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Paul Bernardo

Paul Bernardo and his wife and accomplice Karla Homolka were tagged by media reports as Canada's "Ken and Barbie killers." The grisly case, involving the 1990-92 rape and murder of three Ontario teenage girls - one of whom was Karla's 15-year-old sister, Tammy - galvanized the entire country of Canada, in addition to landing coverage on tabloid television shows in the United States.

In 1993, as a result of blood analysis, Bernardo, already under surveillance as a suspect in other rape cases in the Scarborough area, was arrested for rape and murder of two of the girls. Tammy Homolka's death would, in the beginning, be deemed an accident. Compelling evidence through videotapes found in Bernardo's home, testimony from his wife, and exhumation of Tammy's body, ensured his guilt in all three deaths. In 1995, he was sentenced to life with no parole for 25 years; he was later declared a dangerous offender, and his appeal in 2000 was denied.

Karla Holmolka would be tried first, and in exchange for testimony against her husband agreed to a much-criticized plea bargain in which she would serve a sentence of 12 years. Eligible for parole in 2001, her application was denied, and she remains in prison until 2005.

The case would spawn several true-crime books, including Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams, Deadly Innocence by Scott Burnside and Alan Cairns, and Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron. Poet and novelist Lynn Crosbie was also inspired by the events to write a work of fiction, Paul's Case: The Kingston Letters.
 Featured Audio

News and Current Events #18
In this broadcast of the evening edition of Alberta Today from Nov. 9, 1996, a story on how the 25-month delay in testing Paul Bernardo's DNA sample allowed him to elude a police manhunt for years. In that time period, he committed his murders, and raped four young women.

The day's other stories are:

  • Hells Angels moving in to Alberta.

  • Alberta farmers illegally selling grain to the US.

  • Evil Eye, a thriller by Vancouver author Michael Slade.

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