Washington Post article (READ IT!)
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Fri Dec 10 04:19:27 EST 1993
> UNSPEAKABLE CRIMES This Story Can't Be Told in Canada. And So All Canada
> Is Talking About It..
> The Washington Post, November 23, 1993, FINAL Edition
> By: Anne Swardson, Washington Post Foreign Service
> Section: STYLE, p. b01
> Story Type: News Foreign
> Line Count: 214 Word Count: 2360
> ST. CATHARINES, Ontario - Karla Homolka was resplendent on her wedding
> day, June 29, 1991. Garlands of baby's breath adorned her hair and fluffy
> veil; her long flounced dress made her look like Cinderella. Her proud
> husband wore white tie and tails. The couple left the church near Niagara
> Falls in a horse-drawn carriage.
> About 20 miles away on that same sunny day, police were pulling seven
> blocks of concrete out of the waters of a favorite local fishing spot.
> Encased in them were the body parts of Leslie Mahaffy, a shy, delicate
> 14-year-old with long blond hair who had disappeared from a nearby town two
> weeks before.
> Only two people in Canada knew at the time that those events were
> related, but nearly the entire population knows it now.
> Karla Homolka, 23, was sentenced last summer to 12 years in prison on
> two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Leslie Mahaffy and another
> teenage girl. Her husband, Paul Teale, 29, awaits trial for their murder
> and other charges, including the rapes of 17 other women.
> But the story of the most shocking set of crimes in Canada's history is
> even more ghoulish than those facts would indicate.
> Many Canadians know the whole tale of evil, but they don't know it from
> reading their own newspapers or watching television.By judge's order, it
> is illegal in this country to disclose facts about the deaths of Leslie
> Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kristen French. And it is illegal to reveal that
> Homolka's trial showed that there was another victim: Karla Homolka's
> 14-year-old sister, Tammy, who died on Christmas Eve 1990.
> "This case is unique in the annals of Canadian crime," says noted
> criminal lawyer Edward L. Greenspan, who like many Canadians has heard
> "rumors" about it. "It involves such a marked departure from normal human
> conduct that we can't help being drawn to it."
> The alleged perpetrators were attractive, well-dressed professionals who
> lived in a high-rent neighborhood and had lots of friends. Yet the murders
> and other crimes they allegedly committed were particularly sadistic. The
> schoolgirl victims were abducted as they went about their daily routines,
> then were held prisoner while a variety of sexual tortures were performed
> on them. Some of those tortures were videotaped.
> The Homolka-Teale case "is the kind of homicide people are most afraid
> of," says Anthony Doob, professor of criminology at the University of
> Toronto. "It involves the abduction of children, which is every parent's
> worst fear. And the speculation is that the dimensions of the crime are
> extremely horrible."
> There is another notable element to the case. One of the killers is
> female. Karla Homolka, she of the fairy-tale wedding dress, is expected
> later to testify against the husband from whom she has recently filed for
> divorce. Whether Homolka was herself a victim of her husband or was a
> deviant in her own right is not yet known. But what she did has shocked the
> few who have been allowed in the courtroom at her trial and the many who
> have heard about it through other means.
> "She was a participant in the luring, the confinement, the sexual
> activities and the deaths," says a person familiar with what was said in
> the courtroom.
> The case of Homolka and Teale has fascinated the nation, partly because
> the crimes the couple is accused of are so horrible-and partly because
> obtaining the facts of the case has itself become sport. Residents of this
> region have eagerly and successfully sought the details through computer
> bulletin boards, dinner-party gossip, stolen satellite television signals,
> secret copies of a few articles in foreign publications-and even through
> eavesdropping on private conversations on commuter trains.
> The full story of Karla Homolka and Paul Teale probably will not be
> known until after his trial, but much of it was related in an airy
> courtroom here last July, when prosecutors read a long statement of facts
> agreed to by the defense as part of Homolka's plea bargain. The judge ruled
> that the information in the statement cannot be legally published in Canada
> until after Teale is tried.
> This account is based on interviews with people knowledgeable about what
> was said in the courtroom, and on press reports.
