I have far to much free time alone, mixed with my fear of isolation. Well you're the only thing keeping me strong XOX 
I have so much to say and contemplait but I'm going on here.
xox jazzy 
Dreams filled with visions of us help us through.
The following is a letter from Jeremy that police never delivered to J.R. It was released to the public on November 20, 2008:
In Joy & Sorrow My Sweet 666
Dear [J.R.]
I'm glad to hear that you accepted my proposal. Smiles. And you make me incredibly happy as well. I too am going for psychiatric assessment. I'm not sure where I'll be yet, but I'll let you know. The world may be against us, but remember that nothing beats love. Just reading your letters and knowing that you care and are going to be there 4 me makes me feel better. Rawr. I wish we could speak on the phone or something. I love you more than anything in this world. I too though am going crazy without you. Every night I wish you sweet dreams and a goodnight...No I've never been to jail before. Yah I hear you about the guards. I've starting counting the holes in my roof and so far I'm upto 700 and I'm not [indiscernible] a foot away from the wall yet. lol. I'm not sure about Casey, but I think that she's obsessed with me...but I could care le - [indiscernible] about her, that stupid #*#**. If I [indiscernible] come at her I would lol. I've [indiscernible] heard stuff on the radio. No one [indiscernible] possible understand why or [indiscernible] love [indiscernible] Either way we can start our [indiscernible.] No I don't think that your gift to me is stupid. I think that it's [indiscernible]. I wish I could have it. As for my gift to you...I bought you a corset I wish that I could see you wear it. Sighs. In time I hope to give it to you like I said before I think that your gift is my thoughts. I pray to you and 4 you every night. The thoughts of you keep me strong. And I wish for nothing more than to just be with you. Do you think of the future? What do you see? I see you! Dreams filled with visions of us do help me.
XOXOXO Your Loverly Bastard Goodnight.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"If you can't do the time, do the crime in Canada."

This amateur video appeared on a web site called Guadaloupe Today:

Karla Homolka: Emily Bordelais 2012
myhappyending20111, YouTube
December 14, 2011

The voice over audio is garbled and very tough to understand, and the soundtrack (Britney Spears?) is bizarre, but it features a photo or two I hadn't seen yet so I thought I'd share it here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Resolving Gender Bias in Criminal Defences

Resolving Gender Bias in Criminal Defences
Stanley Yeo, Monash University Law Review, 104-116 (1993)

The Disturbed Mind: Compliant Victims of the Sexual Sadist

The presentation of Karla Homolka as a victim of her husband, Paul Bernardo, relied heavily on the work of Dr. Roy Hazelwood; particularly his paper The Disturbed Mind: Compliant Victims of the Sexual Sadist.

"This is a descriptive summary of the experiences of a sample of women who have been consensually involved with criminal sexual sadists. The paper details the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse to which the women were subject as well as the process by which they were transformed from independent, competent woman to the compliant appendages of their criminally active partners. Similarities in the sexual sadist's criminal and consensual sexual activities as they reflect a specific paraphilic preference are discussed."

The Disturbed Mind: Compliant Victims of the Sexual Sadist (PDF)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three Contributions to Theory of Sex

This has been called one of Freud's "most momentous and original contributions to human knowledge."  It stands alongside Interpretation of Dreams as his best-known work.

Three Contributions to Theory of Sex
(Second Edition, Second Reprinting)
Sigmund Freud, LL.D.
Authorized translation by A.A. Brill, PH.B., M.D.
With introduction by James J. Putman, M.D.
Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series No. 7
Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co.
New York, 1920 

Reforming a Runaway Devil

There really are no definitive resources for information about this case for me to source/credit/link/implore people to familiarize themselves with. It's not for lack of public interest in the horrific murder of an entire family - minus one - but because of the fact that very few details were ever released due to the age of the young murderess. Were it not for the fact that J.R. was very briefly assumed to have been a victim of kidnap, we wouldn't even know her name

Technically, I'm not supposed to call her by name. However, I know for certain that I'm not the only one whispering it in the darkened corners of cyberspace, so I will not allow the Canadian governments misguided attempts to protect mankind from itself to dissuade me from what I know in the depths of me to be right: Richardson should be held accountable for her actions. Her actions perpetrated against her family were thoughtless, careless, and brutal. Who actually wielded the knife for which percentage of time seems desperately irrelevant in the face of the fact that her father, mother, and little brother are all dead and it was she, JR, who came up with the plan to slay them.

You see, JR had a boyfriend; a much older man. Jeremy Allan Steinke, 23, met the 12 year old at a punk show, and it was puppy/pedophile love at first sight. JR was a beautiful girl who appeared mature beyond her years (she lied about her age in a number of online profiles), but I guess I can see how she may have fallen for him. Steinke wasn't much to look at, and was dumb as a proverbial stump, but he gave the impression of being some sort of leader of misfits which was exactly what JR was looking for at that time. Those who've never dabbled in a subculture simply wouldn't understand -- they were punky goths, were into role playing games, and vampires; there is at least a handful of kids like this in every high school, it's really not that uncommon.



Jeremy took the spooky lifestyle to extremes; proclaiming to be a 300 year old werewolf or some other such nonsense. Again, it would definitely sound weird to most, but there is a certain subsection of the population that wouldn't even bat an eyelash if somebody told them that. Young Miss Richardson didn't seem to think it alarming, and she had proven herself to be of above average intelligence. Unfortunately, young girls often fail to consider the icky motives of older guys who show interest in them. It's a very confusing time for young women. But I digress... Although I am willing to accept JR's tender age as an excuse for having rotten taste in boys, I am not willing to excuse what happened next.

