The most reviled woman in Canada is set to walk out of prison today, facing death threats and rage from a public still bitter that she only served 12 years for the rapes and murders of teenage girls, including her younger sister.
Karla Homolka is so frightened someone might harm her that her lawyers are demanding an unprecedented media blackout on her release and subsequent whereabouts, a move that will be challenged by media attorneys in a Montreal courtroom today.
Many in this French-speaking city believe Homolka has done her time and should be given her second chance at life, which she got after making a deal with the state in exchange for testifying against her ex-husband.
Dubbed "English-Canada's monster," by Quebecois, the 35-year-old former veterinarian assistant who grew up near Niagara Falls has said she intends to settle in Montreal, hoping for anonymity amid those perhaps less familiar with her crimes.
Those offenses, when made public through her testimony at her ex-husband's murder trial in 1995 and from homemade videotapes of their sexual killing sprees, knocked the wind out of the nation.
Canadians, unaccustomed to the grisly crimes they typically attribute to their neighbors to the south, felt as if they had lost a touch of innocence.
Renewed interest in the killer, who now calls herself Karla Teale, has reached beyond Canadian borders. The Internet search engine Google reports Homolka was among their top 10 search subjects last week, just after Michael Jackson and Angelina Jolie.
Homolka was convicted of manslaughter in 1993 and given the relatively light sentence of 12 years for her role in the rapes and murders of Ontario teenagers Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. In return, she agreed to testify against ex-husband Paul Bernardo, a Toronto bookkeeper serving a life term in an Ontario prison for two counts of first-degree murder.
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