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Colonel Charged with Murder and Sexual Assault of Women

Posted by on Feb 10th, 2010 and filed under Nation, Recent Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

AGENCIES

Col. Russell Williams

Col. Russell Williams

COLONEL Russell Williams, the former commander of CFB Trenton is charged with the first-degree murder of Jessica Lloyd, 27, who was found dead Monday, and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, a 38-year-old air force flight attendant who was murdered in November. The 46-year-old Williams is also charged with forcible confinement, break and enter and sexual assault after two other women were allegedly attacked in their Tweed, Ont., homes last September.

While police scour cold cases for any links to Col. Russell Williams, the base commander details of what investigators know about the suspect are starting to leak out.

The Globe and Mail reports that Williams led police to Lloyd’s body at a location near Tweed, a small town north of Trenton, after giving them a detailed statement about his alleged crimes and involvement in “four dozen so-called ‘lingerie break-ins.'”

Williams was interviewed Sunday by members of the Ontario Provincial Police’s criminal behavioural analysis section, the Globe reported in its Wednesday edition, which led to police laying charges against him.

During the interview, he gave police his statement in a “crisp, business-like fashion,” which he appeared to do out of a sense of duty, the newspaper said.

But since the charges against Williams were made public, police have acknowledged they are zeroing in on his past and are taking a look at his prior postings with the military during his career.

Williams has previously been stationed in Shearwater, N.S., in Ottawa, in the Middle East, as well as at the Canadian Forces language school in Gatineau, Que. Before joining the military in 1987, he studied at the University of Toronto.

“We are looking at other areas where he has been posted. That will be part of the investigation,” OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae said yesterday.

Rae confirmed that other police forces are combing over their cold cases in light of the allegations raised against Williams, though she would not say which ones were involved, citing investigative reasons.

“Whenever you have two homicides and two home invasions and sexual assaults it’s prudent to ensure that if there’s any other investigations that have gone unsolved to see if there’s any similarities. That’s just good policing,” Rae said.

Police have also been fielding calls from the relatives of victims of unsolved crimes, who are looking for information. Rae said police are asking them to be patient.

“Those inquiries will be reviewed and looked at,” she said.

“If it’s another police service, obviously there would be some information sharing there to see if there’s anything we can help them with, to see if there’s anything out there that’s outstanding.”

Halifax police said they had spoken with officers in Ontario, but “so far those discussions haven’t provided any information that impacts any of our investigations,” Const. Brian Palmeter said Tuesday.

While Halifax has three unsolved homicides from the time period Williams was stationed in Shearwater, Palmeter said “nothing so far has been provided to us to suggest any link to those files.”

In Ottawa, police Insp. Al Tario said Williams is not named as a suspect or person of interest in any unsolved cases.

Toronto police Const. Wendy Drummond said her organization had not been asked by provincial police to reopen specific cases, nor has it been provided with new evidence or information with regards to anything unsolved at this point.

Glenn Woods, a behavioural science expert and crime analyst, told CTV’s Canada AM that it would be unusual for a 46-year-old sex crime suspect to lack a criminal background.

“I find it a little unusual to have someone in this age range with no previous contact with the police, so that’s a little bit interesting. But, I’m watching with very little information at this point,” Woods said during an interview from Ottawa on Wednesday morning.

Woods said suspects in this age range typically develop criminal behaviours at a much earlier point in their lives.

“My experience has been that someone who commits this kind of crime starts thinking about it very early in life and I would be very surprised if there weren’t victims from long before this,” Woods said.

Mark Safarik, a former senior profiler in the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, said police will be looking for any precursor-type crimes that Williams could be linked to.

“There’s typically an escalation of behaviour that has occurred over a long period of time, and it’s this precursor types of crimes that they’ll be looking for,” he said yesterday.

Safarik said as an investigator he would focus on burglary cases.

“Burglary cases at night where nothing is taken where victims are saying things like, ‘I felt like there was somebody in the house but I didn’t find anything missing, I heard somebody, I thought I saw somebody at my window, prowling, peeping,’ ” he said.

Safarik said the many postings Williams has held during his career will make the investigation more difficult.

“The other complicating piece is that those (military) communities themselves tend to be on the move all the time. So that people that were living there in a community two years ago aren’t going to be living there now,” he said.

Police two properties Williams shared with his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, who works as an associate executive director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Investigators pulled evidence from a house in Ottawa that the couple had moved into only recently.

Michael Gennis, who lives next door to the house being searched in Ottawa, was shocked to learn of the allegations against Williams.

“It’s shocking, you know, any time you hear about a situation like this, or a crime that has been committed such as this one,” he told CTV’s Canada AM during an interview from Ottawa.

“So, it was quite unsettling, in that we had just started to become neighbours and friends.”

Gennis said his interactions with the couple were limited, but he found both Williams and his wife to be pleasant.

Police also were combing the couple’s lake-front, cottage property in Tweed, the small town north of Trenton, where the two sexual assaults occurred that Williams is accused of.

1 Response for “Colonel Charged with Murder and Sexual Assault of Women”

  1. rana.khan says:

    Imagine for a moment, if Colonel were a Muslim then the reporting and mood of the media and government. “Islam” would be a definite target if he were a Muslim. Now, no one questions the “Christianity” for killings, murder, rape and moral degradation of this colonel. Imagine if the colonel was the product of Madrasah, the Madrasah was supposed to be closed or planned to be bombed by US and NATO forces. However no one questioned the curriculum and education system of University of Toronto where Colonel studied.

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