Paul and Karla Bernardo, later dubbed "The Ken and Barbie Killers."

Paul and Karla Bernardo, later dubbed “The Ken and Barbie Killers.”

On the outside Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo seemed like a picture perfect couple. Their wealth and good looks were the envy of all their friends and, with a lavish wedding to boot, it would seem the couple had it all. Karla was madly in love with Paul and would do anything to keep him around, even if that meant killing for him.

While on the outside everything seemed perfect with the couple, Paul had expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that Karla had lost her virginity before getting together with Paul. Paul told Karla that she had to offer him something else in order to make amends for this. He told Karla that in exchange for his hand in marriage he wanted the virginity of her younger sister, Tammy.

Karla decided the perfect Christmas gift for Paul would be her sister. Working at a veterinary clinic at the time, Karla had access to a number of animal sedatives. All she would have to do is give Tammy the sedative and let Paul do the rest. She told Paul of the plan and agreed to videotape Paul taking her sister’s virginity.

She poured animal sedative on the cloth and placed it over Tammy’s face. Since the family had been drinking together earlier, it didn’t take long for the sedatives to take effect. The plan went off without a hitch and Karla caught all the action on camera. Once Paul was through he told Karla that it was her turn to have some fun with Tammy, but Tammy began to vomit. Karla attempted to hold her sister upside down to clear her air passage, but it was already too late. Tammy was dead.

Karla and Paul Bernardo on their wedding day.

Karla and Paul Bernardo on their wedding day.

Paul accused Karla of Tammy’s death and ordered her to find him a new playmate. Karla had no choice but to procure pretty young girls, or else she would risk losing the love of her life.

Karla befriended a young girl by the name of Jane, and invited the girl to her and Paul’s new home one evening. The Bernando’s got Jane good and drunk, gave her some sedatives, then waited for the teen to fall into a deep slumber. Paul was initially concerned about the girl facing a similar fate as Tammy, but Karla calmed his fears and the rest of the night went as planned. Paul took the girl’s virginity and anally raped the girl while Karla filmed the entire thing.

Paul realized that Karla would be willing to go along with anything he said and reluctantly agreed to marry her. The two had a lavish wedding, but Karla was never what Paul was truly after and he began picking up young girls without Karla’s knowledge.

On top of his lucrative accounting career, Paul had began smuggling cigarettes across the Canadian border and would often be out late looking for license plates. It just so happened that one of these nights Paul had been on patrol, Leslie Mahaffy was standing outside locked out of her home. Paul forced the girl into his car at knife point.

He took the girl home with him and video taped himself raping her while Karla slept upstairs. Karla awoke in the morning to find the girl still in the home. Paul ordered Karla to have her turn with Leslie, and Karla agreed. She followed every one of Paul’s commands as he sat and filmed the two. Paul, again, took control of the situation and anally penetrated Leslie, forcing her to cry out in pain. Once they had their fill of the girl, the couple disposed of her body. She was later found floating in the river.

Leslie’s murder was all over the local news and the couple attempted to keep a low profile, while still occasionally picking up a girl to rape. Paul would eventually become bored with catching and releasing his victims and talked Karla into finding another girl they could really play with.

Kristen French was walking home from school when Karla pulled up along side of her. Karla pulled out a map and asked French for directions. As French pointed out the area Karla was looking for on her map, Paul emerged from the back seat  and pulled the girl into the car.

For several days the couple kept French heavily intoxicated on alcohol and, like the other girls, the couple filmed every moment of the sexual trauma inflicted on the teenager. On the third day French refused to go along with any of Paul’s demands. This frustrated Paul that his slave wasn’t willing to submit to his wills and in turn killed the girl. Her body was recovered close to where Leslie’s body was located.


Karla eventually went to the police and confessed to the sexual assaults and murders. Bernardo was tried for the murders of both Kristen and Leslie in 1995. The testimonies were so graphic that a media ban was ordered, preventing local news from reporting on the details of the grisly crimes the couple committed. In September 1995, Bernardo was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Later it was concluded that Bernardo is a “dangerous offender” and his potential for release is slim.

Karla received a plea bargain and had her sentence reduced to 12 years for her hand in the murders. Karla’s lawyer had not disclosed several months worth of video footage — considered to be critical evidence in the trial — before Karla struck the plea deal with the prosecutors. Many believe that if prosecutors had the opportunity to view the tapes before making their decision on Karla’s plea deal that she would have served a much longer sentence than the 12 years she was handed.

Since Bernardo’s trial and conviction he spends most of his days locked in a solitary confinement cell for his own protection. In late 2015, Bernardo was once again in the headlines, this time for a self-published ebook. For several weeks the book reached number one on Amazon’s Kindle store, causing a public backlash. Though the book was a work of fiction and in no way related to crimes committed by Bernardo, Amazon chose to remove the book from their store.