Canada

'I think it's time I talk,' says Homolka

Karla Homolka has been released from a prison north of Montreal after finishing a 12-year sentence for her role in killing two Ontario teenagers.
Karla Homolka gives an exclusive interview with SRC, the French-language service of the CBC.

Karla Homolka, speaking in French, told the CBC on Monday that she was only a follower and didn't initiate the killings of two Ontario schoolgirls and her own sister.

In an interview conducted less than two hours after she left prison, Homolka told SRC, the CBC's French language service, that she's nervous and anxious to be out of jail for the first time in 12 years. But she decided to give a media interview to explain her side of the story.

"It was a very difficult decision to take because I am a very private person and I don't like to talk about my feelings. I want to keep things to myself but it is not possible. So I decided, with my lawyer, that this was the best thing to do because I don't want to be hounded and I don't want people to think that I am a dangerous person who's going to do something to their children. I think it's time I talk."

For the Canadian public it was the first opportunity to see the convicted killer. Previously she had only been glimpsed in grainy home videos and old photos.

Wearing white trousers and a black top, her hair still blonde and worn long, Homolka seemed rehearsed and at ease as she answered questions for nearly half an hour.

Did she understand why the media was encamped outside the prison?

"Yes and no," said Homolka.

Why give an interview in French?

Because, she said, "each time I watched the news in French and especially Radio-Canada they were not as sensational. They don't shout, it's serious and I want to re-start my life in French."

Homolka also said she has a support system in Quebec and expects to be given an easier time by Quebecers.

Camera crews had been lining the end of that road since June 30, the first day the 35-year-old could have been released under Corrections Canada policy.

A terse note ended the stakeout.

"As of today, Karla Teale/Homolka is no longer under the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service of Canada," the agency said in a brief written statement. "In collaboration with our partners in the criminal justice system, the Correctional Service of Canada has released Karla Teale/Homolka."

Homolka said escaping the media outside the prison wasn't a problem. "We were hidden. [Her lawyer] Ms. [Sylvie] Bordelais had a plan and we followed it and we were not followed and we came here without any problems."

Homolka and her ex-husband, Paul Bernardo, kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy in the early 1990s.

Homolka co-operated with prosecutors to help them convict Bernardo, who was at first thought to have forced his wife into helping him commit the crimes.

Videotapes that later surfaced in the couple's home in St. Catharines, Ont., showed her to be have been a willing partner, however.

They also revealed that Homolka twice gave drugs to her younger sister Tammy, 15, so that Bernardo could rape her. The teenager choked on her own vomit and died after the second assault, two days before Christmas in 1990.

The new evidence led Homolka's plea-bargain deal on manslaughter charges to be called, "the Deal with the Devil."

In advance of her release, lawyers acting on Homolka's behalf appeared in a Montreal court Monday to ask once more for a ban on media coverage of her whereabouts and activities.

A similar request was denied late last week, but the lawyers said they had new evidence to present to suggest Homolka's life will be in danger if journalists are allowed to report where she is living and what she looks like.

Lawyers for news organizations said they should be allowed to cross-examine Homolka on the validity of her fears. The judge again refused to restrict the coverage, at least for now.

With prison and Crown officials warning that she is at a risk to commit other crimes after her release, a Quebec judge put strict restrictions on her future freedom during a court hearing in June.

Homolka confirmed in her interview that she intends to live in Quebec.