It’s not often that we hear the tale of a married serial killing couple, but it does happen. Serial killing is often portrayed as a lonely existence – a drifter picking up hitchhikers on a doomed, lonely road.
But there have been occasions where two indulge their sick habits together, hiding behind the veneer of comfortable suburbia.
Perhaps the most famous of these twisted couples in recent years has been Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka’s case.
Dubbed “The Ken and Barbie Killers” by the press for their excellent looks, the Canadian couple’s spree of murders left the country stunned.
But the details of the case are somewhat chaotic, in part due to Homolka’s attempts to portray herself as a victim, which led to a much lighter sentence than the public felt justified.
10 A Nice Kid Undisturbed By Horrific Events
Paul Bernado grew up in the city of Toronto, the Scarborough area. Paul was only nine when his father molested his sister, and his childhood is filled with similar horrors. Despite this, Paul was a happy child.
They were a comfortably well-off, middle-class family. Things took a turn when his mother revealed to him, at 16, that he was the result of an affair.
After that, he started regularly referring to her as “whore” and “slob.” He began beating women he picked up in bars while at the University of Toronto, Scarborough.
Paul was a salesman known for his adeptness at persuasion. Like many business people in the 80s, he subscribed to a Wall Street-style corporate assassin strategy.
He would study books and tapes – the kind sold on infomercials hosted by get-rich-quick motivational speakers. But he came to worship a much more perverse piece of pop culture: Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho.
The satirical novel took the concept of making a killing in the market literally, but Ellis’s wit was lost on Bernardo. He studied it like a Bible.
It was that same salesmanship that he applied to meet women in bars. He and his friends practiced pick-up moves in bars.
9 A Violent Childhood Attracted Karla
Karla’s upbringing wasn’t nearly as pleasant or seemingly ordinary on the surface. Her father, a Czechoslovakian immigrant and the traveling salesman, was an alcoholic who would regularly beat her mother.
Karla was an asthmatic, and witnessing the violence at home sent her to the hospital on many occasions.
But as early as her teen years, she showed a gentle side. Her love of animals led her to work in a pet shop. Her teachers liked her but noted that she could be pushy around her peers.
She was known to enjoy scaring her friends. As she got older, she traded her Nancy Drew books for readings on the Occult.
At 17, she met Paul Bernardo. They had sex the first night they were together and quickly learned they shared an interest in sadomasochistic sex.