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June 11, 2005

The ugly soul of a pretty girl

Georgie Binks has some choice words on Karla Homolka, the former wife and murder accomplice of serial killer Paul Bernardo.

For those who don't know the particulars of the case, Homolka was 17 and had no criminal record when she met her husband-to-be, who was then already in his early twenties and already an accomplished--and notorious--serial rapist who prowled the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. She worked at an animal clinic part-time. She was just about as ordinary as they come; she'd never have made the front page news on her own. In fact, the only noteworthy thing about her is how willing she was to do anything to get the guy. She was one of a high-school clique who called themselves the "Diamond Club", because the objective of the members was to see who could get engaged first (complete with obligatory ring).

Karla, of course, won.

And no wonder. Look at what closed the deal for her:


Laura Rowe, who served as a member of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board during Homolka's arrest explains, "She's the ultimate submissive. 'You want a virgin -- I'll find you one. You want to have sex with a prostitute when I'm in bed with you -- I will do it.' She's the ultimate sexual fantasy in a bizarre way even for the healthiest of men -- a woman who is willing to go along with anything."


The virgin in question was Karla's baby sister, Tammy, 15. Karla Homolka "gave" her as a Christmas present--quite possibly the sickest ever--to her then fiance, Bernardo.

Karla had stolen halothane--an anesthesia gas--from the animal clinic where she worked at the time. She crushed several sleeping pills and mixed them into Tammy's drink. When Tammy got woozy from the combination of Halcion and alcohol Karla had fed her, and passed out, Karla ensured she stayed that way by holding a halothane-soaked cloth over her nose and mouth while Bernardo raped her. She also complied with his requests that she digitally penetrate Tammy. She complained that it was "fucking gross", but not because it was her baby sister she was sexually abusing; it was because Tammy was having her period.

And the entire sexual assault was caught on video.

Then, after the camera stopped rolling, things went even more horribly awry. Tammy threw up, as a lot of drug-overdose victims do, and choked to death on her own vomit. The death was accidental, but what led to it certainly wasn't.

Two more "virgins", 15-year-old Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, 14, would die before the pair's criminal career was up. Both were strangled to death with an electrical cord. Mahaffy's corpse was dismembered with a Skil saw, the parts encased in concrete and dumped in a nearby lake; French's hair was cut off to make identifying her difficult before her nude corpse was dumped in the brush by a roadside.

Paul Bernardo, being the Scarborough Rapist, was clearly the one in charge of the criminal operation. Everything that happened was his idea--his fantasy. But it all might not have happened if he hadn't had an accomplice to help him kidnap those girls and keep them prisoner, as well as taking turns with him at sexually assaulting them for the video cam. Guess who that accomplice was?

But wait, there's more. A handful of other Bernardo victims, also caught on tape, didn't die. They, too, were lured with the help of a very compliant accomplice, who helped make videos of the assaults. She also drugged them so they wouldn't fight back, or even remember much of what happened. Guess who?

Karla Homolka cut what many have criticized as a "sweetheart" deal with the Crown. She got 12 years in prison for her part in the kidnap/rape/murders of French and Mahaffy, but nothing for the drugging death of her youngest sister. In exchange for this relative leniency, she agreed to testify against her soon-to-be ex-husband, who by then had turned abusive on her, beating her with a flashlight. Her black-eyed photo was a fixture on the front page of every tabloid in the country. And she did, indeed, testify against him, saying he killed the girls by strangling them with an electrical cord after he was done making his home porn tapes. She also testified that it was Bernardo who dismembered Leslie Mahaffy and put her body parts in concrete for dumping. And while Leslie's waterlogged remains, in their crumbling concrete blocks, were being fished out of the lake, Karla and Paul were parading around the streets of St. Catharines in a horse-drawn carriage and full bridal regalia, oblivious to the cops unravelling their sordid secret life. It was their wedding day--and of course, it was all caught on tape.

Of course, there are those who believe Karla was the real killer, the real ringleader. Paul Bernardo would undoubtedly like us to think so; it might just get him off lighter so he can get back out on the streets and live out his violent fantasies again, this time under a different name. Karla's notoriety can only serve him; perhaps even better than her submissiveness could.

And yes, she is an unbelievable bitch, for what other kind of woman would hand over her baby sister to a rapist to do with as he pleased--on video, yet? It's impossible not to despise her. And there's also no doubt that her sweetheart deal with the Crown should have been negated by the fact that she is responsible, albeit unintentionally, for her sister's death. She definitely deserves a harsher punishment than she got. She is by no means innocent. But is she the real killer?

Remember, she was only 17 and had no previous criminal record when she met Bernardo. He was the one who'd been raping his way around Scarborough; he'd been a peeping Tom in his teens, then graduated to sexual assault, refining his "technique" as he went along, and growing steadily bolder. One of his surviving victims from the pre-Karla days remembers his penchant for using a ligature around her neck while he was sodomizing her. Apparently, he got off on the terror that a combination of choking and anal rape created.

Oh, and he liked for Karla to wear dog collars while he bum-fucked her, too. It was a poorly kept secret among the couple's friends that Bernardo was a kinky bastard.

There is no doubt, in my mind, that Bernardo was the real ringleader, the real killer. He was the Svengali. He was able to pull Karla down into his world of sick fantasy, but he couldn't have done it unless there was something seriously wrong with her. Something ugly in the soul of that pretty, blond 17-year-old girl.

I think that ugliness was the willingness to do anything for an evil man she wanted to keep. Karla was, so far as I can see, the perfect little right-wing "feminine" gal. What was "right" about her, in the eyes of traditionalists, was exactly what was wrong with her. She was submissive. She was eager to please. She was loyal to her man. She would do anything he wanted, just as the Christian Right is always enjoining women to do.

She is, in short, living proof that the Right's ideal woman is the skankiest bitch on the planet.