The Paul Bernardo Trial – Part 1

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For four months in 1995, I sat inside a Toronto courtroom covering the trial of Canada’s most notorious killer.  Paul Bernardo was accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing two teenage girls.  With the help of his wife Karla Homolka, he video-taped the brutal assaults on 14 year old Leslie Mahaffy and 15 year old Kristen French.  The graphic videos showing the brutal assaults of the girls would be used as evidence at the trial.

Using my notes, tapes and memories from the trial, I have put together this seven part series on the trial which took place at the same time as the OJ Simpson trial which was happening in Los Angeles.

Part one takes a look at jury selection for the Bernardo trial.  The intense media coverage of the case turned even the normally mundane process of selecting jurors into a lengthy and complicated process.  It also created a media circus around the courthouse.

The public was eager to learn what really happened to Leslie and Kristen.  Up until now details of the case had been kept secret under a publication ban put in place during Karla Homolka’s court proceedings.  Homolka had pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter in a plea agreement with the crown and was given a 12 year sentence.  In exchange she agreed to be the crown’s star witness and testify against Bernardo.

 

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Paul Bernardo with his wife Karla Homolka

 

 

 

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