9 Of The Most Horrific Crimes Committed On Christmas

Published December 17, 2022
Updated December 19, 2022

The Brutal Murder Of Tammy Homolka By The “Ken And Barbie Killers”

Paul Bernardo And Karla Homolka

PostmediaPaul Bernardo and Karla Homolka on their wedding day, six months after they raped and killed Karla’s 15-year-old sister.

Christmas is a time for family. But Karla Homolka took that to a sick extreme when she agreed to help her fiancé, serial rapist Paul Bernardo, assault and ultimately kill her 15-year-old sister Tammy on Dec. 23, 1990.

By that point, Bernardo was known to police in Ontario, Canada, as the “Scarborough rapist,” though he had not yet been identified. Bernardo had raped or attempted to rape at least 19 women when he met Karla during his spree, and she indulged many of his dark desires.

But after the couple got engaged, Bernando confessed that he was bored with their sex life and disappointed that Karla hadn’t been a virgin when they met. So, the couple came up with a twisted solution. They decide to rape Karla’s younger sister, Tammy, during their family’s 1990 Christmas party.

Tammy Homolka

Jim Rankin/Toronto Star via Getty ImagesTammy Homolka was raped and killed a few days before Christmas in 1990 by her sister Karla and Karla’s fiancé.

Karla, who worked in a veterinary clinic, spiked Tammy’s drink with animal anesthetics. When the rest of the family went to sleep, she held a cloth soaked with Halothane over Tammy’s mouth and then took turns raping her with Paul, a brutal sexual assault that was captured on the couple’s video camera.

Though the couple had not meant to commit a Christmas murder, Tammy choked on her vomit and died. At the hospital, her death was ruled accidental as the result of alcohol poisoning. And Paul and Karla, not considered suspects in her death, went on to rape and kill again.

Between 1991 and 1993, they raped and murdered at least two young girls before Karla decided to turn Paul in after he beat her. The media swiftly dubbed the attractive, blond couple as the “Ken and Barbie Killers,” and their case captivated Canadians. But though Paul was sentenced to life in prison, Karla made a deal with the prosecution and was released in 2005.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a double degree in American History and French.