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Karla Homolka – Serial Killer Project
The crimes of Paul Bernardo and his wife Karla Homolka were among the most horrifying and controversial in Canadian history. The two did not start their criminal behaviors together as Paul was 6 years older than Karla and was known as the “Scarborough Rapist”. Many years before Karla was involved, Paul raped or attempted to rape 24 young teenage women across a 5-year period. After the soon to be famous murderous couple met, Paul was pursuing his work killing and soon after Karla joined in on the sinister crimes after she believed it was time to join in. The two were in charge of 3 rapes and murders across a 3-year span and one being Karlas own sister “Tammy Homolka”. The reasoning for this being one of the most famous Canadian murder cases is that the two individuals’ lifestyles and mental states were way out of line and is what made them to be known as so violent as hedonistic killers. We chose Karla Homolka as our famous serial killer as she shows the public the first time a violent criminal can be a woman and how dangerous a women criminal in the 1900’s could be and how her involvement in the crimes went almost unnoticeable.
Karla was born May 4th, 1970, in Port Credit, Ontario. Raised by Karel Homolka (father) and Dorothy Homolka (mother) and had two siblings Logan Valentini, Tammy Homolka. As a child Karla enjoyed drawing and expressing her love for animals and loved to be creative in many ways. Unfortunately, Karla was asthmatic and had to be hospitalized frequently causing possible trauma to her mental and physical self in her early childhood years. She also often witnessed her “father drunk often and fighting with her mother” when she was growing up (editors, thefamouspeople. June 26th 2018. p. 1). This could be one of the reasoning or triggers behind the start of her involvement in crime. She started reading ‘Hardy Boys’ and ‘Nancy Drew’ mysteries at the age of 12 and became obsessed with crime and how to get away with it. As she grew older her ways of life became harsher as she often participated in spiritual rituals with her friends. As she grew older her love for animals began to decrease and at one point, she threw a friend’s hamster out of a window resulting in its death. It was known that Karla was more of a bossy and controlling figure to her peers. as she grew older her childhood behaviors depleted drastically and she was only becoming more and more violent. Now, going into her school days, Karal was an outsider, she was a non-conformist for fashion and didn’t care of what others thought of her. She usually hung around the opposite sex, her first boyfriend by the name of Doug. She admitted that the couple experimented with lots drugs and had sexual relations together. She also admitted to fantasizing about death and what it would feel like. Her fantasizing over death lead to her cutting herself with a knife because of this. Months later and becoming more and more mentally unstable Karal got a part-time job at a veterinary clinic while she was in high school (probably not the best place for someone like her to work), and after graduating in 1988, she was hired by Thorold Veterinary Clinic as a full-time veterinary technician. Impressively Karal has an “above average intelligence, testing between 131 and 134 on IQ tests” (Phillip Crawley. 2018. p. 2). The standard for near genius is more than 140 and she was almost achieving that status. Ms. Homolka did obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Queen’s University, in Toronto but was unable to pursue studies in sociology because no correspondence course was offered.
As years passed on the killers Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo eventually met at a convention in Toronto when she was 17 years old. They had sexual intercourse for the first time they met and discovered that they shared sexual desires. They then got married June 29th, 1991 at ages 21, and 27. They were both loners from the outside world and worked together and went on the now well-known killing spree to satisfy their desires as hedonistic killers. Every time Paul and Karla fought, Karal would bring Paul a new girl as a “gift”. Karal did this because as a child she saw her mom doing sexual things when she got into arguments with her father (her mother was involved in a threesome after an argument with her husband). This shows that the nature of her crimes was caused by past experiences leading to possible PTSD like symptoms. She had not been diagnosed with any mental disorders, and she did involve herself with treatment by going to therapy sessions from her drug abuse. Paul and Karla desires were very similar making the crimes more interesting for them, leading to a bigger passion for killing.