Obviously, Mr. and Mrs. Richardson (Marc and Debra to their friends) didn't like the idea of their little girl dating an older man of questionable character - Jeremy was technically old enough to be her father, after all. They discouraged the relationship, and even resorted to grounding JR and forbidding her to see Steinke. Since the dawn of time, parents and children have struggled against each other over issues just like this one: who to/not to date; when to/not to be home at night; and so on. Miss Richardson began fantasizing about killing her parents in order to be with the man she loved. It was a darkly romantic ideation which she shared with her boyfriend, Jeremy, and other friends. Beyond even that, JR and Jeremy left a nasty little trail of online breadcrumbs that would later become evidence in a shocking murder investigation.


Nexopia is a popular social networking community for teenagers in and around Edmonton, Alberta. Interestingly, an age limit of 13 was recently adopted at the site; I can't help but wonder if the Steinke/Richardson clusterfuck had something to do with the decision. In 2006, Jeremy posted there as souleater, and JR posted as runawaydevil.

To: runawaydevil
From: {souleater}
Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2006, 2:36 p.m.
Subject: Haha!
God I can't get over not seeing or talking to you, I yearn to hear your soft suttle voice, & long to be held in your arms where ever that might be I don't care but just to share the time we have together with your are t die for and there is not anything that could ever replace the way you make me feel! :hearts: I miss you, I love you & I wish that we could just go somewhere we could jest be alone together for a little while... : ( or as long as you would like? I think tonight I'm going to write another song to you! :D won't that be fun especially seeing as you shall not read it or hear it till I see you next! tehee :rofl: well I guess I should go or something but I hope to hear from you much sooner than later! ttyl Cuddlebunny *hugz&kissez*

To: runawaydevil
From: {souleater}
Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 4:30 p.m.
Subject: Re (2): Hey Sexy!
Aw so now that you've seen this poem what do you think? I'm glad that you miss me but I wish you didn't have to... :( But I guess the only way that is possible is by us being together indefinately right? :blush: It makes me so happy that Matt supports us in what we want to do together it's just 1 less person who we don't have criticizing us! :D I have a song in the midst of being written for you! I hope you'll like it too! & what of the vile of blood I gave you what are your words on expressing your thought on that item of my love to you??? Yay! when are we going to go get together & kill some more pitiful souls??? :nuts: well ttyl hopefully you can call or sumthin' & let me know what's up for 2morrow if I'm picking you up again or what's going on??? Take Care my lovely! :date: Love You! XOXOXO :love:

To: killmyheart
From: {souleater}
Date: Thursday, March 16, 2006, 9:22 p.m.
Subject: Re (8): No subject
What do you mean? I'm not quite following you! :imslow: well a certain somebody that i know along with it's toy & the whole point of killing them would be to start a spree across Canada! :rofl: kinda like the legendary Mickey & Malory love :love: birds! now have you seen that movie it's called "Natural Born Killers" it's the best love story of all time I loves it so much I wanna do it myself! :nuts: well I guess we'll see the cuz it's tomorrow! well ttyl! Cyz! :D

souleater:  I was worried cuz she was getting in so much crap that we were going to have relationship problems, but she said she'd never break up with me and to stop worrying about it.
Super.Jesus:  :( Tell her parents to shove it.
souleater:  yeah right that will work... um we were thinking more among the lines of killing them :rotfl: yepperz & the best part is it was her idea! :D

runawaydevil: I miss you more than killing people. Can we get together and kill people?
runawaydevil: Rawr. I hate them. So I have this plan. It begins with me killing them and ends with me living with you...
souleater:  Well I love your plan but we need to get a little more creative with like details and stuff.

* Transcript source:  CanWest MediaWorks Inc.

Together, they romanticized the notion of killing JR's parents. Certainly, it wasn't the first time young lovers had pondered such things; Oliver Stone made a wildly successful cult movie about it, for crying out loud! What separates Jeremy and JR from all the other teenagers who have plotted against their superiors is the fact that in the wee hours of April 23, 2006, their plan came to fruition. JR would later testify that she was in a zombie-like state at the time of the killings; unable to stop her boyfriend or go for help. However, several of their friends testified that the lovers laughed about the murders in the hours that followed, and even pointed out details about the crimes that only the killers would know. JR and Jeremy were arrested the following day. JR's best friend Kacy Lancaster would later be charged as an accessory for helping them get away to the town of Leader, Saskatchewan about 80 miles away.

It truly baffles my mind, the fact that for all their bravado-laced talk about murdering the girl's family so that they could be together, they put no thought whatsoever into what to do after the massacre. Jeremy left the scene and went home to his trailer, leaving JR alone in her house with her dead parents and brother. JR snatched her mother's ATM card, got money for a taxi, and rode to meet up with her boyfriend at his home. The cab driver testified that the young woman he drove to the trailer park in the early hours of April 23 appeared calm and cool, and he certainly wouldn't have imagined her to have just taken part in her own family's murder. The gruesome twosome's big plan was to kick it with their buddies less than 100 miles away from the grisly scene of the crime. Presumably, they thought they would just continue killing everyone who got in their way, just like their Natural Born Killers heroes Mickey and Mallory Knox. I have often wondered: why didn't they just run away? At the very least, it would have given them some much-needed practice in the careful art of being fugitives.

Shortly after their arrest, Steinke proposed to his teenage queen via message, and the young Miss Richardson happily accepted. How bloody fucking romantic. Ironically, the brutal lolita's testimony was decidedly un-romantic. She effectively sold Steinke down the river in court, claiming that he showed up unannounced in the middle of the night and started killing her family. Her parents went first, on the lower level of the home (Mr. Richardson literally fought to the death, the court heard), and then the pair killed little Jacob together in his bedroom upstairs.

