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The Globe and Mail
Canada's largest national newspaper

Her very last day in jail will be July 5, 2005. She'll be 35 years old then. And  she badly, badly wants to be a mother.

The new and self-improved Karla Homolka

The Globe and Mail, MARGARET WENTES, November 6, 1999

It would be nice to know that Karla Homolka will roast slowly for eternity in the fires of Hell. Alas, even the Pope has now declared that Hell is only a state of mind. In the absence of Hell, Ms. Homolka is serving a much Read More ..ntemporary penance: a few years of soft time at Joliette, Quebec, where the rooms look like the students' dorm on any modern campus.

The curriculum is about the same, too. In order to graduate, the clients at Joliette are expected to take a full courseload of Women's Studies. The courses include Improving Your Inner Self, Self-Esteem, and Survivors of Abuse and Trauma. These courses are designed to put you completely in touch with your inner feelings and turn you into a stronger, more assertive person. You will shed your self-doubt and shame, and learn to speak up. You may feel really bad about yourself now. But, pretty soon, you'll feel really good.

Karla has taken them all.

In her lawsuit seeking to overrule her warden and gain a day pass off campus, Karla describes in five handwritten pages her story of personal growth and self-awareness. She dots her i's with big loopy circles, the way 13-year-old girls do. I am forbidden to quote from this remarkable document, on account of a publication ban issued to protect Ms. Homolka's privacy. So you will have to take my word that a sunnier self-evaluation you will never find. No shadows cloud her mind. She is untroubled by guilt. If Karla's endorsement is anything to go by, we should all sign up for therapy with the penal system.

The story of Karla Homolka shows how very diligent our criminal justice system is at trying to fix people's psychological problems -- and how utterly baffled it is by the problem of evil.

There is simply no place for evil in the enlightened, progressive, optimistic world we live in. The very idea of evil is an affront to modern values, just like the idea of vengeance. Unlike more primitive people, we do not take our monsters and draw and quarter them in the public square, or throw them into a dungeon to rot. We give them counselling. We aim for their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. We do not punish. We correct.

Back in 1995, the psychiatrists were baffled by Ms. Homolka. All agreed that Paul Bernardo was an incurable psychopath. But Karla, reported one, "remains something of a diagnostic mystery. Despite her ability to present herself very well, there is a moral vacuity in her which is difficult, if not impossible, to explain."

Nothing has changed. Concepts of remorse, repentance, shame, responsibility and atonement have no place in the universe of Karla. Perhaps she simply lacks the moral gene. If she had one, she would surely go mad. Or perhaps she merely has superior powers of self-delusion, and uses the handy language of psychobabble as her cloak against genuine self-knowledge.

For many years, Karla has identified herself as a battered woman, someone who had been rendered so helpless and passive by long-term abuse that she could not escape. Like other battered women, her only way out was to kill.

Of course, it wasn't her husband that Karla killed. She and Paul killed two teenage girls, after kidnapping, raping, torturing and videotaping them. They drugged and sexually assaulted Karla's own 15-year-old sister, who died after choking on her own vomit. Karla Homolka escaped with a plea-bargain of manslaughter in exchange for testifying against Paul.

Despite this awkwardness, the story of the helpless and abused girl touched two of the jurors deeply. After the trial, they wrote warm letters to her family expressing their faith in her ultimate recovery. Juror No. 10 was Erma Stultz, an international development consultant. One day, she wrote, she felt that Karla would do good by helping other women who had been trapped in abusive relationships. Karla is using those letters to persuade the court to let her out.

Karla is extremely aggrieved that the warden has turned her down. In an affidavit filed with the court, she complains, "It is impossible for me to know how she could put aside all the positive elements included in my file. . . . My application for escorted temporary absence is of crucial importance for me as it affects my liberty, including my right of parole and statutory release after eight years of imprisonment."

Tim Danson is the lawyer who represents the families of the girls Karla helped to torture and kill. He thinks her chance of getting the warden overruled is poor. Unfortunately, the chance that she will serve out every single day of her 12-year sentence is also not too good. Unless someone can prove she's still a threat to public safety, she'll be out in less than two years.

Till then, the industrious Ms. Homolka is determined to keep busy improving herself. In addition to all those courses, she has finished a BA in psychology. Next on her agenda is a degree in criminology. She would like to take a parenting course.

Karla will never go to Hell, even the Hell of her own mind. Instead, she will go to a halfway house, then on to realize her full potential in the outside world. No matter how hard we try, her very last day in jail will be July 5, 2005. She'll be 35 years old then. And she badly, badly wants to be a mother.


Court set to weigh terms of Homolka's freedom

CTV news network, CTV.ca News Staff, June 1, 2005

Little more than a month before her scheduled release, Karla Homolka's future will be argued in a Quebec court Thursday.

