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

Noisy train whistles to stay at Harrison Mills rail crossing

A majority of residents didn’t want to pay for part of the $390K replacement crossing

HOMEGROWN: Family traditions key to Agassiz dairy farm

Julaine and Johannes Treur are keeping family traditions alive at their organic dairy farm

Vancouver TheatreSports finishes off Harrison’s Season of Performing Arts

Vancovuer TheatreSports will be performing in Harrison on May 4

Job market to remain tight in coming years: report

Conference Board of Canada predicts region’s unemployment rate to remain below five per cent

Chilliwack driver busted with heroin after nodding off behind the wheel

29-year-old man from Vancouver facing possible charges

Harrison Mills band holding contest to decide name

The local cover band will be announcing the winner at a concert on May 3

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

Mayors, First Nations chiefs, urge ‘immediate action’ on new Massey crossing

Joint letter asks province to move up timeline, consider only eight-lane tunnel options

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

Amber alert issued for 5-year-old Ontario boy

Ethan Montes is believed to be in the company of his mother, 47-year-old Juliet Mohammed

Most Read