Karla Homolka: From Convicted Killer to Anonymous Mother

Shadlee Rahman is a research assistant for the Terry Project Podcast–the theme of rebranding raised brought back some history.

Very few crimes, if any, are as heinous as killing another human being. It calls into question the whole point of citizens living together in peace and harmony, and yet, wherever we look today, there are instances of such happenings,.

 Karla Homolka was one of the convicted criminals who belonged to the first group. She and her partner at the time, Paul Bernardo, were convicted of killing of manslaughter following the rape-murders of two Canadian teenagers, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.. Generally, such a conviction would result in a life sentence in Canada, which is 25 years, but, as it happened, she left jail a free woman after only twelve years and is now living with her husband and children (ironic that it was the rape-murder of two young girls that she was convicted for) under a different name.

The story of Karla Homolka raises different questions. How did she get away with a reduced sentence after being convicted of such a heinous crime? Do her now-neighbors know her real identity? What does her changed identity tell us about personal rebranding?

Homolka stated during her 1993 murder investigation that Paul Bernardo, her partner, had abused her and forced her to take part in the killings. As a result, she got a reduced sentence of twelve years in exchange for a guilty plea, while Bernardo got the maximum of 25 years. Ultimately, they gave her a choice between being convicted of two first degree murders and manslaughter or choosing the twelve year plea bargain on the premise that she had been an unwilling accomplice in the murders. She chose the latter, in a deal which has come to be known as ‘The Deal With The Devil.’

Shockingly, this was not the first time she had done such a thing.. In July 1990, she drugged her sister’s (Tammy Homolka) dinner with anesthetic drug called Valium, after which she fell unconscious, was raped by her and Bernardo and eventually died.

So, the question is, what happened next after she walked out a free woman after serving her 12 years in 2005? Certain restrictions were placed on her in terms of her freedom- no contact with Bernardo, no drugs, etc.. As her release date of 4th July 2005 neared, rumors were rife that she would either relocate to Quebec or go to a country where her case was unknown. Upon her release, she told Radio Canada that she’d be staying in Quebec since she found the media there less sensationalist than in other English speaking provinces. She lived in Montreal until 2007, upon which she moved top Guadalupe so that her children could live a more normal life. She now goes by Leanne Bordelais, and is married top the brother of her former lawyer.

The noted journalist Paula Todd, who tracked her down and spoke to her in her home in the Caribbean, confirms all of this in a new book. They spoke on the 5th of May last year, and Homolka was visibly shocked at being tracked down, and her defensive nature showed when the first thing she said to Todd was ‘Why should I trust you? I have everything to lose.’

So, what do her neighbors think of her? As soon as the Todd book came out and his one hour session at Homolka’s home became public, it was met with shock and anxiety by people in Guadeloupe and in her neighborhood. Axelle Kaulanjan-Diamant, a local Guadeloupe journalist, mentioned that even though he doesn’t now much about the Homolka case, he found it disturbing that such a person should be allowed to be near small children. Another person said that she wonders why Homolka would decide to go there and that it was worrisome. However, not everyone has a negative attitude towards her. Clemence, a retired 66 year old woman made the point that she had rebuilt her life and had paid her dues to society. ‘She has rebuilt her life…and I wonder if we should just leave her alone…’

Karla is on listed on the online registry register-her.com as a convicted rapist, although it does not show her current location. Peter Worthington, writing in the Huffington Post, makes the point that now we have let Homolka out, we should leave her alone, and that Todd’s assertions that she felt in danger while she was interviewing Homolka was preposterous and that Todd was using her chance to get in the spotlight.

So, all in all, that is the story of Karla Homolka, from convicted rapist to now living in an isolated island. Whatever we say, we certainly cannot accuse Karla Homolka of having had a life void of controversy and eventfulness. She had rebranded herself and, at least externally, her unwillingness to talk about the past means that she might just have left it behind as well.


To hear some other perspectives on identity and reinvention, check out the Terry Podcast # 24: Rebranding. 

