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Bernardo’s Wife Testifies She Saw Him Strangle Two Teens

June 19, 1995

TORONTO (AP) _ Karla Homolka watched her ex-husband, Paul Bernardo, strangle two schoolgirls with a black electrical cord in the couple’s bedroom, she told his murder trial today.

It was the most sentational testimony so far in Canada’s most gruesome murder trial in recent memory.

In a flat tone, the 25-year-old Homolka said she was in the master bedroom of their St. Catharines, Ontario, home when Leslie Mahaffy, 14, and Kristen French, 15, were killed.

``I was in the same room watching,″ she said, adding that both girls had been beaten by Bernardo as well as raped.

She glanced only briefly at the 30-year-old Bernardo, whom she hasn’t seen since she left him in January 1993. Bernardo looked down when his former wife was brought up to the witness stand, raising his eyes just once.

Homolka, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the deaths, is serving a 12-year prison term. Bernardo faces two counts of first-degree murder and seven other charges relating to Mahaffy and French in this trial.

During questioning from prosecutor Ray Houlahan, Homolka admitted she helped abduct French and sexually assault and confine both girls, but she denied helping to kidnap Mahaffy in June 1991.

``I knew that it was a possibility he might kidnap someone, but not that it would be Leslie Mahaffy,″ she testified.

Justice Patrick LeSage today cautioned jurors about evaluating the testimony of Homolka.

``You should remember she is involved, she participated _ on her own evidence _ in these crimes,″ said LeSage. ``It is a natural inclination for one to lessen their own involvement and to increase the involvement or to point the finger at the other.″

Homolka’s testimony is expected to last at least a week.

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