Nearly 25 years after being convicted of the brutal rape and murder of two girls, Paul Bernardo is about to be eligible to qualify for day parole. But it’s doubtful that he could ever see the light of day again.
The notorious serial killer was due for parole hearings in March and August, but has rescheduled both times. He is now due to appear for parole hearings in October. However, the chances of being granted parole are slim.
“We’re not going to be complacent … but I would be very surprised if he got released,” said said Tim Danson, the lawyer representing the families of two girls Bernardo murdered, to Global News.
Bernardo’s range of crimes and convictions are shocking by the standards of the Canadian criminal justice system. He was convicted of the rape and murders of 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kristen French, and was known to have raped at least a dozen other women during the Scarborough Rapist scare in the late ’80s and early ’90s. His wife at the time, Karla Homolka, was also involved in a number of these incidents.
As a result, he carries first-degree murder convictions and is classified as a dangerous offender, the most severe classification in the justice system. Most people in prison have one or the other, but not both, according to CBC. The first conviction already carries a life sentence, while the second one significantly dims any prospect that he could ever be released on parole.
“He needs correctional services’ support, he needs halfway house support. At this stage I would very much doubt that he has either,” says Michael Mandelcorn, president of the Canadian Prison Law Association, to CBC. He will particularly have a hard time convincing the parole board that he won’t re-offend, given he hasn’t expressed any remorse for the two murders or any of his other actions.
News that he was planning on applying for day parole has also been painful to the families of Mahaffy and French, two girls who he raped and killed in 1995.
“It was — I don’t even know what words to use — but really upsetting for them. It just brings everything back and they have to re-live things,” says Danson to CBC.
Bernardo will be eligible for full parole in 2018.