by Patrick H. Moore

Is Karla Homolka the most hated women in North America? It’s hard to think of any other female who evokes the utter loathing that is directed at Homolka from journalists, bloggers, and commentators online.  This would appears to set her apart from other serial killers, whether male or female, or solo practitioners or part of a deadly duo. Most serial killers, although objects of interest, are not utterly despised by those who follow them. True fiends such as Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy are the subject of thousands of internet searches daily by readers who are fascinated by the dark recesses of the criminal mind.  Here at All Things Crime Blog we get daily referrals from “surfers” trolling the Internet for fresh insights into the psyche of the deadly Mr. Dahmer, often in the middle of the night. When I go to sleep, I chuckle to myself knowing that in the morning when I “hit the blog running” I will discover that — sure enough — the Dahmer people have made their faithful nocturnal courtesy calls. I thank them and I think I understand them. There is something so eerily creepy about Dahmer that you just can’t get enough of him.

jeffersBut I don’t believe that most of the individuals that make up Team Dahmer loathe and despise the man. Rather, I believe        that they — for the most part — are entertained and fascinated by Dahmer, whose mere existence (he lives on in infamy) raises endless questions about the dark inner reaches of the human mind. In the final analysis, like life and death, he remains an eternal mystery. And, to top it off, Jeffrey had his fetishes — his skulls, his body parts, his specimen jars, his penchant for necrophilia; he was what back in the day was called: “A Real Sick Puppy.” And some of us can’t help — at a certain level — feeling some degree of sympathy for the “poor devil.”

Well, such is not the case with Karla Homolka. Although she and Paul Bernardo were apparently only responsible for the rape, torture and murders of three Canadian schoolgirls (including of course Karla’s sister Tammy, whom they drugged and both raped), based on the hatred she evinces, you would think the number was much higher. The loathing is deep and visceral. It is felt by Canadians and Americans; it is shared by “regular folks” and the press alike.

For example, when All Things Crime Blog recently posted an article on Karla and subsequently canvassed some of the Canadian bloggers and message board posters who write frequently about Homolka, we received numerous responses which indicate just how raw the Karla Homolka wound remains for many Canadians.  Here is one particularly interesting response:

KarlaI am, however, far too familiar with the type of woman Karla is, and with the way they think. People – particularly men from what I’ve been reading – constantly under-evaluate their danger and malice (and malevolence) and make excuses for them.

After all, if she went through all of this only to have a sexual affair in prison with Gerbet, really just how naive and innocent was she in the first place?

But really, if you’re looking for vetting of any articles on her, I’d suggest you might want to run them by the crime reporters who covered the trial. They have a major bee in their bonnet about her to this very day – every single one of them. No matter the article, you can just feel the sense of disgust, dismay, and injustice whenever the subject of Karla comes up for any of them. They’re all award-winning writers who are extremely skilled at what they do. The fact that every one of them remains so disturbed all these years later should tell us something.

Heck, even though she’d been a crime reporter for some time at that point, Patricia Pearson was so knocked off balance by what she learned at that trial that she wrote a book to get it out of her system. Christie Blatchford and Rosie DiManno still write about her her often, with a level of pain and sadness and anger that seems little diminished from when they first covered the trials.

Patricia Pearson also writes eloquently on the Homolka case.

See also the “” Homolka-Bernardo discussion group.

In Rosie DiMannio’s 2012 article, in which she describes how journalist Paula Todd tracked Karla down in Guadeloupe where she is living with her husband and three children, the journalist pens this revealing passage:

Any insights culled from this exchange must come from Todd. She is the one who witnessed Homolka interacting with husband and children, at one point arching her back and assuming a sultry pose as she breastfeeds her baby.

 That’s the Karla Homolka those of us who saw her home sex movies in court will remember, a frankly carnal and lascivious creature, a predator without an ounce of conscience. That breast, now suckling a child, is familiar, as are all Homolka’s intimate body parts.

 She was a succubus.

 She is a killer.

 It’s not a story she’ll tell her kids, tucking them in at night. But they’ll learn of it, someday.

