Staying Put....

As 2000 drew to a close, Manitoba's justice minister announced that he would urge officials in Winnipeg to withhold the permits necessary for a Toronto filmmaker trying to shoot a movie about murderers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. "This film won't get any help from us," Gord Mackintosh said. "I think it's important that there be an early message back to the filmmakers that we don't back their plans." Peter Simpson, chairman of Norstar Filmed Entertainment Inc., the producers of the proposed film, said that his company might have to shoot the film outside Ontario because of the province's opposition. "If they really would rather I take the movie, spend the money and go shoot the movie and fake it in Montreal, I might be talked into that," Simpson said. "I'm sure that Quebec and Winnipeg would both welcome it with open arms - and I'd get more money out of there." Simpson made the comments after Ontario Culture Minister Helen Johns and Premier Mike Harris said they would not co-operate with the making of the film, including keeping Simpson from using government buildings or giving him provincial tax credits. Telefilm Canada has also denied Norstar's request for funding.

The film is based on the book Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams, which contains gory details about the rapes of more than a dozen women, culminating in the torture and murder of two teenagers.

In February 2001, the Toronto Star reported that Karla Homolka's safety had became a growing concern for her lawyer after he was made aware of an Internet death pool that allegedly took bets on when Homolka would be killed.

At the time, Homolka was housed at the Pinel Institute, a psychiatric hospital in Montreal after being transferred there in early February for a treatment program after she spent more than two months under psychiatric evaluation in Saskatoon.

According to her lawyer, Homolka has discovered at least two or three Web sites that contain threats against her, including the betting pool. One site is called "Karla Homolka Death Pool: When the Game is Over, We All Win." While the site states clearly it does not condone violence against Homolka, it solicits bets on the exact day she will die. The strongest bets are for June and July 2001. The rules state players are not allowed to fix the bet by killing her themselves or having someone else do it. Homolka, who is using the alias Karla Teale while in prison, is taking the threats seriously.

The threats came at a time when two out of three psychiatrists had recommended that Homolka is still too dangerous to be released forcing corrections officials to make recommendations to the National Parole Board to keep her in prison until her sentence expires in 2005. Homolka's lawyer said that Homolka still wants to return to Joliette prison and stay there for the rest of her term. Labelle said Homolka feels it's the only place in Canada where she won't be murdered. He said she also intends to waive opposition to her detention hearing.

Prior to Homolka's transfer to Pinel, corrections officials had told Labelle that his client would go to St. Anne-des-Plaines maximum-security prison, one of the most notorious federal institutions in Quebec. Labelle suggested that Homolka will almost certainly launch a federal court challenge if she is sent anywhere but Joliette.

On March 8 2001, Karla Homolka was officially denied early statutory release. The National Parole Board released its ruling after a review of the case, ordering that Homolka remain detained past her July release eligibility date. ''The board is satisfied that, if released, you are likely to commit an offence causing the death of or serious harm to another person before the expiration of the sentence you are now serving,'' said the order. The families of her schoolgirl victims are delighted with the result, according to Tim Danson, their lawyer.

According to the board report, the gravity of her crimes is part of the reason she was detained. ''The judge described those acts as monstrous and depraved,'' said the report. ''All these crimes are extremely grave ... the fact that you continued your crimes after the death of your sister, which occurred during your sexual abuse of her, demonstrates clearly your difficulty in controlling your violent sexual impulses to the point of putting in danger the safety of others. Your modus operandi demonstrates a high degree of indifference to the consequences of your acts.''

The report added that Corrections didn't know of any surveillance program Homolka could participate in outside prison that would sufficiently protect the public. It also noted that Homolka had expressed worry about her own safety in the community.

Canadian law requires that when the Correctional Service of Canada feels a case requires detention beyond the two-thirds point, it be referred to the board at least six months before the statutory release date. The law also requires that the board review the case every year after the statutory release date until the expiry of her sentence, which is in July 2005.

At the time of the board's announcement, Homolka said that she wouldn't contest the ruling and indicated that she may leave Canada after she has served her full sentence.