Homolka is set to walk away from a Joliette, Que. prison within weeks, but a team of Ontario lawyers is seeking to ensure that she won't be free to reoffend when she does.

Under the direction of Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant, they intend to present evidence that could lead Judge Jean Beaulieu to impose further restrictions on the notorious criminal.  Read More ..


Canadian Officials Fear Convicted Murderer

By Associated Press, Various newspapers around the World and in particular the U.S.A.,  June 2, 2005

JOLIETTE, Quebec -- Canadian authorities fear a convicted murderer may commit new crimes when she is released from prison, and authorities were seeking a court order requiring her to submit a DNA sample for a criminal database, officials said.

Karla Homolka pleaded guilty in 1993 to the sex slayings of two southern Ontario teenagers, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. She has served her 12-year manslaughter sentence and is set for release from a Quebec prison July 5, though she could be freed as early as June 23.  Read More ..


Media circus descends on sleepy town

Joliette, Que.

Katherine Wilton, CanWest News Service, Thursday, June 2, 2005

JOLIETTE, Que. - As a courthouse clerk, Annie Gallant normally spends her days sifting through divorce papers.

But those duties were shelved yesterday as Ms. Gallant was instructed to give courthouse tours to dozens of journalists who have descended on this sleepy town in anticipation of Karla Homolka's first courtroom appearance in 10 years.

"This is a lot of fun," said Ms. Gallant, who admits to being caught up in the Karla-mania that is sweeping through Joliette. "We are all talking about her at work. Everyone knows what she did."  Read More ..


Homolka weeps as public gets glimpse of one of Canada's most hated convicts

Luann Lasalle and Nelson Wyatt, Canadian Press, Thursday, June 02, 2005

JOLIETTE, Que. (CP) - It was a rare glimpse of Canada's most notorious female convict - Karla Homolka, weeping and wearing leg irons as the details of her horrific crimes were read out to a packed courtroom.

Like every other chapter in the saga of Homolka and her ex-husband, Paul Bernardo, Thursday's hearing to determine whether her movements should be restricted once she's out of jail was a media spectacle that featured at least one courtroom reporter gazing at her through binoculars.

Homolka began blinking and breathing heavily when Brian Noble of Niagara Regional Police described the deaths of schoolgirls Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, the two teens whose abductions and sex slayings stunned and sickened southern Ontario in the early 1990s.  Read More ..


Jailed Homolka falls for controlling killer

ALAN CAIRNS AND STEPHANIE RUBEC, Special to The Free Press June 6, 2005

JOLIETTE, QUE. -- Karla Homolka's prison lover and avowed future husband is an abusive and controlling killer.

He is Jean-Paul Gerbet, 38, a French national serving a life sentence for murdering his girlfriend, Cathy Carretta, when she tried to leave him seven years ago.

Gerbet was named on Quebec TV yesterday by Cathy Carretta's father, Christian, who said he fears Homolka has found herself a replacement for ex-husband Paul Bernardo.

"He (Gerbet) is an individual who can be evil and I don't know what will come of him being chaperoned by Karla," he said.

"They are a diabolical couple and a horrifying couple," Carretta told the TVA network. "It resembles Bernardo."  Read More ..


Ex-pal: Karla psychopath

Wants her jailed for life

Toronto Sun, By ALAN CAIRNS AND BRODIE FENLON, Sun Media, Wed, June 1, 2005

TORONTO -- The woman who initially supported Karla Homolka as a "battered woman" now believes Homolka is dangerous and should be kept in prison for life.

"I think she should still be in there serving the same time as Paul," said Wendy Lutczyn, who worked with Homolka at the Martindale Animal Clinic in St. Catharines.  Read More ..


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Homolka finds sympathy

Quebec press council denounces anglophone coverage as excessive

The Chronicle Herald, Halifax NS, The Canadian Press, various Canadian newspapers, By LES PERREAUX, July 6, 2005 Read More ..


Homolka sues Ottawa for violating her rights

Not allowing move to halfway house 'perverse,' suit says

OTTAWA - Karla Homolka, convicted in the killing of two teenage girls, claims in a lawsuit that the federal government has violated her constitutional rights by refusing to transfer her to a Montreal halfway house.

Homolka argues in a lawsuit filed in the Federal Court of Canada that it is time to begin her reintegration into society. In particular, she would like to become acquainted with Montreal, a city she plans to call home when she is eventually released.

"I do not think it is in my best interests, or anybody else's, for me to be released ... after eight years incarceration without any type of gradual release to a place where I have never been and do not know anyone," Homolka wrote in her application to be moved.

Homolka was sentenced to a 12-year term in 1993 for the killings of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.  Read More ..