“He yells at me, ‘Stab him, just stab him! Slit his throat!”
“I said, ‘I can’t, I can’t,’ and he said, ‘You have to. I did this for you.”

Officially, JR admitted to stabbing her brother only once - on Jeremy's insistence - weakly, in the chest. She claimed that it was her boyfriend who finished the job, and then left her, alone and afraid, with her dead family. Quite honestly, I might be willing to buy JR's story were it not for the actions and demeanor attributed to her after the fact. Shouldn't her cab driver have encountered a young woman who appeared distraught in some way? Should she have been able to laugh about it with her friends mere hours later? The pieces of the puzzle, as they remain on record, simply don't add up to a full and complete truth.

Even if her claims are true, that she had merely fantasized out loud about killing her family, and that she never actually wanted to physically murder them, that still doesn't absolve her of her markedly emotionless response to the fact that they were all dead now, and had died quite painfully and violently. Anyone of sound mind and body would have to be deeply affected if not traumatized by that... wouldn't they? All I see are questions regarding this case and the way it was handled, with no easily apparent answers.


On July 9, 2007, JR was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the killings, and sentenced to the maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. She was given credit for 18 months of time served awaiting trial. Four years were to be served in a psychiatric institution, and four-and-a-half years to be served under conditional supervision in the community.

The Calgary Herald reported in September, 2011 that the teen killer had been living in an open custody group home since 2010, and was enrolled as a freshman in Calgary's Mount Royal University. After this became known to the media, her lawyer received a postponement of a post-sentencing hearing due to the fact that his client's rehabilitation plan had been compromised. Because of youth criminal justice and privacy laws in Canada, her identity and psychiatric reports are not to be revealed. By age 22 (approximately 4 years from the date of this writing), JR will have served her time and will be released - and will be a recent university graduate, to boot!

On December 15, 2008, Steinke was sentenced to three life sentences on each of three counts of first-degree murder. The sentences are to be served concurrently; Steinke will be eligible for parole after serving twenty-five years. No fancy mental health centres or group homes for Jeremy; his time served will be of the hard variety. Be that as it may, he won't exactly be an old man when he is ultimately set free, which seems unfair given the amount of innocent blood he spilled, and the sickeningly careless manner in which he spilled it.

Above: Jeremy's friends weep following a session in court.
Below: Steinke's mother praying for her sons soul, I guess?

I'm sure I am not the only person who has wondered if J&J still keep in touch, somehow, and if they have any plans to meet up again on the outside...?

And, not to worry about JR's exposed identity, folks. I'm sure she already has a new, unspoiled one picked out, just like her strikingly-similar predatory predecessor, Karla Homolka. In fact, Homolka could have taught young JR a great deal about how to cover up one's actions so as to prolong the mayhem, and enjoy it for as long as possible. I would venture that it's only because JR was so much younger than Karla when she forayed into a murderous lifestyle that she was unable to get away with it for more than a day.

More from Mascara & Murder...

Jail House Love Letters
Transcripts of a series of letters written by J.R. and Jeremy Steinke after their arrests.

(Handwritten) Jail House Love Letters
View handwritten letters by JR and Jeremy Steinke after their arrests.

'Tearful confession evokes Homolka's grisly deed'
Transcript of July 4, 2007 article by Christie Blatchford

'I just wanted him to go to sleep'
Transcript of July 5, 2007 article by Christie Blatchford

Runaway Devil Almost Free
Status update on J.R.'s "Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision"

Life without adults "tricky" for Runaway Devil
Commentary on the challenges to J.R.'s reintegration into free society.

Remembering the Richardson Family
Article commemorating the sixth anniversary of the murders.

Runaway Devil Online
View screen captures from JR's public profiles on various social networking sites.

Runaway Devil's Stick Figure Murder Plot
View a hand-drawn comic strip depicting a family being burned alive. The drawing was discovered in JR's school locker during the police investigation.

Medicine Hat Murder House
View a Google Maps photo of what the house looks like today. A new family now lives on the property, which is exactly what neighbours had wanted.

Runaway Devil and the Ross Glen 7-11
View a Google Maps photo of the convenience store that J.R. visited twice on the day following the murders, along with a map of the route she took from the crime scene.

Jeremy Steinke Abandons Appeal
Update on convicted triple-murderer (Runaway Devil's "sweet 666")

Runaway Devil is *Really* Sorry
Update on J.R. resulting from her latest sentence review hearing in October, 2012.

Facebook Weighs in on Runaway Devil
View and discuss two opposing Facebook pages debating the future of the teen killer.

Runaway Devil Attending Grant MacEwan University?
Not exactly the most reliable source, but Facebook says she's switched schools!

Runaway Devil: More Facebook Fodder
A summary of the more informative posts snipped from the bastion of present-day communication.

Outside Links

Runaway Devil
Site related to the book about the case against J.R. and Jeremy Steinke, by Robert Remington and Sherri Zickefoose

Monday, February 20, 2012

Karla Homolka Huffs, Puffs, Demands Parole

The following letter was written by Karla Homola to Correctional Services Canada in 2003 -- ten years after she was sent to prison for her role in the deaths of teenagers Tammy Lyn Homolka, Leslie Mahaffy, and Kristen French:

The Shafia Family: Honour Killing on Trial

I have been following the news on this tragedy since the story first broke in 2009. The bodies of 19 year old Zainab, 17 year old Sahar, 13 year old Geeti, and 50 year old "Aunt" Rona Shafia were found in a submerged vehicle in the Rideau Canal.