In January 2003 the Toronto Star reported that the National Parole Board had ruled that Karla Homolka must stay in prison until her sentence is completed in July of 2005. The board's decision represented the third time that Homolka's request to be transferred to a half-way house was refused.

Two reasons for the refusal were given. One reason was her sexual relationship with another convict at the Ste.-Anne-des-Plaines detention center. The other reason stated by the board was her refusal to participate in rehabilitation programs. The Toronto Star reported on January 19, 2003 , that "Commissioners noted she had not yet started therapy for her role as a sexual aggressor and showed little interest in other rehabilitation programs." Adding to the scandal, the Toronto Sun published photos it bought from Homolka's former lesbian lover when the two women were housed in a prison in Quebec .

On January 20, the Globe and Mail quoted Stephen Williams, author of two books on her case: "Is the fact that she would like to have sex with a man supposed to predict dangerousness? It sounds perfectly normal to me. How can that be indicative of psychopathy or a diseased mind?"

Williams believes that the prison system will go to any lengths to keep her in jail. Regarding the sexual aggressor designation, he believes that it does not fit Homolka and "she would be out of her mind to comply with this therapy."

Homolka was transferred to a Saskatchewan prison so that she could be evaluated by psychiatrists -- an evaluation which apparently was used as a factor in denying her parole.

By doing so, Williams claims that the correctional system has created for itself the worst possible scenario: "Ms. Homolka's release in 2005 with no possibility of parole officers keeping tabs on her."

On January 23, The Ottawa Citizen reported that 10 weeks after the Ontario attorney general asked the Niagara police to determine whether or not Homolka's involvement with Williams' French-language best-seller Karla, le pacte avec le diable (Karla: A Pact with the Devil) violated her plea bargain, the police had not yet read the book. The police claim that the book is still in the process of being translated.

Williams and Homolka's book was originally written in English, but was refused by English-language publishers, so it was translated into French after a publisher in Quebec purchased the rights. It sold 15,000 copies in first three months.

The July, 2005 release date for Karla is still in place.


Marilyn Bardsley

Marilyn Bardsley is the founder and executive editor of Court TV's Crime Library. She has personally researched and written some of the most popular biographies and feature stories in The Crime Library.

Karla's DNA tied to politics

Karla Homolka will be compelled to provide federal authorities with a DNA sample -- as long as the Liberal government doesn't fall before a new bill is passed into law.

MPs from all political parties agreed yesterday to fast-track Bill C-13 so Homolka and other violent offenders don't slip out of prison without their DNA being put in the national database. Currently DNA collection -- even for the most serious crimes such as murder -- isn't mandatory.

Steve Sullivan, of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, said Homolka has become the "poster child" for the urgent need to pass the bill because her release is set for July.

But there are many other reasons the government should put the bill on the top of its legislative agenda, he said.

"It may be a deterrent, it may be an ability for police to solve a crime earlier if (convicts) reoffend, it may be a way of solving crimes that haven't been solved yet. So for public safety and for victims' families, this is a very important bill."

Conservative MP Vic Toews pressed Justice Minister Irwin Cotler to "step up to the plate" and do the right thing, but government House leader Tony Valeri was non-committal in the Commons. "When we co-operate and focus on the interests and priorities of Canadians, Parliament can in fact work," he said.


"I would ask the two parties opposite, both the Conservatives and the Bloc, that if they want to, in fact, be in Parliament and be in this Parliament for the interests of Canadians, then let us work together to ensure we can pass this DNA bill and other bills."

Carolyn Gardner, whose sister Sheryl was murdered by psychopath Ralph Power in 1981, wrote to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper yesterday warning of the "serious implications" and asking him to postpone toppling the government.

"Unless this bill is passed, Homolka's DNA will not be in the national DNA databank. I believe Canadians will question the motives of anyone who does not do whatever they can to prevent that from happening," she said.

Cnet News© & Crime Library©



Marilyn Bardsley

Marilyn Bardsley is the founder and executive editor of Court TV's Crime Library. She has personally researched and written some of the most popular biographies and feature stories in The Crime Library.