June 02, 2005

Bad news, indeed. And, oh goody, there's a movie coming out, too. In about a month, Karla Homolka will be set free.

I don't believe that justice has been served, she should have been sentenced to life. I don't recall when such a vicious criminal, much less a female one, has been set free after a relatively short period of time for the types of crimes she and Paul Bernardo committed. Oh yeah, and she wants to be a mom! For those of you who don't know the story...

  • Karla Homolka is a marked woman. That's all I'll say.
  • I don't doubt it for a second.
  • It was in the blue the other day.
  • I feel like I'm in America.
  • This is a fine argument in favor of the death penalty, I'd think.
  • While I am absolutely no apologizer for the horror story that is Karla Homolka, I would remind people that her plea bargain was arrived at when the solid evidence against her and her husband was almost non-existent, and the possibility of even a trial was looking remote. Overturning her plea bargain would undermine the entire justice system, and hardly serve society better than honoring our pact with her, when future serial killers and witnesses see no reason to cooperate with authorities.
  • Absolutely. Knowing what we know now, it was a terrible deal. But that was the deal that was made, based on the information 'available' at the time. Do I think she is guilty as sin? Yes. Even more so than Bernardo -- thanks to the evidence that the girls were strangled from behind, and that kneeprints on the girls' backs matched those of Homolka (although that last bit was disallowed). Not to mention the fact that Bernardo, as the Scarborough Rapist, never killed one of the dozens of women he had raped before. The killings were something new, something which came into being only when Homolka was in the picture. Nevertheless, the deal was made, and Bernardo's trial ran on the basis that she was an abused wife, co-opted into these crimes. That's what the court was sold on -- and if the 810 application succeeds, it would be a tacit admission by the government that a) the deal was wrong, and b) that the abused-wife defence was a total crock -- a defence which was presented and bought AFTER the tapes surfaced. I'm not altogether convinced that an 810 application is necessary, aside for the purposes of public perception. There is now way that Homolka could ever return here to St. Catharines, and the cops are going to take an extra-keen interest in watching her. If she so much as jaywalks, she's going downtown. But we'll see how things play out today.
  • Wow. I had no idea... That's really fucked up. I think, given the absense of remorse, that the special post-release measures are justified. Too bad they didn't have the videos when they made the deal...
  • As I recall from reading the other day, that deal was originally struck verbally (for a reduced sentence, prior to the video surfacing). But the prosecuting team actually did get the video but chose (forget now why) not to renege or seek further charges. I'm willing to be corrected as to details --- but this sticks out in my memory quite strongly --- perhaps it was wikipedia about one of the 'participants' or a link from there: something like 'the common misconceptions about the case or something'. I only first heard of the case when it was posted to the blue. It's quite a chilling thing to see those wedding pix and look in their eyes. Very disturbing.
  • Theoretically, she could still be charged for at least one crime that didn't become known until after her deal, the details of which "came to her as a dream" during her husband's trial. But it seems that nobody has the taste for that. On preview pecay, it was Bernardo's original lawyer who removed the tapes from their house, and held onto them for months before turning them over. It was during this time that the deal was signed.
  • Yes, it was Bernardo's original lawyer who removed the tapes, but it was only AFTER the police had concluded their examination of the house -- an examination which essentially left no house. The cops took the house apart, but didn't think to look in the ceiling light -- which made the later prosecution of that lawyer seem like an affair based on vengeance.
  • The video's existence and location were only known to the defense lawyer (Paul's, I think...not Karla's). He deliberately withheld the evidence, which allowed Karla's deal to be made in the first place. If there's anyone to blame for Karla's sweetheart deal and the fact that she'll be free in a few weeks, it's the scumbag lawyer. On preview: Capt. Renault - the lawyer had an obligation to turn the tapes over to prosecutors. He failed to do so and should have been convicted for it.
  • From wiki:
    #10 The home videos were discovered after the plea-bargain had been fixed. Had they come to light earlier, she would have been sentenced to life in prison. * This is vastly oversimplified. Prosecutors had an opportunity to both "break the deal" and charge Homolka with additional crimes for a period of 8 months between when the tapes were found and authorities agreed not to charge her with additional crimes. The police were in possession of the tapes in September of 1994, although the "deal" had been signed in 1993 (and they had been working under the deal under a verbal agreement long before that) they were still able to prosecute her for "Jane Doe", and for lies that they uncovered in her earlier testimony (an absolute deal-breaker was lying during her interviews with prosecutors) since they knew she had lied; Stephen Williams published memos where the Crown discussed these lies amongst themselves. Officials agreed not to prosecute her for the "Jane Doe" incidents, and they chose not to break the deal with Homolka on May 18, 1995. That decision was final.