To me, this is a little strange: Did Karla, when observed by Paula Todd, really “arch her back and assume a sultry pose as she breastfeeds her baby?” Could there be a bit of poetic license informing Paula Todd’s fine writing? But far be it from me as a male observer to speculate on what women feel or do as they breastfeed their babies. But what we can certainly gather from this is the fact that dedicated followers of the Homolka-Bernardo schoolgirl murders truly loathe Karla.  I get the impression that some of the “haters” would love nothing more than to be given the opportunity to get in the ring with Karla and beat her to a bloody pulp, or maybe do even worse things. But now I’m getting carried away.

But be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that many apparently perfectly normal people TRULY HATE KARLA HOMOLKA with a hatred that is deep, visceral and unrelenting.

So what fuels this?

As an American who only heard about this case fairly recently, but is developing a mounting interest in it, it seems useful to discuss some of the observations that fuel this unrelenting distaste:

Justice Has Not Been Served

Homolka served 12 years for manslaughter and was released in 2005.  The relatively light sentence reflects a plea bargain which became known in Canada as the “Deal with the Devil”, in large part because of the perception that Homolka minimized her participation in negotiating the plea bargain — only to have the true extent of her involvement revealed when video tapes of the sexual crimes, not available to the authorities at the time of the plea bargain, were disclosed and showed Karla a willing participant.  Subsequent analysis showing that Karla had revealed the full extent of her participation in the assaults on her sister, Leslie Mahaffey, and Kristen French does not seem to have done much to diminish the outrage on this count.

The Theory That Karla Was the Real Murderer

The theory that Karla, not Paul Bernardo, was the actual murderer who took the lives of the victims is one that has gained significant traction among many.  Trish Wood writes in some detail about the theory and its proponents in The Case Against Karla Homolka.  In it, she cites FBI profiler Candice Skrapec, and Dr. Vincent Dimaio.  Skrapec watched hundreds of hours of Homolka interrogation and interviews and came to the conclusion that sexual sadist Bernardo was only half a psychopathic equation — and that Homolka was afflicted with “malignant narcissism” which likely drove her to kill.

“This personality cannot tolerate humiliation. It is capable of destroying others in the service of meeting its ego needs.” In Skrapec’s view, Homolka would have had no tolerance for anyone who she thought might take her rightful place at the side of Bernardo. . . .

Under this theory, Bernardo was essentially a garden variety rapist who extended his rape activities to include the sexual enslavement of French and Mahaffey — but was not the killer.  It was Karla who really called the shots and performed the ultimate loathsome deeds.

Karla is Strangely Without Affect and Is Unrepentant

Paul Bernardo and Karla HomolkaIn her interrogation videos and in her testimony, it was remarked that Karla was strangely without “affect” or animation, and even after being released back into society, she has never apologized to the victims’ families or otherwise demonstrated that she is in any serious way repentant.  Indeed, while in prison she engaged in a sexual relationship with a murderer not altogether different from Paul Bernardo, further cementing the notion that she had gamed the system and was flaunting that fact to anyone paying attention.

It’s a Canadian Thing

Americans have long ago adjusted to the idea that there are lunatic Americans who will occasionally surface and wreak mayhem, and when they do, we do not feel our national identity threatened.  Not so in Canada, where crimes of this sort are rare — and this crime in particular rankles because the perpetrators in essence masqueraded as clean-cut, good young Canadians — the veritable boy and girl next door.  This sense of deception, and the sense that Homolka and Bernardo were the “enemy within” seems to continue to fuel the anger.

A Modest Proposal

I sense that many good-hearted, essentially moral Canadians (and, no doubt, some Americans) feel genuinely betrayed by Karla and I will tell you why I believe this is so:

Most citizens observe what Jean-Jacques Rousseau so famously called “The Social Contract.” In return for living within a society that provides us with opportunities for shelter, sustenance and the all-important sense of belonging, we, as citizens, sign a sort of mental contract with society. In return for the right to live within the society and utilize the many comforts it provides, we, in turn, agree to follow “the rules.” Sure, we are not required to be perfect but we are required to proceed within certain boundaries. This means we do not drive 100 miles per hour during rush hour traffic.  We do not steal other people’s identities and pillage their bank accounts. At work, we put in reasonably effort and do not “screw the boss.” Most dramatically, we do not rape and murder anyone, and particularly not vulnerable school girls. We simply do not.

