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Karla Leanne Homolka (born May 4, 1970), also known as Leanne Teale, is a Canadian serial killer who, with her first husband Paul Bernardo, raped and murdered at least three minors. She attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the 1991 and 1992 rape-murders of two Ontario teenage girls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, as well as the rape and death of her sister Tammy.
Homolka and Bernardo were arrested in 1993. In 1995, Bernardo was convicted of the two teenagers' murders and received life in prison and a dangerous offender designation, the full maximum sentence allowed in Canada. During the 1993 investigation, Homolka stated to investigators that Bernardo had abused her and that she had been an unwilling accomplice to the murders. As a result, she struck a deal with prosecutors for a reduced prison sentence of 12 years in exchange for a guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter. Homolka scored 5/40 on the Psychopathy Checklist, in contrast to Bernardo's 35/40.
However, videotapes of the crimes surfaced after the plea bargain and demonstrated that she was a more active participant than she had claimed. As a result, the deal that she had struck with prosecutors was dubbed in the Canadian press the "Deal with the Devil". Public outrage about Homolka's plea deal continued until her high-profile release from prison in 2005.
Following her release from prison, she settled in the province of Quebec, where she married again. She briefly lived in the Antilles and Guadeloupe but by 2014 was back in Canada and living in Quebec.
During the summer of 1990, according to Karla, Bernardo became attracted to her younger sister, Tammy Homolka. Homolka hatched a plan to frame Bernardo for drugging Tammy, seeing an opportunity to "minimise risk, take control, and keep it all in the family." In July, "according to Bernardo's testimony, he and Karla served Tammy a spaghetti dinner spiked with Valium stolen from Karla's workplace. Bernardo raped Tammy for about a minute before she started to wake up."
Homolka later stole the anesthetic agent halothane from the Martindale Veterinarian Clinic where she worked. On December 23, 1990, after a Homolka family Christmas party, Bernardo and Karla Homolka drugged Tammy Homolka with the animal tranquilizers. Bernardo and Karla Homolka raped Tammy while she was unconscious. Tammy later choked on her own vomit and died. Before calling 911, they hid the evidence, redressed Tammy, who had a chemical burn on her face, and moved her into her basement bedroom. A few hours later, Tammy was pronounced dead at St. Catharines General Hospital without having regained consciousness. Bernardo told police he tried to revive her, but failed, and her death was ruled an accident.
On May 18, 1993, Homolka was arraigned on two counts of manslaughter. Bernardo was charged with two counts each of kidnapping, unlawful confinement, aggravated sexual assault and first-degree murder as well as one of dismemberment. Coincidentally, that day Bernardo's original lawyer, Ken Murray, first watched the rape videotapes. Murray decided to hold onto the tapes and use them to impeach Homolka on the stand during Bernardo's trial. Neither Murray nor Carolyn MacDonald, the other lawyer on the defence team, were deeply experienced in criminal law and it was only over time that their ethical dilemma showed itself also to be a potentially criminal matter, for they were withholding evidence. By October 1993, he and his law partners had studied over 4,000 documents from the Crown. Murray has said he was willing to hand over the tapes to the Crown if they had let him cross-examine Homolka in the anticipated preliminary hearing. The hearing was never held.
On July 4, 2005, Homolka was released from Ste-Anne-des-Plaines prison. She granted her first interview to Radio-Canada television, speaking entirely in French. Homolka told interviewer Joyce Napier that she chose Radio Canada because she had found it to be less sensationalist than the English-language media. She said that she had likewise found Quebec to be more accepting of her than Ontario. She affirmed that she would be living within the province but refused to say where. She said she had paid her debt to society legally, but not emotionally or socially. She refused to speak about her alleged relationship with Jean-Paul Gerbet, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines. During the interview, her solicitor, Sylvie Bordelais, sat beside Homolka; however, she did not speak. Homolka's mother was also present but off-screen, and was acknowledged by Homolka.