Tammy Lyn Homolka (January 1, 1975 – December 24, 1990) was the younger sister and victim of Canadian murderer Karla Homolka and her partner, Paul Bernardo. On 24 December 1990, less than two weeks before Tammy's 16th birthday, Karla Homolka and her fiancé, Paul Bernardo, plied Tammy with alcoholic drinks laced with Halcion, a sedative. When she fell unconscious, the two raped her. Tammy became sick while sedated and died. After failed attempts to revive her, Karla covered up evidence of the assault and called an ambulance. Her official cause of death was listed as choking to death on her own vomit, and was believed at the time to have been an accident. After Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were arrested for the murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, Tammy Homolka's body was exhumed on July 20, 1993.
Tammy Homolka grew up in the city of St. Catharines, Ontario. She was known for her athletic abilities and she avidly participated in a variety of sports, including track and field, cross country running, and soccer, with soccer being her favourite. She was a Grade 10 student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in St. Catharines at the time of her death.
From the beginning of their relationship, Karla noticed that Bernardo had taken a particular liking to Tammy. He would often pay special attention to her, and even went so far as to have his girlfriend pretend to be her sister during sex. In other instances, he would secretly watch Tammy undress from outside the Homolka house, masturbating as he watched.
In September 1990, as their relationship progressed, Bernardo started to press Karla to allow him to have sex with Tammy. She eventually conceded and obtained a bottle of Halothane (a liquid general anesthetic) from the veterinary clinic where she worked, that would later be used to sedate Tammy during the rape. On December 24, 1990, Tammy was drugged with a combination of Halcion and alcohol, passing out in the family room in the basement of the Homolka house. Tammy's parents and sister Lori were upstairs asleep at the time.
They filmed the entire rape, taking turns holding the camera, using the Halothane to keep Tammy unconscious.
Three weeks after Tammy Homolka's death, Karla and Bernardo filmed a video called "The Fireside Chat" within the Homolka residence. The video was eventually viewed as court evidence. It started in the basement recreation room and at some point the filming moved into Tammy's bedroom. While they were in the recreation room, Karla admitted to Bernardo that she enjoyed Bernardo's rape of Tammy. She also stated in the video that she would like to leave a rose at Tammy's grave site because it had touched Bernardo on his genitals. When they were in Tammy's bedroom, Karla dressed up in Tammy's clothing as well as acted just like her sister. They eventually had sex on Tammy's bed.
In 2001, the magazine Elm Street published an article in which it implied that forensic evidence proved that Tammy's death was not an accident and that her sister had deliberately administered an overdose of Halothane. The magazine described Karla as a "malignant narcissist" who was so incensed by her fiance's attraction to her sister that she took steps to remove Tammy from his affections permanently.
Implications of Karla Homolka's plea bargain
On February 26, 1993, the defence lawyer and the Crown began negotiations on a 10-year sentence for Karla, in exchange for her testimony and full disclosure of all crimes. At the time, the role she and Bernardo had played in Tammy's death was not known. When she was admitted for psychiatric assessment in March 1993, Karla confessed in a letter to her parents about her involvement in Tammy's death.
On July 20, 1993, Tammy's body was exhumed. Inside her casket was a wedding invitation for Karla and Bernardo's wedding, as well as some notes. Other members of the Homolka family asked that the items be removed before Tammy's reburial.
When the plea agreement was finalized, the initial 10-year sentence was still intact, with two years added for Tammy's death. Karla was officially sentenced to 12 years on July 6, 1993.
- Invisible Darkness by Stephen Williams
- Deadly Innocence by Scott Burnside
In 2006 the American film titled Karla premiered. It was told from Karla Homolka's point of view. In the film, Tammy Homolka's death is featured in one of the scenes. Laura Prepon portrayed Karla, Misha Collins portrayed Paul Bernardo and Cherilyn Hayres portrayed Tammy Homolka.
In Pop Culture
The premiere episode of Wicked Attraction, a television show which focuses on couples who commit heinous crimes, focuses on Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. The episode, entitled "The Perfect Couple" first aired on August 7, 2008.
- Jeff Hutcheson (Mar 16, 2001). "Tammy Homolka's death no accident, writer suggests". CTV.
- Tammy Homolka at Find a Grave
- Trish Wood (April 2001). "The Case Against Karla". Elm Street Magazine.