Even before any arrests were made in connection with the drowning deaths of the Shafia women, the grisly discovery made at Kingston Mills Locks was viewed as highly suspect in the community. Anyone who is familiar with the area would know that it would have been very difficult for a vehicle to 'accidentally' enter the water where it was found. Furthermore, there were no markings on the nearby pavement to indicate that any attempt had been made by the driver of the vehicle to stop or swerve before it plummeted into the water. Police investigators came upon their first real clue when they discovered broken pieces from another car at the scene, suggesting that the black Nissan the women were found dead inside had been pushed into the water by another vehicle. The other vehicle in question also belonged to the Shafia family.

It has been revealed that Hamed Shafia returned to Montreal, where the family lived, in the early hours of June 30 and reported to police that his vehicle had been damaged in an accident. He then made the 250 km drive back to Kingston, where he and his parents, Hamed and Tooba, later reported the women missing at the Kingston Police Headquarters. The Shafias claimed that their eldest daughter, Zainab, had asked for the keys to the Nissan after they had all checked in to a hotel for the night. Zainab drove off with her two sisters and "Aunt" Rona (who was actually Mohammad Shafia's first wife), and hadn't been seen since. 

Police suspected that the Shafia's weren't telling the entire story, and placed the family under surveillance; wire taps were installed in the family's home in Montreal, as well as inside their vehicle. A number of incriminating statements were recorded, which ultimately led investigators to believe that the four dead women were victims of honour killing: a tribal custom practiced in some regions in which the victims are perceived to have brought shame to their family. 

Mohammad Shafia:
Be I dead or alive, nothing in the world is above honour.
Mohammad Shafia (speaking about his deceased daughters; Zainab, in particular):
God's curse on them for generation! May the Devil shit on their graves! Is that what a daughter should be? Would a daughter be such a whore?
Mohammad Shafia (speaking about his deceased daughters):
It was all treason, they committed treason from beginning to end. They betrayed humankind, they betrayed Islam, they betrayed our religion and creed, they betrayed our tradition, they betrayed everything.

The Shafia family is originally from Afghanistan, where the practice of honour killing is not uncommon. Mohammad, Tooba, and Hamed are currently being tried on four counts of first degree murder. Their case has attracted international media attention, as public awareness (especially in the West) about honour killings has been growing since the United Nations brought a resolution to end honour killings and other honour-related crimes. There is currently no reliable estimates for the rate at which honour killings occur.


More from Mascara & Murder...


Excerpts from Slain Woman's Diary

Outside Links

Kingston Whig Standard Staff Reporter Rob Tripp maintains this highly informative crime blog, and I've spent countless hours perusing his wares. If you're interested in keeping up with the Shafia Family trial, you'll definitely want to bookmark this blog, as it contains information you won't find anywhere else. Updated frequently!

Thoughtful and informative article by one of my favourite journalists, Christie Blatchford. Blatchford also did some amazing work on the Karla Homolka/Paul Bernardo trials.

A shocking study by Phyllis Chesler

Excerpt from Slain Woman's Diary

Mohammad Shafia (center), flanked by
first wife Rona Amir, and second wife Tooba Yahya

Diaries kept by Rona Amir Shafia before her death were presented as evidence in the case against Mohammad, Tooba, and Hamed Shafia. The slain woman's writings paint a grim picture of what life was like inside the Shafia home before a cold, calculated murder plot was enacted to punish Rona, Zainab, Sahar, and Geeti for their perceived crimes against the family's "honour."

An excerpt:

"Some time later one day Tooba told Sahar to come and peel some potatoes. Sahar told her sister Geeti to go and bring the potatoes. Tooba said [to Sahar], "You bootlick and fawn on others but will not come [to do my bidding]." She summoned Sahar to her and gave her a tongue lashing.
Later, Sahar come home and mixed the medicine Paizin, which is found in handbags for preservation, in some water and drank it. When I came home and saw what had happened I was very upset. I slapped myself and said, "Why do you want death? Why did you take medicine [to commit suicide]?"
Her mother said, "She can go to hell. Let her kill herself."
I said, "Why should she kill herself? Why did you give her to me in the first place? I don't want this to happen."
She said, "This will be the last day for you here."
I said, "You Paghmani, you can't kick me out. You are one wife of his, I am another."
She said, "You are not his wife, you are my servant."
Later Shafie came and I went to bed. The following morning Tooba had told him everything. Shafie was furious at me. I told him everything that had happened since Dubai. I said, "What is it that I am to blame for? What have I done?"
I saw that Shafie calmed down and went back. After a couple of days Shafie sat me down and proceeded to preach to me, telling me that I should try to get along with Tooba. He put the blame on me, even though I was innocent. Each and every time since Tooba entered our family, Shafie has sided with her, even when no blame attached itself to me. This sort of injustice I cannot put up with anymore.
I was so frustrated. I used to wander in parks and cry. When I returned home no one would speak with me except for Geeti and Sahar, furtively, when their mother was not there. It was very painful for me, very difficult. She wouldn't allow any of the children to sleep in my room. I always had to go out to call my family in order to calm down. Then I used to come back and prepare something for myself to eat.
Tooba and I would not speak to each other for some 5-6 months. Then one day, when it was my birthday, Tooba bought a cake and sent it to me by the hand of her daughter and I went to her to thank her. Thus, we reconciled.
The night before, IDENTITY PROTECTED had made us reconcile but we still wouldn't speak with each other. At this juncture, I told Tooba everything, how life was so difficult for me here, and expressed the hope that she would help me. She promised me that she would."
Source: CBC News

Sunday, February 19, 2012

From a Woman In Danger to a Dangerous Woman

Admittedly, this article is fraught with inconsistencies and half-truths which will leap out immediately to those who are familiar with the details of this case. However, I think it's still an interesting piece which perhaps inadvertently contributes to the Homolka mythology.