> Karla Homolka was 17 in 1987 when she met the man she would marry, who
> was then named Paul Bernardo. He was a university graduate, an accountant
> from an eastern suburb of Toronto that at the time was experiencing a
> series of violent rapes. She was a senior in high school in this industrial
> border town, a quiet girl who loved animals. The two quickly became
> infatuated; he moved to St. Catharines and she wrote in her high school
> yearbook that her wish was "to marry Paul and see him more than two times a
> Despite his accounting training, Paul made his living in St. Catharines
> by smuggling tobacco and alcohol from New York into Canada, it has been
> reported. After graduating from high school, Karla worked as a
> veterinarian's assistant. Later they moved into a pink clapboard Cape Cod
> on the shores of Lake Ontario in a quiet neighborhood not far from where
> Homolka grew up.
> It is not clear at what point Homolka learned what kind of man her lover
> really was. But even before Christmas of 1990, before they were married,
> she was helping find girls for him for sex, according to accounts of the
> trial. Friends noticed, according to press reports, that young girls
> visited frequently, sometimes staying overnight. Some of them were said to
> be friends of Karla's younger sister, Tammy.
> Tammy herself was to be Paul's Christmas present.
> According to accounts of the trial, Homolka slipped an animal
> tranquilizer into Tammy's rum-and-eggnog on the evening of Dec. 23 in their
> parents' house. While the young girl was unconscious, Teale had sex with
> her. So did Karla. Each of them videotaped the other in the act. Karla's
> parents were at home, in another room, unaware.
> Then Tammy began to vomit. Teale and Homolka carried her into her
> bedroom, laid her in bed, then called an ambulance. They did not tell
> medical personnel about the drug she had ingested. Tammy died the next day,
> Christmas Eve. The coroner ruled that she had choked on her own vomit.
> The next known victim was Leslie Mahaffy, from the town of Burlington.
> Teale allegedly abducted her forcibly in June 1991, two weeks before his
> wedding, and took her home in his car. The garage adjoins the house, and a
> tall fence blocks any view of the back yard from outside. Teale took Leslie
> inside and locked himself in a room with her, according to accounts of the
> trial. Leslie lived two days at most before she died, of strangulation.
> Kristen French was next, 10 months later. By this time, Teale had
> Homolka's cooperation, secured with the threat of revealing her role in
> Tammy's death, Homolka said. Homolka helped him to abduct Kristen, a slim,
> brown-haired figure skater of 15, on her way home from Catholic school one
> afternoon in April 1992. Kristen apparently went over to the car in a
> church parking lot when Homolka, holding a map, asked for directions.
> Kristen's nude body was found in a small dump about two weeks
> later-yards from the cemetery where Leslie Mahaffy is buried. Kristen had
> been strangled and her long hair cut off. Police later said she was alive
> until shortly before her body was found.
> During the time these crimes were being committed, relations between the
> young couple were deteriorating. Teale beat Homolka regularly and threw her
> down the stairs, she said. Finally, in January 1993, he beat her so
> severely with a flashlight that she left home and went to the hospital.
> When she was released, she went to her parents' house, called the
> police-and started talking.
> About this time her husband changed his name from Bernardo to Teale. He
> knew the police were looking for him.
> Paul Teale was arrested in February and charged with 43 counts of
> sex-related offenses allegedly committed in Scarborough, his home town.
> Police also said he would be charged with the Mahaffy and French murders.
> About that time the investigation into the death of Tammy Homolka was
> reopened. In May, Teale was charged with two counts of murder, of Leslie
> Mahaffy and Kristen French, as well as two counts each of kidnapping,
> forcible confinement and aggravated sexual assault, and one count of
> committing an indignity to Leslie's body.
> Police spent six weeks searching the Teale-Homolka house, removing more
> than 900 pieces of evidence, some of them videotapes. It was revealed at
> the trial that Kristen had been shown a tape of Leslie. It is not known
> what all the other tapes showed, but indications are that to convict Paul
> Teale, prosecutors badly needed the testimony of his wife. In Canada, as in
> the United States, one spouse cannot be compelled to testify against the
> By the time Homolka's manslaughter trial began, there was widespread
> speculation she would plead guilty in return for a reduced sentence.
> More than in the United States, Canada chooses to muzzle the media in
> some court cases, for fear that open coverage could jeopardize a fair
> trial. News media are prohibited from reporting on any evidence presented
> at a bail hearing or preliminary inquiry, for instance, until the full
> trial has begun. And judges have the prerogative, though it is rarely used,
> to restrict media coverage of a trial.
> In the Teale-Homolka case, prosecutors wanted to be sure that evidence
> presented at Homolka's trial did not taint the trial of her estranged
> husband, which will not take place for at least 18 months. After legal
> arguments back and forth-the media opposed a publication ban-Ontario Court
> Justice Francis Kovacs made his ruling.
