Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka

"Death Threats"

Karla Homolka's lawyers, Marc Labelle (foreground) and Martin Latour, outside of court
Karla Homolka's lawyers, Marc Labelle
(foreground) and Martin Latour, outside
of court

In December 2000, Karla Homolka's lawyer told the media that his client feared being killed by vigilantes when she is freed from prison. With Corrections Canada poised to ask that Homolka be detained for her full 12-year sentence on grounds she'll kill again, lawyer Marc Labelle said Homolka was petrified that she'd be murdered. Labelle said Homolka had not only received further threats from within the prison system, but she had also been targeted for death on chat groups that his legal assistants uncovered on the Internet.

"I haven't seen these sites myself, but I'm told there are numerous sites where threats are made that 'we'll kill you if you get out.'" Labelle said the only place Homolka felt safe was in Joliette prison.

As 2000 drew to a close, Manitoba's justice minister announced that he would urge officials in Winnipeg to withhold the permits necessary for a Toronto filmmaker trying to shoot a movie about murderers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. "This film won't get any help from us," Gord Mackintosh said. "I think it's important that there be an early message back to the filmmakers that we don't back their plans."

Peter Simpson, chairman of Norstar Filmed Entertainment Inc., the producers of the proposed film, said that his company might have to shoot the film outside Ontario because of the province's opposition. "If they really would rather I take the movie, spend the money and go shoot the movie and fake it in Montreal, I might be talked into that," Simpson said. "I'm sure that Quebec and Winnipeg would both welcome it with open arms -- and I'd get more money out of there." Simpson made the comments after Ontario Culture Minister Helen Johns and Premier Mike Harris said they would not co-operate with the making of the film, including keeping Simpson from using government buildings or giving him provincial tax credits. Telefilm Canada has also denied Norstar's request for funding.

The film is based on the book Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams, which contains gory details about the rapes of more than a dozen women, culminating in the torture and murder of two teenagers.

In February 2001, the Toronto Star reported that Karla Homolka's safety had became a growing concern for her lawyer after he was made aware of an Internet death pool that allegedly took bets on when Homolka would be killed.

At the time, Homolka was housed at the Pinel Institute, a psychiatric hospital in Montreal after being transferred there in early February for a treatment program after she spent more than two months under psychiatric evaluation in Saskatoon.

According to her lawyer, Homolka has discovered at least two or three Web sites that contain threats against her, including the betting pool. One site is called "Karla Homolka Death Pool: When the Game is Over, We All Win." While the site states clearly it does not condone violence against Homolka, it solicits bets on the exact day she will die. The rules state players are not allowed to fix the bet by killing her themselves or having someone else do it. Homolka, who is using the alias Karla Teale while in prison, is taking the threats seriously.

The threats came at a time when two out of three psychiatrists had recommended that Homolka is still too dangerous to be released forcing corrections officials to make recommendations to the National Parole Board to keep her in prison until her sentence expires in 2005. Homolka's lawyer said that Homolka still wants to return to Joliette prison and stay there for the rest of her term. Labelle said Homolka feels it's the only place in Canada where she won't be murdered. He said she also intends to waive opposition to her detention hearing.

Prior to Homolka's transfer to Pinel, corrections officials had told Labelle that his client would go to St. Anne-des-Plaines maximum-security prison, one of the most notorious federal institutions in Quebec. Labelle suggested that Homolka will almost certainly launch a federal court challenge if she is sent anywhere but Joliette.


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