  • To defend my fellow scumbag lawyers -- at the time, there was little-to-no direction from the Law Society as to what Ken Murray would be obliged to turn over as evidence. It was Murray's claim that he never watched the tapes and had no idea what was on them -- a claim which can niether be proved nor disproved, strictly speaking, but I would assume that the contents would be shocking to any conscionable person, and as such, had he watched them, things would have taken a different course. But that's speculation. At the time, the only clear professional obligation that Ken Murray had was to his client. He followed his client's instructions, and in so doing, followed the only professional direction he had to work with. (A call was made to the Law Society's hotline seeking instruction, but no real direction was given. Murray was left on his own.) That being said, it was silly for Ken Murray not to wonder what was on the tapes and pop them in the VCR. However, he followed proper procedure in place at the time, and shouldn't be faulted for the shortcomings of that procedure. And the Law Society has been sure to correct the situation since then, making it clear to new scumbag lawyers like me that we now two conflicting duties -- one to our client, and one to prosecution. But that is a whole new mess to contend with. The old mess is gone.
  • I guess it's fairly academic now. She surely was is a twisted fuck. Doubtful she'll have a fun life unless she's got a bag of money and a plastic surgeon as a friend.
  • Yes, the bit with the lawyer holding on to the tapes was very bizarre, as my recollection is that he seemed like a relatively stand-up guy for a shyster. I don't know if he ever gave a realistic explanation for his conduct. Any lawyers in the house? If a client asked you to retrieve something, but not look at it, and you had reason to suspect it detailed a serious crime, which duty takes precedence - attorney/client or upholding the law?
  • Oops. Didn't read all the previews. Thanks Renault.
  • I can't even hear about this story without falling apart. All I want to say right now is that she's planning to move to NDG (in Montreal). I grew up in the neighbourhood next to that; we have family friends in NDG still. I just...I don't believe in the death penalty, no matter what the crime. I believe that this case was a huge fuck-up but without hindsight it's somewhat understandable that what happened, happened (and Capt. Renault nailed the problems with the lawyer's duty). I don't believe overturning her plea bargain would be in the best interests of anyone or the justice system as a whole. And I certainly do not believe in vigilante justice. But if I were back visiting that neighbourhood, and saw her on the street...it makes me want to stay away from Montreal, to save me from myself more than anything.
  • Which is precisely why she's never coming back here to St. Catharines. Vigilante justice would accomplish what the courts didn't. Which isn't to say that we're a violent folk -- there's just a sense in town that we were denied something, as the crimes were committed here but we didn't get the trial, and that we still don't know the entire story. People KNOW Karla here. They might not know her in Notre Dame de Grace. Might.
  • Like peacay, I too spotted that reference in Wikipedia, and it quite startled me; different from every other telling I have heard about how she got a much smaller sentence than her husband for those crimes. I haven't found any other reference as to why this was done, however. Every person I've repeated it to has been very bothered by it, and if it's true, I can't imagine why it's not more widely known.
  • I'm far removed and fairly ignorant. I would just take it that there's fair reasons. It's not too often (yes, I may possibly eat my words somewhere along the line) that a conspiracy in the legal & police fraternities would promulgate something that at first glance seems relatively unsatisfactory. There may have been some worry as to admissiblity of the tape as evidence among other reasons.
  • I would just add a prayer for her soul. Because she will not survive. There are too many outraged people there.
  • Given the revolting nature of the crimes and the botched prosecution, combined with the frenzy of indignation and fear currently being whipped up by the media, I'd say, as MJ did at the top of the thread, that Karla will likely be toast soon after release. Can't say that I feel terribly bad about that..
  • a prayer for her soul She doesn't have one.
  • I cannot imagine, for a moment, that she can go anywhere in Canada and NOT be recognized. That being said, she might want to consider staying in prison, she'll be safest there. On the other hand, I want her to suffer in horrible ways. Simple as that.
  • She could go to the United States, assuming a felon would be allowed in. I am always shocked by how few people here know who she is or have heard of the murders.
  • I had never heard of her prior to this thread. Bleah. Pretty much ruined my morning earlier.
  • Gack - now she's whelped. That kid hasn't a prayer.
  • I enjoyed Cheers as much as anyone, but I just don't think Ted Danson ought to be commenting on this story. Must celebrities always insert themselves into current events?
  • Jesus, the guy must not have known who she was. It's easier for me to think that than to think someone willingly got that close to her. She absolutely should not have been allowed to have children. I feel quite strongly that she should have had that right taken away from her from the beginning. How the fuck dare she.
  • Blame a legal system that assumed the male of the pair must be the only evil one, and gave the female a sweet plea-bargain deal in exchange for testimony against her partner. She served the time she was sentenced to, and now is a free woman. It sucks, but maybe the best recourse is to ignore her and not contribute to her celebrity.