A Review of the Facts of Notorious Case of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka in Canada

Categories: Serial Killer

The case of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka is one of the most notorious law cases in Canadian history. From the late eighties to early nineties, this case was the focus of most Canadian media. It has become common knowledge that Bernardo and his estranged wife Karla Homolka. brutally murdered three young girls. assaulted one other and that Bernardo was the infamous Scarborough Rapist. Bernardo and Homolka were able to carry on committing these acts, untouched by authorities, for almost ten years.

A big question that was raised during the case was: “Why did the police department take so long to find the culprits ?" It's a good question, with so much evidence and so many people looking for them, how is it that Bernardo and Homolka were able to remain hidden for so long?

The investigation process is a key part to all criminal cases, and police do their best to ‘get their man‘ before more crimes are committed. In the case of Paul Bernardo, the Toronto Metro Police took almost ten years to bring to justice the man that terrorized communities in South-western Ontario.

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During these eight and a half years, pans of the investigation were put on hold, because they weren‘t considered important. Other parts were overlooked. But, despite all the evidence collected, the police were unable to put the pieces of the puzzle together. This paper will explore the contention that the Toronto Metro Police and Niagara Regional Police are indirectly responsible for the deaths of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.

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Through ignorance and neglect, the police and related services let Bernardo and Homolka slip through their fingers a number of times. Before Bernardo met Homolka, he lived alone in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto, He seemed to have everything working in his favour; he was a good looking man, extremely intelligent, had a good job as an accountant, attd everyone liked him. One thing that was a little odd about Bernardo. was the fact that he would sneak around peaking through widows to watch women undress. This fetish of his would grow stronger and stronger, until he ended up committing a series of brutal rapes, and earn himself the title of “The Scarborough Rapist." During this time. Bernardo fell itt love with a young women named Karla Homolka. Homolka was unaware at the time that her new boyfriend was being hunted by Toronto police.

Being as smart as he was, Bernardo made sure that none of his victims could see his face. Holding a knife to their throat and placing a rope around their neck, he made sure that his victims knew he was in control (Davey, 1996). One night when Bernardo raped a young women, she caught a glimpse of his face. The victim was able to provide details as to what her attacker looked like. This was enough information for police to put together a composite sketch of what the rapist might look like. Thousands of people were called in, and each call was followed up by police within a few days of the sketch being issued. Everyone interviewed by police were asked a series of questions. and were asked to give a hair sample for DNA testing. When Bernardo was brought in for questioning, the police asked him a few questions to test the legitimacy of his alibi and found that Bernardo acted “as cool as a cucumber".

When asked to provide a hair sample, Bernardo replied “Sure. of course, Look, whatever i can do to help, It’s not me. I want to clear this up". Bernardo also had no criminal record which lead the police to believe that this was not the man they were looking for. If it were not for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing, Bernardo and Homolka might not have been caught until a much later date. DNA testing has been around for about twenty years, but has only been admissible in a court of law for about ten. Bernardo’s hair sample was taken. along with 223 other suspects in the Scarborough Rapist Case, in the summer of 1990. These samples were to be sent off to the Centre of Forensic Sciences. in Toronto. to find out if any of the suspects matched to the semen samples collected from the rape victims. Nine months after the samples had been submitted. it was found that the testing had not even begun.

Since DNA testing was fairly new very few doctors were trained in this field. therefore the lab was swamped With few doctors to analyse samples in the lab. importance was placed on more important cases. such as murders. During these months. Leslie Mahaffy was kidnapped. raped. murdered. cut up into ten pieces. encased in cement. and thrown into a river. Seven months later. the first phase of the tests were complete. Finally in fall of 1991. the Crime Lab was able to narrow down the suspects to thirty-nine. including Bernardo. The Lab took another fourteen months to complete two more tests. narrowing the original two hundred and twenty—four suspects. down to Bernardo. Now in January of 1993, the police had zeroed in on the Scarborough Rapist. Unfortunately the tests weren‘t completed soon enough. another high school girl had been kidnapped, brutally assaulted and murdered.