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37 Responses to “Karla Homolka: From Convicted Killer to Anonymous Mother”

  1. don

    Justice would have been Karla receiving the same sentence as her former husband Bernardo but that was not to be and many screw ups by police and the crown have resulted in her soft sentence of 12 years in minimum security cottage housing with only 5 other inmates and no locked doors and money care of the taxpayers to order pizza , what a sweet deal she got staying in that cottage resort setup all those years.

    Ok she did the 12 years and got released and a couple years later headed for Guadeloupe with her three children she had with her former lawyers brother.
    She has left Canada and is unlikely to return so this is a good thing.
    The people in Guadeloupe know about her past because of that reporters little book on her so Karla I am sure will move again to another location on the island were no one knows her. At the end of the day Karla knows what she did and has to live with it and one day will have to tell her children because they will find out eventually when their older.

  2. Dennis

    It’s interesting that Karlas criminal behavior dates back before Barnardo and the odds of her meeting and marrying someone like Barnardo , I mean what are the odds.

    Two sociopaths married to each other.
    And lets be realistic here, they are both sociopaths who don’t have a conscience or compassion or any of these things that separate us from animals.

    Several screwups by the police and the Crown allowed for this dangerous individual to be released back in to society when it is obvious to anyone that she should have joined her ex husband with a life sentence.

    Karla got twelve years and served them so there is nothing more, legally that can be done to her.
    I doubt she will re-offend , but this constant harassment of reporters looking for a story by locating her each time she moves to a new location is getting out of hand now.

    Our legal system Is in serious need of repair and this is were the media should focus their attention to prevent this kind of thing happening and assure guilty parties receive sentences appropriate to their crimes.

    Re-enstating the death penalty would be a good start and not to suggest it be used in every case but it should be an option for certain cases like the murder of police and cases like Barnardo and Karla.

    What both of them did would have warranted hanging prior to 1962 in Canada when we dealt with killers properly.

    Jail was for all other crimes not involving murder.
    Time to leave Karla and her family alone.
    She is not the first to escape justice and she won’t be the last , as long as our judicial system remains as it is in

    Karla got twelve years and that is better than nothing.

  3. none ofbiz

    She shouldn’t be left alone, people should know where this sick murder and rapist is at all times; because in the end it’s the knowledge that she won’t be able to get away with it again is what’s really keeping her in the line of social standards. She defiled, laughed, and killed her 15 year old sister. We need to know about these people because its when they fade away into the shadows is when they try it again, this time they know there mistakes and are better.

  4. teresa

    What a sick nasty bitch wish her nothing but the worst and a soon death !fuck you Canada system drug dealers get harder sentences !that sick twisted fucking monster should not be living in peace someone bring karma to this fucking scum of the earth bitch already !

  5. Terika

    Smh but one day she will find justice. Judgement day.

  6. Jasper

    Never, never, never “leave her alone.” She didn’t just murder her victims, she raped & tortured them to death for days. Fuck Karla or “Emily” or Leanne or whatever she calls herself now. Reporters have a right to track her down & the public has the right to know where she is EVERY SECOND of her worthless life. Only a very sick, demented person would choose to bring 3 kids into their twisted life. Rot in Hell Homolka! That goes without saying.

  7. Kay

    Her children are Noah(8), Aurelie (5) & Loic (3) Bordelais. Husband Thierry Bordelais advertises home ESL/English classes in Les Abymes, Guadeloupe. She lives in Montreal during the summer. Her husbands family cover for her, as do the 7th Day Adventists. Maybe they should be taken out too.

  8. Robin

    I’m watching a show about Paul Barnardo & Karla these Two individuals are sick & twisted. I don’t understand how she is free to walk the streets have children?? Her victims aren’t this is crazy I’ve seen cases that the person has gotten longer for attempted murder. Well what is she going to tell her children when they are old enough to use a computer . This is a different generation kids use computers in kindergarten .

