MONTREAL (AP) – The most reviled woman in Canada is set to walk out of prison Monday, facing death threats and rage from a public still bitter that she only served 12 years for the rapes and murders of teenage girls, including her younger sister.

Karla Homolka is so frightened someone might harm her that her lawyers are demanding an unprecedented media blackout on her release and subsequent whereabouts, a move that will be challenged by media attorneys in a Montreal courtroom on Monday.

Many in this French-speaking city believe Homolka has done her time and should be given her second chance at life, which she got after making a deal with the state in exchange for testifying against her ex-husband.

Dubbed “English-Canada’s monster,” by Quebecois, the 35-year-old former veterinarian assistant who grew up near Niagara Falls has said she intends to settle in Montreal, hoping for anonymity amid those perhaps less familiar with her crimes.

Those offenses, when made public through her testimony at her ex-husband’s murder trial in 1995 and from homemade videotapes of their sexual killing sprees, knocked the wind out of the nation.

Canadians, unaccustomed to the grisly crimes they typically attribute to their neighbors to the south, felt as if they had lost a touch of innocence.

Renewed interest in the killer, who now calls herself Karla Teale, has reached beyond Canadian borders. The Internet search engine Google reports Homolka was among their top 10 search subjects last week, just after Michael Jackson and Angelina Jolie.

Homolka was convicted of manslaughter in 1993 and given the relatively light sentence of 12 years for her role in the rapes and murders of Ontario teenagers Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. In return, she agreed to testify against ex-husband Paul Bernardo, a Toronto bookkeeper serving a life term in an Ontario prison for two counts of first-degree murder.

In sentencing Homolka, prosecutors also considered her role in the 1990 death of her 15-year-old sister, Tammy, who died on Christmas Eve after Homolka held a drug-soaked cloth over her face while Bernardo raped her.

Several psychiatrists who interviewed Homolka, who was often beaten by Bernardo – with a slew of hospital photos to prove it – claimed she was suffering from battered wife syndrome. She was given further leniency for her own mental state.

“She does seem to be very perturbed, yes, but she’s done her time and either the system works or it doesn’t,” said Christian Immer, whose family lives next to the Elizabeth Fry Society halfway house for female inmates in the leafy Montreal suburb of Notre Dame de Grace.

Homolka has received counseling from the home, where she could stay in privacy while she finds a place to live and attempts to elude reporters.

The police and women who run the halfway house have refused to reveal whether Homolka will stay there, and Immer shrugs off any concern about the possibility.

“I have three kids and the thought crosses my mind, but she’s probably the least of our fears in this big metropolis,” said Immer, washing a car outside his house.

A criminal attorney, Immer blames the media for fueling the hysteria over Homolka’s release from a prison just outside Montreal. One photo of Homolka glaring menacingly into the camera from beneath blonde bangs, has been printed and shown on television so often it’s hard for some to picture her otherwise.

But Immer acknowledged the images of Homolka’s sister, Tammy, won’t soon be forgotten.

“I think people just can’t fathom what she did to her sister, the idea of offering her sister to her husband for rape,” Immer said. “It was a horrible, horrible, horrible story.”

Months after prosecutors made the so-called “deal with the devil,” Bernardo’s attorneys handed over homemade videotapes by the couple. One indicated Homolka had offered up Tammy as a Christmas gift to Bernardo in 1990; it showed Homolka performing oral sex on her unconscious sister after slipping sleeping pills in her alcohol. Tammy died choking on her own vomit.

In the following two years, the couple kidnapped and videotaped the rapes and beatings of 15-year-old Kristen, then 14-year-old Leslie, who was strangled by Bernardo with an electrical cord while the teenager held a teddy bear Homolka had given her for comfort.

By the time the videotapes were revealed, the Homolka plea bargain had been sealed.

During Bernardo’s trial, the prosecution insisted he had repeatedly beaten their star witness and threatened her family, so Holmolka had only pretended to enjoy the sexual abuse of the girls in an effort to protect herself, her other sister and parents.

Detractors said she had numerous chances to leave Bernardo. Letters to friends not long after Tammy’s murder complained that her parents grieving for their youngest child was casting a shadow over her approaching wedding day.

The mayor of Notre Dame de Grace borough said he’s received dozens of e-mails, letters and phone calls from constituents, most pleading that Homolka not be allowed to live among them.

Michael Applebaum said police had assured him that Homolka would be kept in another part of the city until the media frenzy dies down. “She won’t be walking the streets anytime soon,” Applebaum said.

The mystery surrounding Homolka’s mental illness led Ontario prosecutors last month to seek, successfully, heavy restrictions on her movement and activities.

Homolka intends to appeal those restrictions, calling them a violation of her plea deal. Her lawyers also plan to return to court Monday to try, for a second time, to ban the media from reporting on her whereabouts once she is released from the penitentiary in rural Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, about 10 miles north of Montreal.

“I believe some people wish to do the public a favor by killing me,” Homolka said in an affidavit accompanying the request for a media ban. “The thought of being relentlessly pursued, hunted down and followed when I won’t have any protection makes me fear for my life.”

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