Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka

Staying Put

Karla Homolka in court
Karla Homolka in

On March 8, 2001, Karla Homolka was officially denied early statutory release. The National Parole Board released its ruling after a review of the case, ordering that Homolka remain detained past her July release eligibility date. ''The board is satisfied that, if released, you are likely to commit an offence causing the death of or serious harm to another person before the expiration of the sentence you are now serving,'' said the order. The families of her schoolgirl victims are delighted with the result, according to Tim Danson, their lawyer.

According to the board report, the gravity of her crimes is part of the reason she was detained. ''The judge described those acts as monstrous and depraved,'' said the report. ''All these crimes are extremely grave... the fact that you continued your crimes after the death of your sister, which occurred during your sexual abuse of her, demonstrates clearly your difficulty in controlling your violent sexual impulses to the point of putting in danger the safety of others. Your modus operandi demonstrates a high degree of indifference to the consequences of your acts.''

The report added that Corrections didn't know of any surveillance program Homolka could participate in outside prison that would sufficiently protect the public. It also noted that Homolka had expressed worry about her own safety in the community.

Canadian law requires that when the Correctional Service of Canada feels a case requires detention beyond the two-thirds point, it be referred to the board at least six months before the statutory release date. The law also requires that the board review the case every year after the statutory release date until the expiry of her sentence, which is in July, 2005.

At the time of the board's announcement, Homolka said that she wouldn't contest the ruling and indicated that she may leave Canada after she has served her full sentence — assuming that any other country would accept her.

In January, 2003 the Toronto Star reported that the National Parole Board had ruled that Karla Homolka must stay in prison until her sentence is completed in July of 2005. The board's decision represented the third time that Homolka's request to be transferred to a half-way house was refused.

Two reasons for the refusal were given. One reason was her sexual relationship with another convict at the Ste.-Anne-des-Plaines detention center. The other reason stated by the board was her refusal to participate in rehabilitation programs. The Toronto Star reported on January 19, 2003, that "Commissioners noted she had not yet started therapy for her role as a sexual aggressor and showed little interest in other rehabilitation programs." Adding to the scandal, the Toronto Sun published photos it bought from Homolka's former lesbian lover when the two women were housed in a prison in Quebec.


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