  9. Louise

    I wonder how the families of Kirsten and Lesley feel knowing the woman who murdered their daughters has gone on to have children etc. I expect they don’t have a moment of peace in their lives. Too bad if the sociopath Karla has to move around and feels a bit putout by journalists tracking her down. Her name is Karla and she murdered her own sister then tortured and murdred two more innocent girls then lied to police to save her own skin. At the trial the videos were so graphic seasoned police couldn’t watch. Let’s not ever forget what she did.

  10. ShonaM

    However heinous her crimes were, posting the names of her children here is dead wrong. Please remove the post above that mentions the names of her children. Nothing she did was ever their fault.

  11. Kristin Leslie Tammy Jane

    Karla (or Leanne, or Emily) herself is the one who made her kids’ names public. She posted advice as well as multiple photos of her children openly on babycenter and ravelry until she was outed there for the psycho she is. She always was very careful to hide her face in all photos of course! Those poor children. Growing up is difficult enough when your mom is normal.

  12. WerememberJane

    Posting info about Karla Leane Emilie Emily ‘s children is absolutely the right thing to do. The more people who know of their existence and keep an eye out for them the better. These kids are being raised by a sex offender who victimized children. I think they are safest when under a microscope. When they reach puberty and the age of her victims, they will at most risk then. If you know them now just be a quiet set of eyes and ears and a place of safety. They have a rocky toad ahead as they learn the truth someday. It takes a village.

  13. Jim

    WOW! You posters are vengeful. I am guessing most of you are perfect humans? She did her time! I don’t agree with the short sentence; but she did serve the sentence as handed down by the court. You should focus your energy on the justice system but you are too lazy or don’t really care enough. And what does it say about you when you make such remarks? I thought so.

  14. Jaime

    @Jim – That is a truly ridiculous comment. No one is perfect but I am assuming no one who has posted here has willfully kidnapped, drugged, raped, tortured & murdered anyone, especially children. Leanne Bordelais his her crimes extremely well. She didn’t think she would ever get caught. Now here she is living freely in Montreal (once again). You don’t think this has emboldened her? She is a psychopath who only served 22 years of soft time in what most would consider more of a summer camp than a prison. This woman is the devil incarnate and no, birthing 3 offspring does not make her a better person. It makes her even more hideous. This vile beast who “reinvented” herself as Leanne Bordelais – mother of poor Noah who is 9, Aurelie 6 & Loic 4 – should be in prison serving life on 3 first degree murder charges & God knows how many sexual assaults. Also there is increasing scientific evidence that shows psychopathy is genetic. Whether the individual chooses to act on it like Leanne Bordelais has done, remains to be seen in her own children. Society now has the responsibility of
    not only watching and monitoring her, we now have the responsibility to follow, watch and monitor her 3 children for the rest of heir lives. This woman is selfish beyond belief. No one in her situation who is sound of mind would bring 3 children into her twisted life.

  15. Jaime

    Meant to say she only served 12 years, not 22.

  16. Jaime

    Karla Homolka aka Leanne Teale Bordelais is back living in a suburb outside Montreal, Quebec w/ husband Thierry Bordelais and their 3 children Noah, Aurelie & Loic. Her sister Logan Valentini visits her serial killer sis regularly. I wonder if she ever thinks about how that could have been her instead of Tammy Homolka who was set up to be drugged, raped & murdered in the process. Homolkas are a sick, sick family. It’s just gross that they’re all reproducing like rabbits (Logan Valentini also bred three offspring – they all still live in St Catharines).

  17. DBsantion

    Where exactly does she live? People need to know this information. She should NEVER live a life of anonymity for what she did!

  18. Carrie

    It’s disgusting that she has three children now. I sincerely hope her sickness isn’t passed on. We don’t need more psychopaths in this world. She should have died in prison or by death penalty. Canada has a very pathetic judicial system.

  19. Mandy

    This piece of trailer trash should have gotten the max penalty. She is just a guilty as her trashy ex husband. Not only that, upon release, this whore should have been steralized. F*((*() putrid piece of shit.

  20. Susi

    Take a look at her ssister’s Facebook page. She posted a pic of herself from 1993…..so happy and in love

  21. Sarah

    Where in Montreal did she relocate? I am moving up there for work purposes and feel extremely uncomfortable. Is there any way to find out where she is?
    Also, @Susi – What is her sisters Facebook page?