It is, of course, true that some of us may entertain aberrant fantasies from time to time, but we certainly don’t act upon them. We would not even consider doing so. Those of us who strive to maintain a reasonable level of appropriate social interaction take pride in being decent people.  You could say that we are all part of the “decent people club.”

KPI believe that the Homolka haters justifiably sense that Karla did not have to run amuck in the manner she did. Unlike Jeffrey Dahmer, she wasn’t born with obscure mental problems and raised in a weird and unnerving environment (Dahmer’s mother was reportedly very unstable and his father was a strange, retiring scientist with a penchant for bizarre experimentation). Homolka’s upbringing appears to have been quite normal.  This fact is supported by the manner in which her family helped her go to the authorities when she finally decided the end the game. That’s right, to Homolka it appears to have all been a dark and evil game, fun for her and Bernardo. Just kicks! “Wow! Wasn’t that something? Did you see how scared that little bitch was? Now how do we get rid of the body?”

My impression of Homolka’s essential normalcy is borne out by the fact that she now leads a conventional family life. In fact, she may well be essentially normal. Except she’s not. She’s a rapist and murderer who — because not insane — appears to have thoroughly enjoyed rape, torture and murder.  And therein lies the rub. A normal person does not rape and murder for the fun of it. But Karla did. And those who recognize this will never forgive her such shameful self-indulgence. Nor should they.

Wow! I’m apparently on the road to becoming a Karla hater myself. Thank you, all you fellow haters for setting me straight.

Click on the following links to read other posts in All Things Crime Blog’s “Karla” series:

The Karla Homolka Files: A U.S. Perspective on Karla Homolka’s Plea Bargain

Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo: Canada’s Most Notorious Serial Killer Case

Was Karla Homolka a Normal Child? The Answer Is a Resounding No



20 Responses to Is Karla Homolka the Most Hated Woman in North America?

  1. Tracy b says:

    As a traveller to third countries, it would be a shame to run in to karla at one of the local mercados. I do believe that if the vendors of such locales knew of her involvement, there may be back lash. Such a shame, considering all the questions one would have.

    • Patrick H. Moore says:

      Very interesting comment. Suppose you were traveling abroad, ran into Karla at a mercado and recognized her? How would you respond? Would you walk up to her and introduce yourself pretending you didn’t recognize her, try to strike up a casual conversation? Or would you shadow her, like a P.I., keeping your distance while watching her every move? Or, would you say, “Karla. What a surprise to see you here? I’ve been looking for you. Would you mind me asking you a few questions?

      I like the originality of your response. Thanks for commenting

  2. […] Is Karla Homolka the Most Hated Woman in North America? […]

  3. Lindsay says:

    I feel that the main reason why so many people hate her (myself included) and what is particularly perturbing is something which I can’t find answers to or even ADDRESSED on the internet. For me, it is one thing, an utterly terrible thing, to rape/murder random people, it is ENTIRELY ANOTHER much more twisted disgusting severely psychotic thing to rape and murder YOUR OWN SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean – what?? That’s the kicker for me. She grew up with Tammy, she had a relationship with her. Why does nobody seem to address this, discuss it, or have any reasons for it? How could she have affection for her parents, still continue a relationship with her other sister, and do such a dreadful thing?

    The other thing I really don’t understand is HOW ON EARTH DID HER PARENTS /OTHER SISTER FORGIVE HER. Just, HOW? This is undeniably the weirdest part of this case to me, and the one which clearly has motivated me to post a comment on a random crime blog on the internet.