> Canadian reporters could be in the courtroom but could publish only a
> few prescribed facts, such as Karla Homolka's verdict and sentence (but not
> her plea). Foreign media were barred from the courtroom entirely because,
> the judge said, the ban could not be enforced against them. The general
> public was kept out as well-Kovacs said he feared people would tell U.S.
> media what had happened. Buffalo media had been following the case closely;
> the Buffalo News and three network television affiliates were among those
> left outside the courtroom.
> At Homolka's brief trial, prosecutor Murray Segal read the statement of
> facts, a 25-minute litany of assault, rape and torture that left seasoned
> law enforcement officers and journalists in tears. Virtually stumbling out
> of the courtroom, reporters called what they heard "gruesome" and
> "devastating." The staid Toronto Globe and Mail said the next day that it
> was "a catalogue of depravity and death." Teale's lawyer, clearly shaken,
> took his glasses off and put his hand to his head whie the statement was
> being read.
> Two others addressed the court: the mothers of Leslie Mahaffy and
> Kristen French, who read statements about what their daughters' deaths had
> meant to their families. Both women broke down several times on the stand,
> and even Karla Homolka, who had remained impassive throughout the trial,
> was observed to be choking back tears and wiping her eyes.
> After imposing the 12-year sentence on Homolka, Kovacs said, "No
> sentence I can impose would adequately reflect the revulsion of the
> community in the death of the young girls, who lived lives beyond reproach.
> I understand the outrage the community feels, and rightly so."
> Since that time, learning the secrets rvealed at the trial has become a
> cottage industry, particularly in Toronto, about 60 miles from here.
> Compter bulletin boards have sprung up that share facts and rumors. And
> though the publication ban allowed journalists to discuss what they learned
> only with their editors, newsrooms are rife with gossip.
> The law enforcement side has been a source of stories as well. One
> observer was on a commuter train some time after the trial when a woman
> began talking to a friend. The woman said she knew a law enforcement
> official who had withdrawn from the case because he found the details so
> painful. The woman then revealed those details, as the train fell silent
> and commuters craned their necks.
> "We've created a monster with this order," said one lawyer.
> A few foreign news organizations, such as the Fox Television program "A
> Current Affair," have carried stories that included information from the
> trial, but only one Canadian publication, a satirical magazine, has printed
> prohibited facts. Canada's constitution includes a more restricted
> definition of press freedom than does the U.S. Constitution, and editors of
> major Canadian newspapers and television networks say they do not believe
> in breaking the law. Their legal appeal of the ban is pending.
> A British newspaper printed a story that included banned material, and
> 1,000 copies destined to be sold in Toronto were voluntarily shredded by
> the distributor, after discussions with officials of the Ontario provincial
> government. Similarly, cable systems did not carry the episode of "A
> Current Affair" that dealt with the Homolka case.
> Some people believe the ban actually has been counterproductive. Nothing
> was said in the courtroom about the widespread rumors that Teale made
> "snuff films" and sold them in nearby Buffalo, for instance, but reports
> persist, in part because there is no published truth to correct them. And
> then there is the question of whether Homolka's sentence-she will be
> eligible for parole in four years-was appropriate to the crime. That
> question cannot be debated by the public because so much information has
> been withheld.
> "This is a secret trial of a major crime of monumental proportions,"
> said Gordon Domm, a retired police officer who on his own has distributed
> 50 videotapes of the "Current Affair" program to protest the ban. Domm was
> arrested Friday for attempting to mail out 200 copies of the British
> newspaper article. He was released, the articles were confiscated and
> police have not said whether he will be charged.
> Tammy Homolka's body was exhumed a few weeks after the trial and
> examined by government pathologists. So far no charges have been filed in
> her death, but the local coroner says the investigation is ongoing.
> Tammy has been reburied now. Her grave in a cemetery on the east side of
> St. Catharines is planted with fresh chrysanthemums. Her headstone is
> engraved with a cross and a soccer ball. There is a little plasticized
> picture on it; she is smiling. The grave faces west, toward the house a few
> minutes' walk away where she once lived with her parents and her big
> sister, Karla.
> CAPTIONS: Paul Teale, 29, has yet to be tried in the murder of two teenage
> girls. His wife, Karla Homolka, 23, was given 12 years in prison for
> manslaughter in a trial kept secret in Canada.
> Two of the victims: Leslie Mahaffy, 14, left, and Kristen French, 15.
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