These two people were deeply in love and were deeply in love with killing. The first murder took place on December 23rd, 1990 of Karla’s own sister Tammy by drugging her and used her to feed Paul’s sexual pleasure as a rapist. The second, victim was Leslie Mahaffy. This took place on June 15th, 1991 and her body was found encased in concrete blocks nearly 8 months later. The third murder took place on April 16th, 1992 on 15-year-old Kristen French whom was raped and killed by the couple. Each of these murders took place over a 3-year period. When the couple was caught for the crimes committed, they never showed any signs of remorse after the facts and it was shown when they planned for what they would say in the courts to fight against everything and ensured video evidence. Karal also showed that she was not sorry after her diary was found of the thought-out descriptions of the crimes and what she was feeling what they happened. As every murderer would, Paul plead not guilty for the 3 murders and aggravated sexual assaults he was charged with. And surprisingly, Karla plead guilty for her charges of manslaughter of 2 victims as she made a deal to do so because she would receive a lower sentence if she did. Even though Karla was not sentenced to full life imprisonment she was not found capable of a withstand trial/NCR. Bernardo was found guilty of all charges against him: two counts each of first-degree murder, kidnapping, forcible confinement and aggravated sexual assault, and one count of committing an indignity to a human body. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and declared a dangerous offender. In 2015 he applied for parole and not even 30 minutes into reviewing the application he was denied because for how dangerous he is to the public. Karla Homolka served her full 12-year sentence for the 2 pleas of guilty of manslaughter at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines prison but plead that she was influenced by “battered women syndrome” and was released from prison in 2005 under a series of judge-imposed conditions, including restrictions on her movement and a ban on any contact with anyone under the age of 16.
Karla Homolka runs under the lines of classical theory the reason why is because Karla rapped and sexually assaulted children and as a serial killer therefore knowing what the punishment and crimes for doing those criminal crimes, and what classical theory is that when one commits a crime, it is because the individual decided that it was advantageous to commit the crime. The individual commits the crime from his own free will being aware of the punishment. Therefore, that is the reason why she is classical theory. Karla Homolka is the type of criminal that also knows that she’s going to get caught and doesn’t care about it, nor getting caught in the act, almost as if she has no feeling at all of punishment.
From the corrections perspective there is a lot of treatment they can provide for Karla such as counseling, it been said that the CASA has found that 65% of the prisons that provided the counselling for substance about and murders only 16% of the prisoners show up and attend the counseling. We think that the counseling would be very effective because the counselors that the prisons have probably are very well educated to the point to convince them that the crimes, they have committed in the past are wrong and help them develop a healthy mindset.
In conclusion, the case on Karla Homolka was a very historical event for Canadian crime. This event has helped our government to prevent future crimes murders from occurring, by taking into consideration that females can and will be as violent as male offenders. Karla’s life started out healthy until she began to witness bad things happening in her home as a child. These events made her think wrong is right and right is wrong. Having this mindset and later meeting Paul is what made her into the monster she once was. During her prison sentence she realized that her mindset was backwards and needed to be changed. This eventually led to an early release and a fresh start. Overall, serial killers are people that have serious mental issues and are unaware of it, leading them to get more and more unstable. Saying this there have been many people within the world we live in and are unaware of mental illness and is why we believe that these typed killers will never go away.
- Criminology Theories report released. (2014, April 2) retrieved from: https://blog.udemy.com/criminology-theories/
- Homolka’s psychiatric report released. (2018, April 22). Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/homolkas-psychiatric-report-released/article20422606/
- Karla Homolka. (2018, December 09). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karla_Homolka#Prison
- Karla Homolka to Be Released from Prison in July. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/karla-homolka-to-be-released-from-prison-in-july
- Key events in the Bernardo/Homolka case | CBC News. (2010, June 17). Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/key-events-in-the-bernardo-homolka-case-1.933128
- Montaldo, C. (n.d.). The Crimes of Canadian Killer Couple Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/karla-homolka-and-paul-bernardo-crimes-972716
- Who is Karla Homolka? Everything You Need to Know. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/karla-homolka-11294.php
- 9 treatments affected in prisons, report released. (2005, no date) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64123/
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