  4. Shuo Yang says:

    “I mean, I was a monster… If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is. I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding, just because they said so. There’s no rhyme or reason or sense.” These were the words that came out of convicted D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, who is now serving life without the possibility of parole in a U.S. federal penitentiary, for a terror spree he committed at age 17, back in 2002, along with his blood-thirsty mentor, John Muhammad.
    I wish Karla Homolka would have been able to say something like that, too, but somehow, she just doesn’t seem like the person who would take in the fact that she was a monster and how precious those lives (her younger sister, Tammy, Leslie Mahaffy, and Kristen French) really meant, now that they are no longer with us. She should eventually face up to what she did, just like the kid sniper Malvo had been able to do for his crimes, and realize that she had, indeed, taken part, in the rapes/crimes that involved in the deaths of her sister, and both Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. I don’t care what happens to her then, but she definitely knows more than what she had told the police and should eventually take responsibility for what she done, even if it was something Paul concocted.
    That is one thing I can guarantee her, is that she can not hide from the fact that she was a monster and that innocent lives were destroyed. I don’t know how someone like that can be able to repay for such crimes. I just do not know.

  5. Chris says:

    When I think of Karla now living in Guadaloupe, with a husband and three children — and, in fact, when I think of her life in general — the phrase that always comes to mind is “the banality of evil.” There’s no evident paraphilia. Rather, Karla is like a black hole. As Lindsay wrote, there’s the unthinkable fact that she offered up her own sister, and participated in her rape, just to satisfy the sadistic lust of her boyfriend. This is just monstrous. She had the ability to stop every horrific crime that she and Paul committed together, and she did not. I’ve never doubted that she was a willing participant from jump. And what really galls is that she got away with it. Her twelve years in prison resembled time at a (slightly) more restrictive than usual boarding school.

    That lack of any real punishment for her crimes, combined with her perceived lack of any remorse, is, in my opinion, a good part of the reason why, after all this time, she still inspires just hatred and disgust.

  6. Chris says:

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve just discovered this site and it’s really impressive. Good job!

  7. gaynor says:

    What you say is true. She needs to say that it was wrong what she did, that she feels more than bad, that if she could she would swap places with the victims, but she never will. I only found out about this story about a month ago, and I can’t get enough of it. I’ve read every little thing. I didn’t know why it got to me as much as all the other true crime stories I have read, but after reading these posts I get it. Thanks.

  8. Les says:

    How did Paula Todd track Homolka down in Guadeloupe when Homolka never left Canada, as has been confirmed by her sister Lori in her testimony at Luka Magnotta’s trial?
    Anyone in the know knew that Homolka never left Canada, ever.
    Are we really expected to believe that a convicted murderer associated with one of the biggest criminal cases in Canadian history was welcomed into another country with open arms?
    The “living in the West Indies” story was composed by the Homolka family to throw the media off her trail. While the webs were reporting that she had moved to the country of her husband’s birth, a country that he had not resided in for over two decades, Homolka was living in Ontario, where she finished her university degree, then she returned to Quebec where she has been living for at least the last three years with her husband and small children.
    So, I repeat my question: How did Paula Todd track her down in Guadeloupe when she NEVER LIVED THERE (And how do those who fell for Ms. Todd’s work of fiction get a refund on their e-book purchase?)?

    • PatrickHMoore says:

      I think that even the srious people believe Karla lived on Guadeloupe for quite a few years. If you’re right that she never left Canada, that’s quite a scoop. On the other hand, why would we necessarily believe what her sister says. Subterfuge is a way of life.

    • liselasalle says:

      This is a ridiculous comment. she tracked her down in Guadeloupe and had photos to prove it.
      Bordelais was allowed to live there with her husband and her restrictions had been lifted.

      And now she’s been outed again. People are so dumb when it comes to high profile cases.

      I hope she finds peace wherever she is.

