In late 2021, a documentary aired recounting the grisly crimes and controversial trial of Canadians Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo — a couple dubbed the "Ken and Barbie killers."
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Although their crimes took place in the early 1990s, the duo captured public attention once again when the series Ken and Barbie Killers: The Lost Murder Tapes streamed globally on CTV, Discovery+, AppleTV and more in December 2021.
Over four parts, the documentary explores the horrific crimes, the video evidence and Homolka's controversial trial and plea deal, which was dubbed "the deal with the devil."
Among the victims were Homolka's 15-year-old sister Tammy, and 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy.
Karla Homolka and Paul Bernado
According to CBC News, Karla Homolka met Paul Bernardo at a hotel restaurant in 1987. She was 17 years old at the time and working as a volunteer at an animal hospital. Bernardo was 23.
By 1989, the couple were engaged. They got married in 1991, but not before they raped several women, and caused the death of 15-year-old Tammy Homolka and 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy.
In 1992, Bernardo, with help from Homolka, kidnapped, raped and tortured Kristen French. Her body was found several weeks later.
In 1993, Homolka turned herself into police after she was beaten by Bernardo. She filed charges against him and told police she'd been an unwilling accomplice to his crimes.
Homolka made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She served 12 years in prison, which caused public outrage, as the punishment was seen as "lenient".
Videos that were captured during the attacks on the young women were not presented in Homolka's case, as they were not known to the court when she agreed to a deal.
While some argued the videos later proved her active involvement in the crimes, she had already fulfilled her end of the deal by testifying against Bernardo. The courts did not reopen her case.
Where is Karla Homolka now?
Despite protests from the victims' families and the wider Canadian public, Homolka was released from prison in 2005 after serving 12 years.
Aged 35 upon her release, Homolka was unsuccessful in maintaining her privacy post-release. A judge in Quebec ruled that the media would not be restricted from covering her life post-prison, as she was deemed to remain a risk to the public.
The Guardian reports that, upon her release, she said she looked forward to drinking an iced capp.
"I don't want people to think I am dangerous and I'm going to do something to their children," she reportedly said at the time. "I think of what I have done and I don't think I deserve to be happy because of it."
A Global News article from 2017 said that Homolka changed her name to Leanne Teale and said that she lived in Châteauguay, Quebec.
Her name hit the headlines again around this time, when it came out that she had been volunteering at her children’s school.
Who are Karla Homolka's children?
A 2012 report from The Globe and Mail revealed that Homolka had three children since her release from prison in 2005 — a girl and two boys.
She reportedly lived in Guadeloupe at the time, after marrying her lawyer's brother, Thierry Bordelais.
What is the Karla Homolka movie called?
Before the documentary Ken and Barbie Killers: The Lost Murder Tapes, a movie was made about Karla Homolka.
In 2006, the American movie Karla hit screens, based on the crimes of Homolka and Bernardo.
American actor Laura Prepon played Homolka in the film, while Misha Collins played Bernardo.
Where is Paul Bernando now?
In 1995, Bernardo was convicted of the murder of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. He was also convicted of manslaughter in the death of Tammy Homolka, as well as charges related to aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, and more.
He is currently serving a life sentence in Canada. Global News reports that the majority of his 27 years in prison have been in solitary.
In 2021, he failed in a second parole bid. Now 59 years old, he became eligible for parole several years ago but was denied release in 2018.
He has been declared a dangerous offender, per CBC, meaning he will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.
This article has been updated since it was originally published in 2022.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, call the Assaulted Women's Helpline at 1-866-863-0511. You can also contact support services for male survivors of sexual assault at 1-866-887-0015. If you need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Support is available.