Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set to make parole pitch today

Paul Bernardo, whose very name became synonymous with sadistic sexual perversion, is expected to plead for release on Wednesday.

Convicted rapist and killer Paul Bernardo is due to plead for release today.

The 54-year-old Bernardo is expected to argue at a parole hearing that he has improved himself during his 25 years behind bars.

The designated dangerous offender has been eligible for parole since February.

His defence lawyer has said his client plans to take full responsibility for his crimes and express remorse.

A lawyer for the families of his victims says he won’t comment until after the hearing in eastern Ontario.

Bernardo was convicted in 1995 of the sadistic murders of two teenaged girls and numerous rapes. He was given life without parole eligibility until he had served 25 years since his arrest in early 1993.

Bernardo’s parole hearing at the Bath Institution is expected to attract numerous observers, most of whom will have to watch via a videolink.

The hearing also comes almost two weeks after the prosecution withdrew a weapon-possession charge against him related to the discovery of a screw attached to a ballpoint pen handle in his cell.

Defence lawyer Fergus (Chip) O’Connor did not respond Tuesday to a request to discuss his client’s bid for freedom. However, at the aborted weapon trial this month, he outlined the pitch Bernardo was expected to make to the National Parole Board panel.

“He’s as horrified as you and I are at what he did,” O’Connor said. “I expect that he will take full responsibility, express remorse, and he appears to be sincere in that.”

Related: Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set for parole bid after 25 years in prison

Related: Convicted killer Paul Bernardo faces weapons possession charge

Bernardo has made a “determined effort not to make up for what he’s done — for that can never be done — but to improve himself” and has been of good behaviour in “very hard conditions” of confinement, O’Connor said.

Among his crimes, 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.

Dubbed the “Scarborough rapist,” Bernardo also tortured and killed Kristen French, 15, of St. Catharines, Ont., in April 1992 after keeping her captive for three days.

Tim Danson, long-time lawyer for the girls’ families, said he would not be making any public comments on Bernardo’s parole bid until after the hearing.

The odds are against Bernardo’s early release given his crimes. Overall, authorities say only three in 10 inmates win parole on first try.

“Not all lifers will be granted parole,” Correctional Service Canada notes. “Some may never be released…because they continue to represent too great a risk to reoffend.”

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna artist featured on furniture

Shandra Smith’s work is now available on credenzas

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

Man pinned under metal tank in West Kelowna

Emergency personnel are on the scene

Mudslide sends debris into Highway

Highway 33 near Joe Rich had mud spilled on the highway from the slide

Kangaroo Creek Farm hops into season

Lake Country’s popular tourist site has opened its doors for the season

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Sock Hop aims to send dancers back to another time

Writers’ Festival fundraiser in Salmon Arm springs into step for another year

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Penticton SAR team helicopters injured climber to safety

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Kootnekoff: R v. Sidhu, was he asleep?

Driver in Humboldt crash wasn’t distracted at time of collision with bus,… Continue reading

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Most Read