      • Kellie K says:

        To Lisalasalle, ? Lori?
        You hope that the maladaptive sadistic maladaptive sociopath Karla “finds peace wherever she is.”?! SMH.
        Yep, “people are so dumb” alrighty…
        That monster Karla is a savage who will, or already has, wreaked havoc on more victims.
        She never should have been released into society period!
        Predators like her need to be outed to alert the innocent that these monsters are roaming free.
        The ones whom you should hope find peace are; her victim’s devastated family members whose lives are forever destroyed by the narcissistic psychopathic Karla. 😠 🐒 🐍
        I hope she’s hunted down, outed and given some of her just desserts. 🎯 👊 🗽 🚬 🔫
        🔐 🔥😜 🔨 🏭💺 💉 💀 🍻 🎉 👏 🙌

  9. Dash1729 says:

    I believe there are two things that escalate this, in people’s minds, far beyond Karla simply being a typical female accomplice of a more diabolical male fiend. One is the assault and murder of Karla’s own sister. Yes, people sometimes do terrible things within their own family–killing your own sibling to get ahead in life is quite literally the oldest trick in the book if the book in question is the Bible. But it is usually due to a specific grievance or dispute within a family. To plot the rape and murder of your own sister simply for sexual jollies is a line that very few of even the most evil people cross. By comparison, even Paul Bernardo–despite extremely serious disputes with multiple family members–never crossed the line to hurt any of his OWN family. Yes Karla isn’t the first and sadly won’t be the last person to seriously abuse a family member, but I think most family abusers do love their victims in a twisted way. Karla’s treatment of Tammy makes it seem like Karla saw Tammy as just the latest in a long string of sexual playthings for Paul and herself. People feel it crosses a line that is rarely crossed even in very sick families.

    Second is something which actually wasn’t technically a crime, at least at the time, but I believe also horrified people. I’m referring to the ‘Fireside Chat’ where Karla threatens to conceive children for the sole purpose of later sexually assaulting them. This is the reason why Karla continues to be hated and nobody is persuaded by Karla’s apparent re-invention of herself as a loving mother of three.

    Without these real and threatened assaults on her own family, I believe that Karla would continue to be unforgiven by the families of Leslie and Kristen but would have faded from view long ago when it comes to the national and international spotlight. For example, Paul Bernardo has mostly faded from the news and it mostly because of Karla that one hears anything of Paul these days. It is the assaults on her own family that seem to put Karla in a class by herself and ensure she continues to be despised after so many years on a national level.

    • Kellie K says:

      To Dash1729, ✌ 👏
      Brilliant summation with valid, logical, spot on reasons as to why that monster is hated.
      IMHO, your post is hands down THE best!
      My jaw dropped with the info you supplied about the ‘Fireside Chat’, which I hadn’t heard about. Gasp! That there is beyond the DSM scale of depravity, and more than enough reasons as to why that monster should have been taken out of society permanently.
      I have no doubts about why that vicious depraved sub-human creature has babies around her- terrifying to know that there are 3 babies this monster is allowed to have in her custody.
      She has probably scarred them for life and turned them into future sociopaths, if they live that long.

  10. Janet Davidson says:

    I’ve been following Karla’s reign of terror from the very beginning! My heart goes out to the family of the two victims not too mention the numerous rapes he committed prior to the murders with Karla.I truly hope that Karla pays her dues for what she did because the 12 years was a joke on all of Canada’s justice system! As for her children I wonder how she would feel about Paul having a night with them? Like he did with the two young women they both murdered.How on this earth can her parents and sister possibly believe her after the tapes and TAMMY??!!

    • Kellie K says:

      To Janet,
      Monster Karla would probably love having Paul have a night or more with her children, of course she’d have to partake in the evil vile sickness as well.
      She probably already has committed unmentionable and countless atrocities against them by now.
      Her husband’s probably quite a monster himself who just hasn’t been caught yet. A normal man would never marry that vile murderous monster, let alone impregnate such a monster.

  11. Anthony says:

    Serial child rapist and murderer Leanne Teale Bordelais is indeed living in a suburb outside of Montreal, Quebec. Apparently the 3 time school girl killer returned to Quebec to take advantage of its generous social services. That, and her true identity was exposed on the island of Guadeloupe where her husband Thierry hails from. Thank you Paula Todd and Marina Ladou for keeping an eye on this predator.

    • Kellie K says:

      To Anthony,
      Thanks for the info. 😱 That sadistic, sexual murdering psychopath’s whereabouts need to be kept track of at all times. 🔐 📷 🎥 📡 📺 👀 😠

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