Karla Homola: From a Woman in Danger to a Dangerous Woman - Chronicling the Shifts
Jennifer M. Kilty MA & Sylvie Frigon PhD, Women & Criminal Justice, 17:4, 37-61

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Defence of Coercive Persuasion

The Compliant Victim of the Sexual Sadist and the Proposed Canadian Defence of Coercive Persuasion
Assistant Prof. Frances E. Chapman
The International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law - 22nd International Conference
Codifying the Criminal Law: Modern Initiatives, Dublin, Ireland

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Karla Homolka and the Devil

Karel and Dorothy Homolka were the proud parents of three beautiful girls: Karla, Lori, and Tammy Lyn. The family settled in the town of St. Catharines, Ontario, and – up until Christmas Eve 1990 – led a decidedly normal and unassuming life.

Karla Leanne, the eldest of the three sisters, seemed obsessed with the notion of happily ever after since early childhood. She treasured her collection of Barbie dolls, and would often dream about one day having the perfect husband, the perfect home, and the perfect life, just like Barbie.

Fate struck the petite blonde at the tender age of 17, when she met her now-infamous match, Paul Kenneth Bernardo, in a hotel restaurant. Karla and a friend from the pet store she worked at were staying at the hotel for a business convention. Paul walked into the restaurant (also with a friend), and sat down at the table with the two young girls. After a hot and heavy flirtation session, Karla took Paul upstairs to her room, and they made passionate love while their friends awkwardly observed.

The fact that Paul was six years her senior only seemed to heighten Karla’s infatuation. Paul was handsome, charming, educated, and career-oriented – precisely the kind of man that she had been dreaming about; the kind who could give her the story book ending she had always pictured for herself. If Karel and Dorothy Homolka had any issues with their daughter dating an older man, they quickly resolved those issues in favour of welcoming Bernardo into their home and family. Dorothy took to affectionately referring to him as her “weekend son.”

Unfortunately for the Homolkas and so many others, Paul Kenneth Bernardo was not all that he appeared to be. Since puberty, Paul had developed a rather strong taste for voyeurism, and was caught a number of times for peeping in his neighbourhood. The harder he tried to satisfy his increasingly-strange sexual urges, the more desperate his cravings became. On May 4, 1987, he committed his first known rape. By the time he and Karla began dating, he had already committed a number of rapes and other sexual crimes against women. By September 1995, he had come to be known as the Scarborough Rapist. 

Bernardo alleges that, early on in their relationship, he asked his young girlfriend what she would think if he told her that he was a rapist. Reportedly, Karla’s response to him was: “That would be cool.” Eager to impress her older and more experienced boyfriend, Karla produced a set of handcuffs and suggested that Paul use them on her. She also let him gag her, put a dog collar around her neck, and engage in strangulation play while they had sex. Although Karla was willing to do just about anything to please Paul, a sexually-experienced teen wasn’t quite what he was looking for. Paul Bernardo was into virgins.

Karla was not a virgin when she met Paul, and nothing she said seemed to make him forgive this. When he approached her about his desire to deflower her youngest sister, Tammy, Karla reluctantly agreed. He told her that she owed him, because she wasn’t able to give him her own virginity. He also told her that, if she didn’t help him get what he wanted, he would just take Tammy, anyway. He was becoming a rather prolific rapist, after all…

Karla was working at a veterinary clinic, and had unrestricted access to a number of surgical-quality sedatives. Ultimately, she settled on Halothane, an inhalational general anaesthetic that she had seen the veterinarian use to put animals to sleep before surgery. She stole a supply of the drug, thus setting the unthinkable plan into action. On December 23, 1990, Paul informed Karla: “we’re doing it tonight.” 

Karla laced her baby sister’s spaghetti (Big Sister’s specialty) with sleeping pills that she had ground to a fine powder. The family then indulged in a few rounds of Christmas Cheer. Because of Tammy’s age, and the fact that she probably wasn’t accustomed to drinking alcohol (only on special occasions), nobody seemed concerned when she began slurring her speech and claimed that she was seeing double. When the rest of the family prepared to retire for the night, Tammy insisted that she wanted to stay up to watch a movie with Paul and Karla. Together, they watched approximately 20 minutes of Lisa and the Devil before Tammy passed out unconscious. Karla and her deviant lover wasted little time in going about their plan.

Paul raped Tammy Lyn repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while Karla held a rag soaked in Halothane over her little sister’s nose and mouth. In the clinic where she worked, they used sophisticated medical equipment to ensure that just the right amount of the drug could be administered (too much could be dangerous), but for their purposes on that fateful night, the rag would simply have to do. The last thing that Karla wanted was for Tammy to wake up while Paul was raping her. Karla urged Paul to use a condom, and to finish quickly, but he ignored her. After he finished raping Tammy, he instructed Karla to commit a series of sexual acts upon her unconscious sister. Initially, Karla refused, but Paul was persistent… 

By the time the attack on Tammy was complete, Paul and Karla had a home movie by which to remember the occasion (Paul taped everything). They also had a major problem on their hands: Tammy began to vomit, and to choke, and then she stopped breathing. Paramedics were called to the Homolka residence, but Tammy could not be revived. Tammy Lyn was dead. The autopsy on her body was conducted poorly, and as a result, her death was ultimately ruled an unfortunate accident. Paul and Karla were in the clear.

