More Homolka Stuff

Friday, April 28, 2000

The utter folly of Homolka as victim

Christie Blatchford
National Post

 ST. CATHARINES - Lest anyone forget, Karla Homolka was never actually criminally charged in the drugging sex assault
death of her own kid sister, Tammy, or in two separate attacks upon a young girl whose identity is protected by a publication ban
and who is known only as "Jane Doe."

They were Homolka's freebies, as it were.

Tammy's death was tossed into the mix by senior Ontario law officers who then believed they needed Homolka's testimony to
send her former husband, Paul Bernardo, to jail for the rest of his life, and who were so eager to get it they added Tammy as a
sort of prosecutorial postscript to the dishy plea bargain they had worked out with Homolka's lawyer. The facts of the
15-year-old's death were merely read into the record at Homolka's formal plea; this added only two years to her sentence.

The Jane Doe assaults -- there were two because the first time, the thoughtless Jane began to choke from the liquid veterinary
anaesthetic Homolka was using on her, and the couple wasn't able to get 'round to attacking her -- came to light after Homolka
was in prison, by which point the authorities were wedded to their vision of her as a wife who had been battered into participating
in the horrific crimes by her man.

Well, yesterday, in the same St. Catharines courthouse where, one bright July day seven years ago the little blonde was arraigned
on two counts of manslaughter in the murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, the folly of seeing Homolka as victim was
starkly before the court.

This occurred at the trial of Bernardo's first criminal lawyer, Ken Murray, who is charged here with trying to obstruct justice for
his failure to hand over to prosecutors six videotapes the couple made of their vicious, protracted attacks on young girls.

The videos are under court seal, as are excruciatingly detailed police-authored transcripts of what the tapes show, and what,
usually in fevered whispers, Bernardo and Homolka said to one another as they took turns degrading their victims and running the
video camera.

For much of the five-week trial, the court has tiptoed gingerly around these tapes, with lawyers from both sides going to great
lengths to avoid even mentioning their sordid contents.

But yesterday, Mr. Murray's lawyer, Austin Cooper, received permission from Mr. Justice Patrick Gravely to open the sealed
transcripts and read excerpts aloud.

Mr. Cooper was trying to show that Mr. Murray had compelling reason to deem the tapes useful in the defence of Bernardo --
and thus justification for holding on to them for almost 17 months -- because they reveal the Crown's star witness to be a giddy,
lip-licking player in the crimes, a liar arguably as fully capable of murder as her husband.

He succeeded.

But it came with a cost, as exposure to this couple always does.

Mr. Cooper had been reading for only about 25 minutes when, abruptly, he softly pounded a fist twice on the podium before him,
shook his massive head, and said, "May I have a moment, Your Honor?" Later, when court resumed, Judge Gravely, in evident
distress himself, broke from routine and called an early lunch.

In the body of the court, a small crowd, including Mr. Murray's wife, Sharon, sat stunned, some weeping, hunched in their seats.

What they heard was the vivid description of what happened on Christmas Eve of 1990 in the rec room of the Homolka family
home in St. Catharines, after everyone but Bernardo, Homolka and Tammy had gone to bed, and after the couple had doped
Tammy's drinks with sleeping pills to make her drowsy.

The tapes show Homolka at her sister's head, holding a cloth onto her face, a glass bottle of dark-coloured liquid beside her.

In that bottle, on that cloth, was a drug called Halothane, which Homolka had stolen from the animal clinic where she then worked,
this weeks before, when Bernardo had announced he wanted to have sex with Tammy. Earlier that day, he had decided he would
have Tammy as a "Christmas present," and Homolka obliged.

When Tammy was rendered unconscious, Bernardo said, "Here we go! Keep 'er down!"

Later, as he was raping the pretty teenager, she stopped breathing. Tammy died later in hospital, a death deemed accidental at the
time despite a large, never-explained burn on her face.

The handover of her sister to Bernardo -- this at a time when he was still living in Toronto and was merely her boyfriend, when
Homolka was living still in the bosom of her family, working at the clinic, and hardly under his control -- was and remains the
pivotal and defining act of the 29-year-old's life.

