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The Ontario government is looking for a way to break the controversial plea bargain with schoolgirl killer Karla Homolka, dubbed "the deal with the devil," that would allow her to get out of jail in 31 months, Attorney-General David Young said yesterday.

The minister said he has asked the Niagara Regional Police Force to investigate whether Ms. Homolka broke the plea bargain by writing correspondence included in a new book, A Pact with the Devil.

"I feel there is something to investigate," Mr. Young said outside the legislature.

In the legislature, he said effects of the torture deaths of two teenaged girls at the hands of Ms. Homolka and Paul Bernardo has not gone away.

"The wounds of the communities and, of course, particularly the families who are so directly involved in this series of great tragedies haven't yet fully healed. I anticipate they will never fully heal."

Tory Marilyn Mushinski, MPP for Scarborough Centre, raised the issue of whether the information in the book supplied by Ms. Homolka breaks her plea bargain.

"It seems that she corresponded to the writer and shared some of her own experiences and thoughts. . . . Her participation in this project may have violated the plea bargain . . . an agreement that some have called 'the deal with the devil,' " Ms. Mushinski told the legislature.

The Crown prosecutor negotiated the plea bargain with Ms. Homolka and her lawyer in 1993, before Crown officials knew there were videotapes portraying her as a willing participant in the murders in St. Catharines of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.

Under the plea bargain, which has been criticized since it was negotiated, Ms. Homolka received a 12-year sentence on two counts of manslaughter in exchange for testimony about her ex-husband.

Mr. Bernardo was convicted in 1995, and declared a dangerous offender. Ms. Homolka has spent much of her prison time in Joliette, Que., and is due to be released in July, 2005.

The controversy over the plea bargain has resurfaced with the publication of the book by Stephen Williams in Quebec this fall. Published only in French, its title is Karla, le pacte avec le diable.

Mr. Williams has said the book, which looks at how Ms. Homolka spends her years behind bars, is based partly on correspondence he had with her.

He said yesterday that he does not believe the book violates the terms of Ms. Homolka's deal. "Once again, we've got the government chasing its tail."

He added, "My book has nothing to do with the crimes; it's a book about her life in prison and the parole issues and her future. Here we have a situation where these people haven't even read my book, and they're calling for a police investigation."

But Tim Danson, lawyer for the French and Mahaffy families, suggested in an interview with Toronto radio station CFRB that it is possible Ms. Homolka's participation is a violation of the plea bargain.

"She's not to participate with the media or anyone writing a book to benefit from this."

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