Research Paper On Paul Bernardo Forensic Science Research Paper

1070 words - 5 pages

The heinous crimes of Paul Bernardo and his wife Karla Homolka were among the most horrifying and controversial in Canadian history. Paul Bernardo was labeled, as the ‘Scarborough Rapist’ after multiple sexual assaults were committed in, and around the city of Scarborough, east of Toronto in early 1987. These assaults took place on young women whom Paul would stalk late at night after getting off the bus, all fitting a physically similar description; white female, 15-21 years old, with a small physical stature. Within this time frame, 23-year-old Paul Bernardo met 17-year-old Karla Homolka and together, in the 1990’s would proceed to commit the multiple kidnappings, sexual assaults, tortures and murders of Leslie Mahaffy, Kristen French, and Karla’s younger sister, Tammy. In November of 1988, the Toronto Metropolitan Police formed a task force committed to the arrest of the Scarborough rapist. There was no significant lead until May of 1990, when one of the rape victims was able to provide a very specific detailed description of her attacker. From this, a composite picture was developed. After publishing this composite, the police had received several responses indicating that Paul Bernardo fit the description of the Scarborough Rapist. Investigators of the Niagara Regional Police later questioned Paul twice in July of 1990. Although they were satisfied with the idea that he was not a likely suspect, samples of Paul’s hair, blood and saliva were taken as a matter of routine for DNA testing against specimens found on the victim’s clothing. Within the 230 samples also taken from other suspects, only 5, including that of Paul’s, fit the blood factors of the attacker. Further investigation was halted when Paul moved back to the Niagara Region, and the rapes had stopped. It was reopened in 1991 when Leslie Mahaffy’s remains were discovered, dismembered in Lake Gibson. This had been Paul and Karla’s second murder, following Karla’s sister Tammy. In April of 1992, their third and final murder victim, Kristen French, was discovered in a ditch in Burlington. When final DNA tests were performed in February 1993, Bernardo was proven guilty and was arrested for the murders and rapes of these girls.
In the Paul Bernardo case, the review of work was done by local and provincial law enforcement and forensic agencies. During this investigation, DNA testing, as well as forensic search methods were conducted. In 1990, the police took semen DNA samples from three girls that had been raped and assaulted by the Scarborough Rapist. These samples were to be used in comparison to Paul’s DNA, which were not obtained until 3 years later. During this time, following the murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, police searched Bernardo’s home, finding a series of evidence linking him to these crimes. There were written descriptions of every rape, books and videos on sexual deviation, pornography and serial killers, as well as the recordings of each one of...

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