It took the lab over thirty months to finish these tests. almost three years. this allowing a dangerous felon to kill two innocent school girls. Throughout much of this case. the best lead the police had was a car that didn't even exist. A donut shop in St. Catherines had reported to police a gold sports car that had been driving around the area, videotaping women. Posters were all over the area. warning women to travel in groups and to keep an eye out for any strange activity. Two women entering the donut shop spotted a man in a gold sports car, roaming the area with a video camera, The vehicles licence plate had been covered in mud, therefore making it impossible to get the correct number. But the women did get a make on the car. identifying it as an early eighties Chevrolet Camero. One of the women made a comment to an officer questioning whether or not she was sure about the make of the car she replied: “It's a GM town, we know our GM products.

Following this report. a North American search was issued for a gold Chevrolet Camera. The province of Ontario was turned inside out. trying to link the man in the gold car to the Scarborough Rapist. In Arkansas. a man and his family were pulled over at gun point because they drove a Camero. A Mountie in the Toronto area reported a Camera sighting that put the entire city on hold. and within the next twenty-four hours. over fifteen thousand calls pored into police stations about this mystery Camero. Unfortunately the police were on a wild goose chase. Bernardo drove a Nissan Maxima. a car similar to the Camero, A friend of Bernardo later told police that he would have come forward with more evidence that could have linked Bernardo to the rapes. but since the police were dead set on the car being a Camero, he thought there would be no need since Bernardo drove a Maxima.

During this case. the police overlooked many things. and deemed a lot of evidence as being unimportant. In 1987. before Bernardo's first rape had been reported. a young blonde came into the police station to report a man that had been bothering her. his name was Paul Bernardo. The complaint was written up. and filed in a drawer by a detective at the station. who was later found to have remarked; “Aren't all good-looking blondes bothered by men?" The file was found two weeks later, and since the women hadn't returned with additional complaints, the officer thought nothing of it, and no follow-up was done. The night Leslie Mahaffy went missing, her parents immediately phoned the police to report that their daughter had disappeared Leslie had had some family problems and had mn away from home in the past. and therefore in the eyes of the police. she was considered a run away. The police didn't take action until two days later.

Even the press wouldn't help the Mahaffy‘s in the search to find their daughter. one reporter told Mrs. Mahaffy that: “ They needed a fresh, new angle on the case ,,,,,, that’s what makes news". With no help from authorities, it was up to family and friends to locate the whereabouts of Leslie, only then it was too late. During Bernardo’s rain as the Scarborough Rapist, he and his wife drugged and raped Homolka‘s younger sister Tammy. Homolka gave her virgin sister to Bernardo as a Christmas present. Homolka worked at a veterinary clinic and was able to get a sedative, which was usually used during operations on larger dogs. One night during the holiday's, Bernardo and Homolka spiked her sisters drink with these drugs, rendering her unconscious, then proceeded to rape her. The drug mixed with the alcohol ended up stopping Tammy's breathing, eventually killing her. The police ruled out foul play even with some suspicious evidence at the scene.

A few months later. Bernardo had his eye on a friend of Homolka's, and wanted to do the same to her friend Jane as had been done to Tammy. Again, her breathing stopped, and the police and ambulance were called. Luckily for Bernardo, he was able to resuscitate Jane before the ambulance arrived. Quickly dialling 9-1-1, the distress call was cancelled. Procedure says that the police and ambulance should follow up to ensure that everything is all right, for some reason that didn't happen, and Bernardo slips by authorities one more time. On February 17, 1993, Bernardo was arrested at gun point while cooking hamburgers in his St. Catherines home. He was charged with nine counts including two counts of first degree murder, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of forcible confinement, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of an indignity to a human body.

Three weeks prior to his arrest, Bernardo severely beat Homolka with a flashlight, causing her to spend a few days in the hospital. Homolka charged Bernardo with assault and ended up turning her husband in for the murders of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaff. When police first got word that they finally caught the man responsible to the two murders, one officer was quoted as saying: “You're shitin’ me. Bernardo?". Unfortunately the arrest came too late, and the damage had been done, but Bernardo was no longer free to continue. Police are human, and make mistakes, unfortunately these mistakes cost two girls their lives.

Updated: May 07, 2023
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A Review of the Facts of Notorious Case of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka in Canada. (2023, May 07). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-review-of-the-facts-of-notorious-case-of-paul-bernardo-and-karla-homolka-in-canada-essay

A Review of the Facts of Notorious Case of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka in Canada essay
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