Less than two months after Tammy’s death, Karla wrote the following in a letter to her friend, Debbie Purdie:

Fuck my parents. They are being so stupid. Only thinking of themselves. My father doesn’t even want us to have a wedding anymore. He thinks we should just go to City Hall. Screw that! We’re having a good time. If he wants to sit at home and be miserable, he’s welcome to.
He hasn’t worked except for one day since Tammy died. He’s wallowing in his own misery and fucking me! It sounds awful on paper (but I know you’ll really see what I’m saying).
Tammy always said last year that she wanted a forest green Porsche for her 16th birthday. Now my dad keeps saying: ‘I would have bought it for her, if I’d only known.’ That’s bull. If he really felt like that he’d be paying for my wedding because I could die tomorrow, or next year, or whenever?
He’s such a liar.

Karla and Paul moved into their own home; a dreamy, pink clapboard house on Bayview Drive in the nearby town of Port Dalhousie. Karla dutifully attended to wedding plans in her time off from the veterinary clinic, while Paul became more and more involved in an “easy money” cigarette smuggling operation with his friend, Van Smirnis.

On the night of June 15, 1991, Paul was driving around looking to steal some license plates for his smuggling business when he spotted a young girl, 14 year old Leslie Mahaffy, hanging around in the darkness. They talked a little; she told him that her parents had locked her out of the house for breaking curfew, and asked him for a cigarette. Paul forced her into his car, blindfolded her, and took her back to his house on Bayview.

Leslie was held hostage for 24 hours, while Paul and Karla repeatedly raped, tortured, and humiliated her. Paul’s trusty camcorder hummed in the background, recording the teenager’s degradation for posterity. The following day, Bernardo claimed, Homolka fed her a lethal dose of Halcion. Homolka claimed that, instead, Bernardo strangled her. The pair put her body into their basement.

The next day, Dorothy, Karel, and Lori Homolka joined the soon-to-be newlyweds for Sunday dinner. After Karla’s family left, Paul dismembered Leslie’s body with a circular saw, and encased the pieces in cement. Together, Paul and Karla dumped the remains in Lake Gibson. A little more than two weeks later, Paul and Karla were married in a lavish ceremony at Niagara on the Lake. Leslie’s remains are uncovered by a couple of unsuspecting fishermen that same day.

Now with two dead girls, and a growing list of sexual assaults under his belt, Paul is still unsatisfied. On April 19, 1992, Paul and Karla go out driving in search of another teenage “sex slave.” They encounter 15 year old Kristen French on her way home from school. She had long, brown hair, and was dressed in her school uniform. Karla reportedly suggested to her husband: “What about her?”

Paul seemed quite taken by Kristen; she was held captive at 57 Bayview for three days, enduring the same sort of torture that had befallen Leslie Mahaffy. Paul and Karla took turns holding the video camera while Kristen was repeatedly raped, beaten, and defiled. Paul forced Kristen to say that she loved him. He also forced her to watch her parents on television, pleading for her safe return. Kristen did what she could to please her insatiable captors in the hopes that they would let her go.

On April 19, Kristen’s spirit was set free. Paul claims that Karla killed their captive while he was out picking up dinner for the three of them. Karla testified that she stood in the room and watched while her husband strangled Kristen with an electrical cord. However it happened, Paul and Karla left her where she lay while they showered, dressed, and headed off to enjoy Easter dinner with the Homolkas. Upon their return, they washed Kristen’s body, cut off all her hair, and dumped her – naked – less than a kilometer from the place where Leslie Mahaffy was buried.

The investigation into the deaths of Leslie and Kristen were botched from the very beginning. Unbelievably, Paul was right under the noses of police before the murders had even occurred, yet the authorities failed to realize it. He had been directed to provide a DNA sample for the investigation into the rapes in Scarborough, but that sample wasn’t tested until much later.

When the police approached Karla with a number of questions about her husband, she freaked. She told them nothing on that day, and instead arranged to meet with a lawyer friend of the family. After a bitter fight and a violent beating, Karla and Paul had been living apart. Detached from her fairy tale husband, Karla was now ready to spill her guts.

Prosecutors were open to a deal, facilitated by George Walker, where Karla would plead guilty to a lesser charge and receive a pre-determined sentence of ten years, providing that she did not cause any of the deaths herself, and that she provide full disclosure of her role in the crimes while testifying against Bernardo.

What nobody knew at that time (besides Paul and Karla) was that the videotaped assaults of Tammy Lyn Homolka, Leslie Mahaffy, and Kristen French would eventually surface during Paul Bernardo’s trial – thus rendering the need for Karla’s testimony moot. Another thing that the authorities couldn’t have possibly realized at the time was just how much Karla seemed to enjoy the time that she and Paul had spent with the girls.

Karla Homolka may be a liar, but the camera is not.