  22. Julie

    Part of why Paul Bernardo received so much more time was that he was also the Scarborough Rapist. And contrary to one of the previous comments, I don’t think there is any evidence that she did anything criminal begore they met.

    Is she sick? Yes. Should her children’s names be out in the open like this? Absolutely not.

  23. Vik

    Why should she be left alone?? She should be reminded every day that she doesn’t deserve to live, maybe she will kill herself and go to hell finally

  24. Mena

    Evil deeds committed eventually come back to an offender. Retribution lies in wait and at some point it will avenge! “An eye for an eye” and “A tooth for a tooth”

    What goes around…..comes back around! Pay it forward!

  25. Heather

    I’ve been following the recent news on the media about Karla and her family. *KARLA*…you need to relinquish your rights as a parent and let an decent human being raise them. They are going to be tarred and feathered as long as they are under your care. How dare you have children! Selfish on your part to bring three innocent lives into your personal hell. Do your kids a favour …give them to a family that can raise them

  26. j'accuse

    Malignant narcissist with evident pysychopatic pathology. We r not talking about your regular sociopath.
    We r not talking about a young person running with a wrong crowd and losing their freedom longer for non violent crimes.
    The fact that rather than give back to society for the rest of her life for the freedom she bamboozled, but to procreate, shows how out of touch with reality and her crimes and how deep in denial she is.
    Would anyone want the xmas she gave her little sis. And then to carry on with two more teens, wasnt her defense if she didnt participate her life would be at risk. That makes her justifiably innocent. No way. Has anyone thought of all the things they must have done first before they started to video. These were not random actions, everything they recorded was all premediated. How do u think you explain this to the children you birth after such behaviour, who would want a parent like that(seriously) i cannot for the life of me see how those children will grow to be grounded, mentally and emotionally fit contributing members of society. She is the worst kind of narcissist and she will continue to beguile and charm and manipulate take manipulate take manipulate take.
    As for her husband, well, comeon, hes a seriously fucked up dude who was getting off on how this pretty girl he could so easily have was a serious pervert. I wonder what the price of that security was. Bet its steep. And deviant. There is no other logical reasoning.
    Maybe the reason she had kids was so the horrific story wouldnt end, shes an intelligent person. Maybe her design is to create someine more notorious than herself. Hey a narcissist always wants that exceptional attention be it good or bad.
    The thing is she keeps getting away with things, normal people wouldnt. Soft time, books, movies, carribean lifestyles, husband and children. She wasnt held responsible for her sisters death and she should be. Unfortunately our justice system has enabled and validated her exoneration of any true wrongdoing. Shes in a fantasyland.
    In the words of charlie sheen, shes winning. (And that is truly frightening, watch your kids because one of her kids will snap out, unless you believe shes broken the cycle of deviant pathological behaviour. I dont, NFW!!
    Thanku for allowing me to get that out of me, it has been driving me nuts.

  27. only in canada?

    As soon as I heard that homolka had been outed back home in canada, I said not everybody is gonna even know who she is.
    Consider demographics of Canada:
    how many immigrants arrived after 1993
    how many canadians who were around at the time of bernardo/homolka have died
    how many were born after 1993
    how many were small children in 1993
    Passage of time is karla leanne emily homolka bernardo bourdelais’ best friend
    Guess she miscalculated how many of us remember
    Guess she miscalculated power of internet
    She took up knitting and posted many pics of her kids online wearing her wonderful knitted creations
    She chatted on parenting boards
    She operated an online baby goods business
    Many people knew where she has been all the time since she walked out of prison
    Paula Todd had the resources to gather up all this online info provided by homolka herself and shared by internet savvy people and ran with it
    Paula Todd has enhanced her credentials and reputation
    I really wonder who finally outed homolka this time
    They’ve always known exactly where she has been and is
    Why the 2 year wait?
    Maybe they just wanted her to get comfortable

