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Col. Russell Williams, Canadian Air Force Base Commander, Pleads Guilty To 88 Crimes Against Women

Col. Russell Williams salutes as he arrives at the Battle of Britain parade in Trenton, Ontario in Sept. 2009.

[Even the baddies here in Canada are getting corralled.  The only thing that I found a little odd about this was how he pleaded guilty to every count.  We’ll see how this plays out but those of you who have studied the court systems know that you can only plead guilty.  Hmmm.  Interesting. T]

October 18, 2010
Ethan Sacks

In a case that has shocked Canada, the former commander of the country’s largest Air Force base pleaded guilty Monday to a horrific spree of crimes that included the torture and strangulation of two women, two sexual assaults and dozens of voyeuristic break-ins.

It took more than 30 minutes just to read all of the 88 charges against Col. Russell Williams in Ontario Superior Court during his arraignment Monday.

The 47-year-old was arrested in February on suspicion of murdering Jessica Lloyd, 27, a woman who lived near the colonel’s vacation cottage in Ontario. Police matched tire tracks at the scene of Lloyd’s disappearance to his vehicle, Toronto’s Globe and Mail reported. And during a nine-hour interrogation on Feb. 7, Williams confessed to that murder and later led police to Lloyd’s body. Williams also confessed to the strangulation and murder of a second woman, 38-year-old Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, who was under his command at  8 Wing/CFB Trenton Air Force base.

“He was cool as a cucumber,” a source familiar with the interrogation told the newspaper. “It was, ‘Here’s what I did, and here’s how.’ It was efficient, detailed, a business proposition that needed to be resolved.”

While searching Williams’ Ottawa, Ont., home, police made the disturbing find of hundreds of pieces of women’s clothing, neatly catalogued and hidden in the rafters, stemming from dozens of break-ins made into women’s homes. Investigators also discovered graphic photos of Williams posing in women’s lingerie, CBC News reported.

Some of the photos show Williams in the bedroom of a neighbor’s then 12-year-old daughter, who occasionally took care of his cat, wearing one of her skirts and masturbating in her bed.

Police are also scrambling through cold case files, including the 2001 slaying of then 19-year-old Kathleen MacVir, who had been sexually assaulted and stabbed to death on the Air Force base.

Williams’ guilty plea ends high-profile, distinguished military career: The veteran pilot had flown the prime minister’s personal jet as well as British Queen Elizabeth II’s plane during a visit to Canada. He faces life in prison, with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years.

The case has led to reports of a morale crisis in the Canadian military.

“The tragic events surrounding Colonel Russell Williams stunned all Canadians and none more so than the members of the Canadian Forces,” Gen. Walt Natynczyk, Canada’s Chief of the Defense Staff, said in a statement after Williams’ guilty plea. “Today’s guilty plea is the first step in a healing process that will no doubt take many years.”

Williams had told investigators that the 2008 death of his family cat disturbed him and led to a change in his frame of mind, the Winnipeg Press reported. He also told interrogators that he wanted to do his “duty” by confessing to everything, to spare his wife and the Canadian military a prolonged public trial.

According to witnesses in the court room, Williams displayed no emotion as he answered “guilty” and to each of the 88 charges. Lloyd’s mother, Roxanne, sat in the courtroom staring at Williams and holding a large framed photo of her daughter.

ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.

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