Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka
Richer Lapointe, 39, is best described as an unusual guy, and the Canadian press has displayed his eccentricities in high relief.
Lapointe was badly burned as a youngster and retains the disfiguring scars to this day. The accident and its result had a very negative impact on his self-esteem. He claims that he got a second chance and he enjoys helping other people turn their lives around. Lapointe says that he has helped several people put their lives back together after they got out of prison. This is what he says motivated him to repeatedly contact Karla Homolka's lawyer (some press accounts say five times; some say over twenty times) with an offer for her to work in his store after her release from prison.
Richer Lapointe owns or once owned stock in the home-improvement giant Rona, Inc. Media accounts say that various family members still own significant amounts of Rona stock, possibly even a controlling interest. However, the store that Richer Lapointe managed in Longueuil was small and cramped — not one of Rona's premiere retail outlets.
Despite several scrapes with the law, police permitted Lapointe to hire Karla Homolka as a clerk trainee. She started the job in early August. Shortly after she began work, Lapointe was charged with assaulting his former wife and trespassing on her property. After these charges were made against Lapointe, Karla was told by police that he was not a suitable employer. She quit the next day. Lapointe is under a court order not to leave Quebec.
As if this were not enough to catapult Lapointe into the media spotlight, he then claimed that he had taped Karla Homolka discussing how she had breached her conditions of release from prison.
The media firestorm that ensued caused Rona, Inc. to decide to close the store that Lapointe managed. The publicity was just too much of a liability. Rona wanted to distance itself from the entire situation.