  28. Kim Lee

    Karla Homolka aka Leanne Teale Bordelais was outed last month as she was living/hiding in a Montreal neighbourhood – Chateauguay. And it was discovered two of her three children Noah and Aurelie Bordelais attend Centennial Park Public School. Karla currently resides (with her arrogant husband Thierry Bordelais who coldly told neighbours THEY could simply “move” if they didn’t like the fact that his serial killer wife lives in their neighbourhood) at 16 Beauchamp St, Chateauguay, QC. She is a stay at home wife/mother with her 4 year old son Loic. Looks like Karla’s dreams of domestic bliss have become a reality. Hope someone delivers the justice she has always escaped and desperately deserves.

  29. Jane Doe

    Convicted child rapist and serial killer Karla Homolka (Leanne Teale Bordelais) – 16 Beauchamp Street, Chateauguay QC

  30. Jules

    Serial child rapist, torturer & murderer Leanne Teale Bordelais aka Karla Homolka currently resides at 16 Rue Beauchamp Street, Chateauguay, QC w/ arrogant and entitled husband (whose family supports them, sister is Sylvie Bordelais, a notorious advocate for rapists, child porn like he and pedophiles hence the reason she works for the Elizabeth Fry Society & defended her now sister in law Karla Homolka, removing all restrictions that are normally placed on violent rapists and murderers). Leanne Teale & Thierry Bordelais bred three offspring who attend Centennial Park Public School in Chateauguay – Noah Bordelais 9, Aurelie Bordelais 6 & Loic Bordelais. Citizens have the right to know. This child predator pretends to be an “average” soccer mom type. Her kids allow her access to yours. Citizens have a right to know. Rot in Hell Bordelais/Teale family.

  31. Kim

    Child rapist and serial killer Karla Homolka is Leanne Teale Bordelais. Resides at 16 Rue Beauchamp St in Chateauguay,QC just outside Montreal. Husband is Thierry Bordelais, he is of Afro-Caribbean and French heritage. They have 3 biological children who attend Centennial Park public school Noah who is 9, Aurelie 6 & Loic 4. They are under the full time care of their child sex predator, sadist and murderer mother. They should be taken away and re-homed by Canadian Child Protective Services.

  32. Jaime

    I can’t believe someone hasn’t taken the trash out yet. It needs to happen.

    16 Rue Beauchamp
    Chateauguay, QC J6J 2K4

    Leanne Teale Bordelais (Karla Homolka)

  33. Shona

    Vigilante justice is wrong. It’s very unlikely that Karla will re-offend, as she knows that she is being watched. It’s time to heal from this and move on. She has served her time in prison.

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  35. Cinthia

    These people leave comments to harass karla homolka or who ever they please they like to gain up on someone and have something to say mean about someone.they like to say crazy things about her children nasty things about them.stock her and her family.but the funny thing is they can say things about her children and it’s okay.hmm makes you wonder I knew since I was young none of these unforgiving crybabies were innocent.they just couldn’t take the fact karma came on them for not helping other people when they were hurt.and the funny thing is Kirsten French father has always had quite the mouth.he wishes flesh eating diseases on people and says terrible things about karla homeless children.i knew from early on there was something wrong with this family.because people say you only get trouble if you look for it.an d the french family and friends seem to look for it.

  36. KERI W

    This evil being deserves nothing less than the death penalty., public hanging. She kidnapped, raped, tortured and assisted the murders of CHILDREN. she should registered as a Pedophile and her whereabouts fully none.
    When all this started She and her peice of crap husband were living with HER Parents !!!! So her pathetic Paul made Me do it excuse doesn’t gel. All she had to do was tell her parents… but no she willing married and moved into a home with him to continue their horror show. The ONLY people that can decide whether she deserves forgiveness is the families of their victims . They are still suffering, where is their justice… where is their children’s justice…12 years cuz she lied bold faced to the police, struck her deal. It was after that , when the sickening tapes were found hidden in their home, when the truth was revealed, she was a willing participant , raping , torturing and murdering these kids. No wonder people want to take the law into their own hands

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