Russell Williams: the man no one knew

Family remembers him as quiet, disciplined


Colonel Russell Williams, charged with murdering two women, was a serious student and excelled at playing the trumpet, the Globe and Mail reports: in his last year at Upper Canada College in Toronto, in 1982, he was elected one of two prefects in his boarding house. Born in the Midlands region of England in 1963, Williams moved to Chalk River, Ont., where his father David Williams, a metallurgist, was hired at Canada’s best nuclear research facility. After his parents divorced, Williams mother remarried to Jerry Sovka, a nuclear engineer who now lives in France. The couple moved to Toronto, but Sovka got a job offer in South Korea and the family moved there in 1979. For Russell’s last two years of high school, he boarded at UCC, going by the name Russ Sovka. He played trumpet in the school band. In the mid-1980s, he went to the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, studying politics and economics, dabbling with flying through lessons at Toronto’s Buttonville airport. He joined the armed force after graduating university. Father David Williams is thought to be in the U.S.; his mother, who split up with Sovka, is a physiotherapist in Toronto. Brother Harvey Williams is a medical doctor in Bowmanville, Ont.

Globe and Mail

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Russell Williams: the man no one knew

  1. I attended Scarborough campus at that time as well and I parked my car in the outer parking lot because it was cheaper. I was too busy trying to pass to realize that women were being attacked. Man oh man was I ever clued out back then.

  2. I notice in an Ottawa newspaper which includes a handwritten note by Williams, that he used only capital letters. This is an anomaly – sometimes suggesting reversal difficulties with letters in early elementary grades, and some degree of ambidexterity. Anyone know anything about his early school history? I suspect he was exceptional in some way even then…

    • Writing in only capital letters suggests, from a handwriting analysis point of view, that the writer wishes to hide his personality and reveal as little as possible about himself. This is very true for Russell Williams, from what
      we know about him from the many reports in the news. Graphologists find it difficult to read a person's character from handwriting when it is not cursive, and whether or not he was aware of this fact, he either deliberately or unconsciously wrote this way in order to conceal his character from others, including those closest to him! One of the best descriptions of him that I have read is that he is the quintessential Jekyl and Hyde.

  3. I am just wondering,if this man Russell Williams was to torture and take the life of one of the politians family,would they then think about bringing back capitol punishment to our country.I think with the technoligy we have today with DNA and when someone who has committed a terrible crime such as Williams and admitted his guilt,then he should be put to death.I as a tax payer do not feel i should have my share of tax dollars to pay to keep this man alive for the rest of his life.The beauty of living,breathing,eating,communicating with people, has been taken away from the people he has murdered,Therefore why should someone who has done such a crime be allowed to enjoy the same even in his own space.Our justice system is far far behind the rest of the world.Our government needs to listen to all of the people of our country not just some.I am sure if there was a vote by each human in our country,this mans life would be over as well.

    • Robert, I agree with you but not for the same reason. I feel that if people like Russell Williams ever get out of jail, accidentally or on purpose, he will continue to kill and may even start abusing and killing young kids in school. People like this need to be executed when we know, without any shadow of a doubt, they are guilty. We really owe this complete protection from people like him to society. It has been proven these people cannot be rehabilitated. Other than God intervening nothing can be done for these type of people.


    • absolutely right, my friend! I agree whole heartedly

    • Robert, rest assured if it had been a politicians daughter, or a judges wife, they might not reinstate cap. punishment, but "Russ" would do the whole 25, and be hounded when they did let him out. As it now stands, upper middle class backround, privileged education, etc., he will be in a "group home" in about 5 years, 6 months after that on "supervised living" ( read: out and about). The only thing the elite will wait for is for tjhe stink to die down. All these heads of "commissions" and "boards" that are turfed for feathering the nests of themselves and their friends are quietly appointed to other"no show" jobs as soon as the publics attention is distracted (typically about 2 months). C'mon, it was only a lousy enlisted corporal and some little working gal, are they really worth destroying the life of one of their own.

    • If what I read & hear is true, Williams will live in a 3'x6' box for the rest of his life, then truly this is a more fitting punishment then the relief of death. Let him slowly go crazier with each passing minute as it slowly ticks away. No one for him to control or hurt and the real fear of his fellow inmates lining up to take him out. This to me is a real punishment, hell on earth.

