'Crushing and debilitating' pain: Paul Bernardo parole board hears from victims' mothers
BATH, Ont. -- Serial rapist and killer Paul Bernardo pleaded unsuccessfully for a second chance on Wednesday, arguing low self-esteem drove him to commit the sexually twisted crimes he now rues and that he no longer poses any threat to the public.
Bernardo made his pitch for parole before a two-member panel, which also heard impassioned pleas from the parents of two of his murder victims that he be kept behind bars.
The panel did not buy his arguments. They took about 30 minutes to turn Bernardo down for both day and full parole. Their written reasons are expected in a few weeks.
Bernardo was convicted in 1995 of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault among other offences. His crimes over several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, some of which he videotaped, had sparked widespread terror and revulsion.
Among his brutal acts, Bernardo and his then-wife Karla Homolka kidnapped, tortured and killed Leslie Mahaffy, 14, of Burlington, Ont., in June 1991 at their home in Port Dalhousie, Ont., before dismembering her body, encasing her remains in cement and dumping them in a nearby lake.
Mahaffy's mother, Debbie Mahaffy, described the crushing pain the parole hearing had rekindled, saying the "unspeakable and brutally sadistic acts" Bernardo committed defied description.
Bernardo also tortured and killed Kristen French, 15, of St. Catharines, Ont., in April 1992 after keeping her captive for three days. Kristen's mother, Donna French, argued Bernardo should never see freedom again.
The mothers of Kristen French and Debbie Mahaffy also submitted victim impact statements, which can be read below: