Bernardo police interview video released to media
Published Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:19PM EDT
Paul Bernardo is fidgety, expressive and clearly has a lot to get off his chest.
That much is clear from a videotaped interview between the convicted killer and police detectives.
The tape, released to the media Tuesday on the orders of Justice David McCombs, runs 31 minutes long. But for more than half of the interview, Bernardo can't help but give police a piece of his mind.
Before he answers any questions about the disappearance of Elizabeth Bain -- the reason why detectives are questioning him in the first place in June 2007 -- he insists they talk about the way his statements have been treated in the past.
He is clearly upset that police said he claimed responsibility for crimes he never committed.
"If they didn't have the information, then why didn't they come in and get the information?" Bernardo asks. "Either I'm a liar or I'm not a liar."
He is also upset that Peel Regional Police never asked his ex-wife and co-conspirator Karla Homolka to take a polygraph test.
Homolka eventually signed a plea bargain that set her free after 12 years in prison in exchange for her testimony against Bernardo. Bernardo has said Homolka lied about her role in the killings and officials never bothered to make sure she was telling the truth.
In the tape, Bernardo appears agitated, constantly shifting in his swivel chair, rotating it from side to side as the detectives speak.
When Det. Brad Hoover and Const. Darlene Coulis ask him questions, he looks away -- at the sky, at the ground, at a spot on the wall.
When he answers, he looks them in the eye and speaks quickly in a high-pitched voice, using his hands constantly to illustrate his points.
"I sat there month after month after month and no one came," he says on the tape, banging his hand on the table three times for emphasis. "I turn on the TV in September, purely to clear the air, that Paul Bernardo was this crazy liar to police....Now you guys are saying that you didn't have enough information."
He rolls his eyes when police speak, grimacing openly when they say his complaints are out of the jurisdiction of the Toronto police service. Often, he shakes his head in disbelief and laughs incredulously.
Detectives Hoover and Coulis are tiptoeing around their subject, always polite, always trying to answer his concerns.
They are there because lawyers for Robert Baltovich, who was Bain's boyfriend at the time she disappeared, has pointed to Bernardo as an alternate suspect in the murder trial of their client.
Baltovich was eventually acquitted of the case. Bernardo has never been charged in the crime and Bain's disappearance remains unsolved.
Det. Hoover reminds Bernardo at the beginning of the tape that their interview is not an interrogation. He does not have to answer their questions and all the answers he does give are voluntary, he tells Bernardo.
"I have some questions that were given to me to ask you in relation to the Robert Baltovich matter. Uhm, before we do that I just want say you understand obviously the importance of telling the truth and the consequences potentially of someone who lies to the police and not telling the truth?" Hoover asks.
Bernardo, who is wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and wears his hair in the same bushy style as he did 15 years ago, can't help but be sarcastic.
"I think we just covered that," Bernardo responds, flashing his wide smile. "Actually I was referring to you guys telling the truth."
Bernardo answers their questions with indifference, a shrug of the shoulders, a shake of head.
"Did you have anything to do with her disappearance?" Hoover asks.
"No," Bernardo says, leaning forward on the boardroom table, his hands crossed in front of him and resting on the table. He doesn't look up when he answers.
"Did you know Elizabeth Bain?"
"Not that I know of," he says, with a shrug and a wave of his hand, again not looking up from the table.
"Had you ever met her?"
"I'm going to answer that one with an I don't remember because if I did, I don't remember," he said speaking in a low voice, looking up. "I know an ex-girlfriend, which I can think -- but I don't know."
But Bernardo becomes less agitated as Hoover continues to ask him questions about Bain. He leans back against his chair folding his hands on his lap, letting the detectives speak and answering them with short, concise answers.
He smiles and shakes his head when they ask him if he remembers when it was that he saw Back to the Future 3.
He even jokes around with the detective when he gets a date wrong.
"That's what happens when you lock a guy up for 15 years -- he gets a little mixed up," he said with a light chuckle. "Your memory gets fussy."
Justice David McCombs ruled Tuesday morning that there is no need to place any restrictions on the videotape, even though the Crown argued for the judge to impose restrictions on its release.