While undergoing psychiatric evaluation before her trial, Karla wrote the following letter to Karel, Dorothy, and Lori Homolka on April 13, 1993:

Dear Mom, Dad and Lori,
This is the hardest letter I've ever had to write and you'll probably all hate me once you've read it. I've kept this inside myself for so long and I just can't lie to you anymore.
Both Paul and I are responsible for Tammy's death. Paul was "in love" with her and wanted to have sex with her. He wanted me to help him. He wanted me to get sleeping pills from work to drug her with. He threatened me and physically and emotionally abused me when I refused. No words I can say can make you understand what he put me through. So stupidly, I agreed to do as he said. But something -maybe the combination of drugs and the food she ate that night- caused her to vomit. 
I tried hard to save her. I am so sorry. But no words I can say can bring her back. I have thought many times of killing myself but I couldn't put you through the pain of losing another daughter and sister again.
I don't blame you all if you hate me. I hate myself. I live with the pain of knowing I unintentionally killed my baby sister every day. I think that's the real reason I put up with Paul's abusive behaviour - I felt I deserved it for allowing him to drug and rape my beautiful baby sister. 
I loved her so much and never wanted to do anything to hurt my 'Tamiskins' please believe me. I would gladly give my life for hers. Nothing I can do or say can bring her back. I don't expect you to ever forgive me, for I will never forgive myself.

Karla “allowed” Paul to drug and rape Tammy Lyn, who “unintentionally” died as a direct result. Karla stole the drugs from the vet clinic, and Karla administered the fatal combination of sleeping pills (which Tammy unwittingly mixed with alcohol) and Halothane – but only because Paul threatened and abused her. Karla is obviously very sorry for what she did, evidenced by the fact that she admits she has often thought of killing herself. Bless her heart; she decided to spare her parents and sister the pain of loss times two.

What a shining example of humanity, this heavenly creature that is Karla Homolka.

Following one of the most sensational trials in Canadian history, Paul Bernardo was convicted of a number of offences, including two counts of first-degree murder, and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. He was sentenced to life in prison (about 20 years in Canada), but was later declared a Dangerous Offender, meaning that it is unlikely that he will ever be released. Paul Bernardo will almost certainly draw his final breath in Kingston Penitentiary, where he is being held in segregated solitary confinement.

Karla served every day of her own prison sentence: 10 years as stipulated in her original deal with the prosecution, plus an additional 2 years for her involvement in the death of Tammy Lyn Homolka (although she was never officially charged or convicted for her involvement in her sister's death). The better part of her prison term was served in comparative comfort at a rehab-oriented women’s facility in Joliette, Quebec.

When exclusive photos of Karla seemingly enjoying herself in “jail” were published, people were outraged all across Canada. Under pressure from the Court of Public Opinion, Karla was quickly moved to a decidedly less cushy facility -- a men’s prison – where she came into contact with an inmate by the name of Jean Paul Gerbet.

Depicted in the media as “another Paul Bernardo,” Gerbet was convicted of strangling his girlfriend, Cathy Caretta, in a jealous rage. Reportedly, Gerbet and Homolka carried on a steamy, forbidden affair – exchanging sexy notes, nude photos, and underwear. When Homolka applied for parole, her ongoing relationship with Gerbet was listed as one of the reasons that her request was denied: “You have secretly undertaken an emotional relationship with another inmate, and evidence gathered seems to indicate that this relationship rapidly became sexual," the panel stated. 

Homolka was released on July 4, 2005 amid a media feeding frenzy – camera crews staked out Ste. Anne Des Plaines prison, scrambling for an exclusive shot of perhaps the most hated woman in Canadian history. Shortly after her release, she legally applied to change her name but her request was denied. Within a year, she got the name change she desired when she married Thierry Bordelais, a French/Canadian citizen believed to be a relative of Karla’s lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais. 

A media firestorm ensued yet again when it was reported that Karla had given birth to a baby boy less than two years after her release from prison. The average Canadian seemed to have a hard time making sense of the fact that a woman who had taken part in the murder of three children now had a child of her own. At present, she has three children – ironically, one for each life she helped to extinguish.

When it was reported in the media that Karla and her new family had left the country, Canadians generally seemed to be relieved. In truth, Karla Homolka (now calling herself "Emily Bordelais" or "Leanne Teale Bordelais") still makes her home in Canada, at least for part of the year. Some allege that Karla has actually returned to St. Catharines -- the scene of her crimes -- on a number of occasions to visit her aging parents, and sister Lori (aka “Logan"), who is also married with three children of her own. 

Unbelievably, it has been reported that Karla now makes a living in the child care industry. Not only is she an ESL teacher in her husband's home country of Guadeloupe, but she also runs a web site selling children’s clothing and diapers which she makes herself: Bébé Douceur.

Finally, if you're in need of some advice on child rearing, Karly Curls dishes it out in lumps on the parenting message board BabyCenter under the alias "".

Truth, dear friends, is so much more fearsome than fiction.

More from Mascara & Murder...

Fireside Chat
Transcript of a video segment that came to be known as the "Fireside Chat."  In the segment, Karla talks about how great it was when they raped her little sister, Tammy, together. She also tells Paul of her plans to help him kidnap and rape more "virgins." The segment ends with Karla and Paul having sex in her dead sister's room while she pretends to be her dead sister. Good, old fashioned family fun at the Homolka house!

Karla Homolka's Plea Agreement
2 for 1! Downloadable PDF of Karla's authorization for her legal counsel to enter into a plea agreement with the Crown, as well as the actual agreement.

The Galligan Report on Certain Matters Relating to Karla Homolka
Downloadable PDF document of full report produced for the purposes of evaluating Homolka's plea bargain after the fact.

Bernardo Investigation Review: Report of Mr. Justice Archie Campbell
Downloadable PDF document of full report produced for the purposes of evaluating the investigation into the crimes of Paul Bernardo and his wife Karla Homolka.

Karla Homolka Huffs, Puffs, Demands Parole
Read the letter written by Karla Homola to Correctional Services Canada in 2003; ten years after she was sent to prison for her role in the deaths of teenagers Tammy Lyn Homolka, Leslie Mahaffy, and Kristen French.

