July 4, 2005

Notorious Canadian sex killer leaves prison

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian sex killer was freed after12 years behind bars on Monday for her involvement in the rape,torture and murder of two schoolgirls, in a case that horrifiedCanada in the 1990s.

Karla Homolka, 35, was released from prison inSte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec, near Montreal, the CorrectionalService of Canada said in a release.

Homolka and her then-husband, Paul Bernardo, kidnapped,sexually assaulted, tortured and killed two teenaged girls inthe early 1990s in southern Ontario.

Homolka, who videotaped the assaults, also drugged her15-year-old sister so Bernardo could rape her in the basementof her family home after a Christmas dinner. The girl choked onher own vomit and died.

She agreed to a plea-bargain sentence for manslaughter inreturn for testifying against Bernardo, an agreement thatangered Canadians and was dubbed "a deal with the devil."

Bernardo is serving a life sentence for murder and willlikely never be released.

A Quebec judge rejected Homolka's request last Wednesdayfor a publication ban that would prevent the media fromreporting her whereabouts.

"The thought of being relentlessly pursued, hunted down andfollowed when I won't have any protection makes me fear for mylife," she said in an affidavit.

On Monday, her lawyers were back in court seeking anotherinjunction against the media, but it was again rejected,according to CTV News.

But Homolka will not easily melt into obscurity given herpast and the public's morbid fascination with the baby-facedkiller who saw herself more as a victim than a predator.

"People are always going to interpret what I do as bad.They'll pick out one bad thing from a sea of good and I'll bejudged on that," she wrote in prison correspondence that waspublished in a newspaper.


Since Thursday, reporters and camera crews have staked outthe gates of the prison, filming departing vehicles ahead ofthe Monday expiry of the five-day window for her release.

But her departure on Monday seemed to go largely undetectedby reporters on site.

Last month, lawyers for the Ontario government persuaded aQuebec court to impose rare restrictions on Homolka after sheis released from prison.

She must keep police apprised on a weekly basis of herwhereabouts and travel plans, and undergo psychiatric therapyto properly accept responsibility for her role in the killings.

She is expected to take up residence in Quebec.