Washington Post article (READ IT!)

an55614 at anon.penet.fi an55614 at anon.penet.fi
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
> week."
>    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
> other.
>    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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