Paul Bernardo Interview with Toronto Police Services Sex Crimes Unit
Downloadable PDF transcript of Bernardo's June, 2007 interview with police. Yes, he's still crazy, and still blames the actual murders on his lovely and talented ex-wife.

Karla Homolka: The Stephen Williams Letters
View complete transcripts of a series of letters Karla Homolka wrote to journalist and author Stephen Williams during her incarceration.

CBC Radio-Canada Interviews Karla Homolka
Complete transcript of Karla Homolka's post-prison release interview with Radio Canada in 2005.
New: Video Added!

Petition: Release the Karla Homolka Broadcast!
Add your name to the petition to Canadian documentary series The Fifth Estate for the release of the shocking Karla Homolka Broadcast.

Karla Homolka 'Haunted' by Victim on BabyCenter
Read responses from a mysterious user using the name of Kristen French to 'haunt' Karla on a popular parenting message board.

Haunting Karla Homolka
News media article related to the psychic Karla contacted to rid her murder house of unexplained noises and voices.

'The Day an Entire City Grieved'
This article recently appeared in the St. Catharines Standards concerning the anniversary of the murder of Kristen French.

Dissecting Karla Homolka... Astrologically
View the astrological chart compiled for Karla by users of the astrology forum Elsa Elsa.

Killer Karla Born 42 Years Ago Today
Lamenting the birth of Canada's Most Hated Woman.

From Homolka to McClintic: Explaining the Inexplicable
Discussion of the popular science surrounding sexually violent female offenders

Magnotta: "I am not dating Karla Homolka"
Murder suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta drums up publicity for his ego by associating himself with notorious child killer Karla Homolka.... and then he denies it.

Canada: Land of Maple Syrup... and Evil?
Dissecting a laugh-riot of an article on the inherently evil nature of Canadians.

Magnotta: "My life is in danger and I need your help."
Exploring list of abuses Luka Magnotta claims were perpetrated against him by a mysterious man named "Manny" -- the list is eerily similar to the list that his heroine, Karla Homolka, provided to police as part of her testimony against estranged husband Paul Bernardo.

Leslie Erin Mahaffy: In Loving Memory
Memorial post on the date that Leslie was murdered by Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.

Finding Karla
Article about a Canadian journalist who followed a trail of bread crumbs left by savvy Internet watchers all the way to Guadaloupe, where she found Karla Homolka living in obscurity... and then wrote a $3 article about it.

More Thoughts on "Finding Karla"
What's the difference between a "stalker," a "sleuth," and a "respected journalist?"  I'm not entirely sure, but I discuss the topic, anyway, in this post!

Photographing Karla Homolka: Zoran Milich's Story
Read about how photographer Zoran Milich captured the first images of Homolka since she fled to the French island of Guadeloupe with her husband and three children.

"Serial Killer in Guadeloupe?"
Guadeloupe Television (GTV) news story on Karla Homolka; unfortunately, the video is available only in French.

"What do people in Guadeloupe think about Karla Homolka living there?"
Link to an article about local reactions to the e-book that revealed Homolka's whereabouts in the Caribbean.

BabyCenter Users Weigh In on Homolka
Read a very interesting discussion posted to one of Karla's favourite online hangouts; concerned mothers discuss the fact that Homolka -- a convicted killer -- was in their midst.

Finding Karla... for Profit
Discussion of the surprising financial success of Paula Todd's recent e-book

Kowtowing to Karla?
Should Karla Homolka, her life, and crimes be off-limits now that she has children?

The Fifth Estate: Karla Homolka
Watch the award-winning CBC documentary!

Karla Speaks for Herself
Watch video footage of Karla Homolka discussing her role in the crimes she committed alongside serial rapist Paul Bernardo

"I cried more hearing her tell what happened..."
Poignant words from one of Karla's BabyCentre acquaintances.

Homolka Clone on TV's Dexter
Spoiler Alert!! Is new character "Hannah McKay" based on Karla Homolka?

Bernardo-Homolka Tweet not Trending
Television star Lena Dunham broadcasts tasteless Halloween costume ideas.

The Smirnis Brothers: Where Are They Now?
Learn about Bernardo's childhood friends who eventually turned him in for the reward money.

Bernardo's First Love
Meet Nadine B., Paul's high school sweetheart.

Lori Homolka: "It's so easy to con people."
Meet the younger Homolka sister that Karla didn't kill.

Karly Curls 2.0
Exploring the evolution of Canada's Most Hated Woman.

Bernardo & Homolka: Worst of the Worst
Discussion of recent McLeans poll on the most depraved criminals in Canadian history.

Bye Bye, Bébé Douceur
The online shop selling baby gear hand made by a killer appears to have gone out of business.

Teacher Homolka: Rumour or Reality?
Exploring the facts behind the reports that Karla Homolka now works as a teacher.

Karla Does Christmas
Learn how Karla Homolka celebrates the anniversary of her first murder.

Outside Links

Bernardo/Homolka Discussion Forum & Resource Archive
Virtual warehouse of information on the case, including shocking details on Karla's current whereabouts. The board owner sleuthed Karla out in the most unlikely of places using nothing but fortitude and good, old Google. If there is anything you want to know about the case, you'll find it here!

Law and Disorder
Great blog maintained by Stephen Williams, the author of two (highly recommended) books about the crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.

PBKH Resources
Massive collection of news articles related to the case. In most cases, the documents are actual copies/scans of the original articles. It took me a while to sift through this archive; an excellent resource.

Karla Homolka Information
Another spansive message board-style resource on Canada's most-hated woman. Some very interesting discussions here; including a number of "guest" appearances by some of Paul and Karla's living victims.