The only explanation she was ever able to offer was that she thought the assault would be "a one-time thing" and felt pressured.

The only caveat she ever attempted to impose upon Bernardo -- vainly, it turned out -- was that he wear a condom while he was
raping and sodomizing Tammy.

A mere two weeks after Tammy's death, the soil on her grave still fresh, Bernardo and Homolka used the dead girl's underwear
and stuffed animals as props in grotesque sex play in her bedroom.

Because of the flickering flames of a fire in the background, and the lengthy dialogue between the couple, this tape became known
as the "Fireside Chat" tape at Bernardo's trial in the summer of 1995, where it was played in public.

Yesterday, Mr. Cooper read into the record virtually every word of the police transcript -- for every 15 seconds of tape, there is a
descriptive paragraph or two -- of that video.

Homolka is captured saying repeatedly, "I loved it when you f--- Tammy" or, the couple's code for rape, "when you took her
virginity." Homolka uses the couple's pet name for Bernardo's penis, "Snuffles."

At one point, he asks how she felt when he raped Tammy, and Homolka replies, "I felt proud. I felt happy." Another time, she
says, "I never want to forget the day you took her virginity, popped her hymen."

During this segment, in a preview of precisely what they later did in abducting Ms. Mahaffy and Ms. French, the couple discusses
their plans for the future -- bringing virgins as young as 13 home for Bernardo's pleasure. "We can do it 50 more times," Homolka
says. "We can do it every weekend, whenever we can."

"Will you help me get virgins?" he asks.

"I can go in the car with you," she replies, "if you think that's best, or stay here and clean up."

Bernardo alone abducted Ms. Mahaffy from her Burlington backyard, and after her murder, Homolka did clean their bungalow of
evidence; Ms. French was forced into the couple's car from a church parking lot, with Homolka holding onto her hair from the
back seat to keep her still.

At some stage in the play-acting, the scene shifts to Tammy's bedroom, Homolka appears wearing her dead sister's clothes -- a
little black-and-white skirt and long-sleeved dark top -- and pretends to be Tammy.

She has with her a brown paper bag with three pairs of Tammy's underpants.

At times, both of them rub these panties on their faces, Bernardo while staring at Tammy's graduation picture. The pair also
incorporates into the play one of Tammy's toys, a green stuffed snake, and a red rose, which Homolka drags lovingly across his
buttocks, saying, "We're going to Tammy tomorrow; we're going to put it on her grave."

Homolka is shown, Mr. Cooper read out yesterday, mugging for the camera. She also thanks Bernardo, whom she frequently
addresses by his favourite nickname -- "The King" -- for making her sexually assault Tammy.

Bernardo notes happily at one point that "Your nipples are hard."

Mr. Cooper also read parts of the transcripts from the couple's completed assault upon Jane Doe.

This videotape was never played in open court at Bernardo's trial, so yesterday was the first time that such details of what
happened to the girl have been made public.

Jane, whom Homolka had met through her work at the pet clinic, was drugged -- despite the earlier close call that saw her briefly
stop breathing -- and rendered unconscious. Homolka is again shown holding a Halothane-saturated cloth over her mouth and

As Bernardo sticks fingers into the drugged teen, then rapes her, Homolka frequently "waves to the camera" or "blows a kiss to
the camera," Mr. Cooper read. At one point, "she looks at the camera, smiles, opens her mouth wide, and wiggles her tongue wide
in a licking motion, then blows a kiss to the camera."

She is also shown, the lawyer read, "straddling Jane's face."

Jane Doe didn't know for years that she had been violated, Bernardo's original trial heard.

I can't remember, now, if it was after the aborted assault, or the successful one, that Jane woke up at the Bernardo-Homolka
home the next morning. What I am certain of is that this child was ashamed. She thought she had simply had too much to drink,
and passed out. She apologized, profusely, to her host and hostess.

The host is in jail for life.

The hostess is slated to get out of jail in July next year, at the standard two-thirds mark of her 12-year sentence. She will have
served not one minute for what she did to Jane. She will never have, on her criminal record, the ignominy of what she did to her