Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka

Two Black Eyes

Paul getting out of paddywagon
Paul getting out of paddywagon

When Paul started using Karla as a punching bag in the summer of 1992, he really compromised his future. Regardless of the insane things that Karla put up with from Paul, physically abusing her pushed her to the limit. But even with two black eyes and serious bruises, she didn't leave him. In early January 1993, her parents intervened and persuaded Karla to take refuge in the home of one of her sister Lori's friends, whose husband was a Toronto cop. The Niagara police were brought into the situation and took Karla to the hospital. All of this was before the Toronto police had the forensic evidence to convict Paul as the Scarborough Rapist.

In early February, when the police investigation of Paul intensified, both the Toronto police and the Ontario Green Ribbon Task Force wanted to interview Karla. They also wanted to fingerprint her and question her about a Mickey Mouse watch that was very similar to Kristen French's watch.

Karla with black eyes
Karla with black eyes

Initially, several Toronto detectives interviewed Karla for almost five hours. By the kinds of questions they asked, Karla understood that the police had tied together the Scarborough rapes with the murders in St. Catharines. Karla was understandably nervous and told her uncle that Paul was the serial rapist and that he killed Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.

Karla got herself a real good lawyer. As a veterinary assistant, Karla had taken special care with the cancer-stricken Dalmation of lawyer George Walker. Over a period of many interviews with Karla, George Walker realized that she was not necessarily the innocent victim of Paul Bernardo that she painted herself to be. Yet, he did not really understand at that point just exactly what her role had been in these crimes. Some kind of immunity would have been desirable for his client, but he really wasn't sure what could be negotiated on her behalf in exchange for complete cooperation.

In mid-February, Bernardo was arrested in conjunction with both the Scarborough rapes and the murders of Mahaffy and French. Karla was shocked and afraid. She assuaged her anxieties with large amounts of painkillers and alcohol.

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