Victim Studies 017: Colonel Russell Williams

on April 18, 2012 in Serial Killers, Victim Studies, Victimology by

David Russell Williams was found guilty for murdering two people, sexually assaulting two women, forcibly confining two women and eighty-two different charges related to breaking and entering in Ontario, Canada. Williams’s murder series began in November 2009, at the age of 46, and ended with his arrest in February of 2010.

At a young age Williams’s family immigrated to Chalk River, Ontario, Canada from Bromsgrove, England. He was known to have be an excellent student throughout all of his school years. His parents divorced when Williams was 6, after his mother had relations with a neighbor, Jerry Sovka. Sovka and Williams’s mother were married shortly after the divorce was finalized and the family moved to Scarborough, Ontario. During his last two years of high school, 1981 to 1982, Williams attended Toronto’s Upper Canada College as a bording student because his parents had moved to South Korea to study a reactor project.

After graduating from high school, Williams went on to graduate from the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus with an economics and political science degree. In 1987, Williams enlisted in the Canadian Forces. Over the course of the next 23 years Williams appeared to be a model member in the Canadian Forces. He received his flying wings, trained others to fly, obtained a Master of Defense Studies, was promoted to colonel over the years and was sworn in as Wing Commander at Canadian Forces Base Trenton. In 1991, Williams married Mary Elizabeth Harriman, who is an associate director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. They moved to Ottawa in 2006. No one knew about Williams’s fetishes or how they would become more violent over time.

Williams began his life of crime in 2007, at the age of 44, when he broke into his neighbors’ homes and posed in their lingerie. He would wait until no one was home and then would typically take pictures of himself dressed in their lingerie or would masturbate while on their beds. His camera captured all of his deviant behavior. He went on to leave messages on some computers saying thank you or would dare some of the victims to go to the police. Overall, Williams broke into and stole from more than 82 homes, returning to some homes to steal more lingerie. Upon his arrest there were 87 pairs of panties that were found from just one underage girl.

It is believed that over time Williams became more violent and was no longer satisfied with stealing lingerie. In September of 2009, two women were attacked in the span of two weeks. Both women were stripped naked, bound and blindfolded. They were sexually assaulted, however Williams told them he would not rape them. Williams took pictures of the naked women after they were bound and left them when he was finished. He would usually wear a black ski cap.

On November 17, 2009, at the age of 46, Williams began his murder series, which spanned until his arrest on February 8, 2010. All of his victims were brown haired, Caucasian and were females between the ages of 27 and 37. Williams broke into both of the women’s homes to attack them. They were both stalked before the attack took place. In order to subdue his victims, Williams beat the women with a flashlight. The women were bound and raped multiple times before being murdered. Williams also took photos and recorded the women as he raped them, going as far as to bring extra lamps with him to make the violence more visible. Both women had duct tape placed over their eyes and noses to prevent them from seeing their attacker. They were either beaten to death with a flashlight or strangled to death.

The time spent with his two victims differed. The first victim, Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, was raped and murdered within the span of her bedtime and when Williams had a meeting the next day. The second victim, Jessica Lloyd, was repeatedly raped, made to pose and transported, while still alive, between her home and Williams’s home over the span of approximately 15 hours. Williams’s first victim was found at the scene of the crime, while the second victim was found on the side of a rural road.

Although many serial killers, like Williams, begin to show their criminality by sexually assaulting their victims, it is rare for them to begin sexually assaulting women at an older age. Most men, who are sex offenders, slow down in their 40s, while Williams was just beginning at 44. He was also known to have taken his time when stealing lingerie, sometimes staying in other homes for 3 hours trying on their underwear. Most criminals worry about being caught by the homeowners or by police and try to flee the crime scene as soon as possible.

Some neighbors and experts claim that it was also not until later in life that Williams began to take Prednisone, a medicine that helps with pain and aches. Prednisone has also been known to cause manic behavior, bipolar and psychotic disorders in some patients. This medication is more than likely not the cause for Williams’s behavior and criminality, but it may have contributed to it.

When Williams left the home of Jessica, he left his unique tire tracks in the snow, which would lead to his arrest. Ontario Provincial Police canvassed all vehicles that used the highway near Jessica’s home on February 4, 2010. After an officer noticed that Williams’s Pathfinder tires looked similar to the tracks found at the crime scene. He was brought in for questioning on February 7, 2010 and confessed to many crimes. Williams also led police to Jessica’s remains.

On October 21, 2010 Williams was found guilty and sentenced to two life sentences for the two murders he committed, two ten year sentences for sexual assault, two ten year sentences for forcible confinement and was also later sentenced to 82 one year sentences for burglary related offences. When he was found guilty of the crimes he had his commission revoked by the military and was officially banished from the Canadian Forces. Four members of the military burned all of his uniforms and medals. Williams’s Pathfinder was also destroyed.

Sources:
Russell Williams on Wikipedia
David Russell WIlliams: The Kinky Killer Colonel by Kristal Hawkins on TruTV.com
Biography: Russell Williams by Susan Ormiston on CBC News
Forensic Victimology
David Russell Williams in the Serial Killer Timelines at Radford University

One Comment

  • Brian Combs says:

    Part of what fascinates me about Russell Williams is that we really have no idea why he did what he did. Usually, such deep seated paraphillias can be tied to some sort of abuse or trauma in childhood. At least so far, there doesn’t seem to be any such childhood horror in Williams’ story.

    Why did such a highly competent person become a sadistic serial killer?

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