An Officer & Murderer (Documentary)

Col Russell Williams ; An Officer & Murderer (Documentary)

Published on Jun 17, 2013
David Russell Williams (born March 7, 1963) is a convicted murderer, rapist, and former Colonel in the Canadian Forces. From July 2009 to his arrest in February 2010, he commanded CFB Trenton, a hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad and the country’s largest and busiest military airbase. Williams was also a decorated military pilot who had flown Canadian Forces VIP aircraft for dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and the Governor General and Prime Minister of Canada.

On February 8, 2010, he was relieved as the base commander at CFB Trenton due to criminal charges. He was formally charged by the Ontario Provincial Police, pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada, with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of forcible confinement, two counts of breaking and entering, and sexual assault; another 82 charges relating to breaking and entering were later added. On October 21, 2010, Williams was sentenced to two life sentences for first-degree murder, two 10-year sentences for other sexual assaults, two 10-year sentences for forcible confinement, and 82 one-year sentences for breaking and entering, all to be served concurrently. The life sentences mean Williams will serve a minimum of 25 years before parole eligibility. Since he has been convicted of multiple murders, Williams is not eligible for early parole under the so-called “faint hope clause” of the Canadian Criminal Code.

On October 22, 2010, Williams was stripped of his commission, ranks, and awards by the Governor General of Canada on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Staff. His severance pay was terminated and the salary he received following his arrest was seized, although he is still entitled to a pension. Subsequent to his conviction, his uniform was burned, his medals were destroyed and his vehicle crushed and scrapped. He was serving his sentence at Kingston Penitentiary, in the prison’s segregation unit. The prison has since been closed and he has been relocated to a prison in Quebec.

Court proceedings and trial

Williams appeared before the Ontario Court of Justice in Belleville, Ontario via video link from the Quinte Detention Centre on July 22, 2010, where his next court appearance was set for August 26. Again via video link, Williams waived his right to a preliminary inquiry and thus had his next appearance scheduled at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for October 7, 2010. Williams’ lawyer stated then that his client would plead guilty to all charges filed against him.

On October 18, 2010, Williams pleaded guilty to all charges. On the first day of Williams’ trial and guilty plea, details emerged of other sexual assaults he committed, including that of a new mother who was wakened with a blow to the head while she and her baby were asleep in her house. The first day of trial revealed that Williams also had pedophiliac tendencies, stealing underwear of girls as young as nine years old. He made 82 fetish-related home invasions and attempted break-ins between September 2007 and November 2009.

Williams had progressed from break-ins to sexual assaults with no penetration to rape and murder. He had kept detailed track of police reports of the crimes he was committing, logged his crimes, kept photos and videos, and had even left notes and messages for his victims. In a break-in into the bedroom of a 12-year-old, he left a message in her computer saying: “Merci” (“Thank you” in French). He had taken thousands of pictures of his crimes, and had kept the photos on his computer. Crown Attorney Robert Morrison presented numerous pictures of Williams dressed in the various pieces of underwear and bras he had stolen, frequently masturbating while lying on the beds of his victims.

Some of the photos presented on the first day of his trial were published in several newspapers. As some newspapers explained, although troubling, the photos were published because they capture the essence of the crimes of Williams and show the true nature of his crimes. Among the news media that published some of the released photographs were The Montreal Gazette and The Toronto Star.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert F. Scott sentenced Williams on October 22, 2010, to two concurrent terms of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

The Canadian Forces stripped Williams of his rank, and later dishonorably discharged him. Before his discharge, he was visited and examined by a military doctor in Kingston Penitentiary, as all outgoing military personnel must undergo a medical examination. Williams’ uniform was burned, as his name had been stitched into the fabric. His medals were also later cut into pieces, his commission scroll (a document confirming his status as a serving officer) was shredded, and his Pathfinder was crushed and scrapped.

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