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

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

Houston property assessments nudge up

District now working on 2019 spending plans

Houston youth turns himself in after arrest warrant issued for failing to appear in court

The youth is expected to plead guilty or not guilty in January

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Truck hauling compressed gas for ‘virtual pipeline’ crashes on B.C. highway

Driver charged and highway closed for nine hours - containers did not rupture

Most Read