  4. Maybe Robert u should be the one then to step up and sit behind a bench and sentence these monsters to death . Like in that Clint eastwood movie Hang em High . Do u think Robert u could do that ,? I know sitting in your chair and writing that u would is easy but how about actually doing it. As far as your tax dollars , hell man that all goes into general revenue so who knows where your tax dollars are going . I see my sister in a wheelchair , brain damaged , maybe u could take care of her also ………just something painless to kill her and then your tax dollars which are supporting her will be better put to use somewhere else.

    • I think raymond you should get with the times, you seem a little disturbed and unstable, so before you write something to the public, maybe you should watch how you respond, cause it seems like you have a chip on your shoulder. I wonder how you would respond if this "person" would have raped your daughter and then filmed the whole process and then cold hearted and brutaly killed her (them.) HMMM, am i putting a spin on things for you, my friend? I would GLADLY sit on the judges bench and convict this heartless killer and also would have NO problem eliminating him from society, i believe an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth……………………………….

      • Would you actually be willing to kill him? Then you would be a murderer too. No one has the right to kill another human being no matter how justified you think his death would be.

        • I truly must agree with Chris we have no right to take a life and hopefully never feel we do.y

  5. While I understand the anger and curiosity about Russ Williams, I don't understand the need for everyone to behave in an inhumane fashion. It is hardly up to us to judge him. He has been tried, judged, and convicted. He has to live now with what he has done and he obviously is now faced with all the emotions he was able for so long to bury. When you consider that he wrote " I can't live with these feelings" when attempting suicide, you have to realize that his extensive military training played a large part in the reasons why he became what he did. He was trained not to feel. He was trained to kill. He was trained in the art of being covert. This certainly does not forgive his horrific actions, but I do believe it goes a long way in providing insight into why it happened. He is certainly not the only sexual predator to come out of CFB Trenton. I personally have first hand experience to attest to that, and yes, they are aware of it. The military needs to take a good hard look at their training practices and perhaps realize that in this world we live in today they just may need to make some changes.

    • I am with you "Faith" great point!! I have seen it first hand how people in the military have had mental issues after service. The question now becomes, why are we encouraging these types of loonatics to have a licence to kill another human being?? Our goverments really does need to realise the types of people they attract to this proffession. I say this because people that serve in the military have good retirement packages, but also have numerous opportunities to also change there careers after service, therefore, I am talking about a lot of goverment approved finacial perks after service.Really, it is very inviting for people whom are interested in killing to begin with…Someone needs to reabilitate these people properly.. Everyone, think of a way to change the training, but also, to reabilitate them properly…Get the message accross…..Please focus on love, not war…Mabe if the goverment spent more money on creating a peaceful world we will all be in a better position!!

  6. I do not hate Russell Williams. I hate the things he did. Whether he made the confessions to "help" his wife is immaterial to me. In the end it saved a lot more stress on everyone involved. If the male members of the victim's families were given half an hour in a locked room with Williams I am sure they would see to it he understood what he put these innocent women through. Instead they will lock him in jail – in protective custody. Who protected these women. Man up Williams… go out into the general prison population . I am sure you will get what you deserve.

  7. "Trained not to feel?" Tell that to his erect penis (which he seems to be totally infatuated with btw). He had no problem getting excited about all the perverse to psychotic things he did while breaking into homes, masturbating on little girls' beds, cataloging his prizes and humiliating, violating, torturing, and in some cases killing those he victimized. Oh, he most definitely feels! Enough to be conscious of every camera angle he captured. All the military training gave him was the know how on how to hide it. And as for his suicide attempt – seriously??? c'mon if he really wanted to die – he would have succeeded – lord knows he's had practice. What he will have to live with now is the withdrawal he's going to go through – being in jail with no means to continue with that lifestyle. Poor baby!

    • You have misunderstood what I said. I do not feel sorry for him. Having empathy towards a person is not at all the same as having sympathy. You also are confusing emotion with arousal and obsession; neither of these states are emotions and I was of course speaking of emotions when I said trained not to feel. The suicide attempt is documented and was thwarted by prison guards. If you look into the subject you will find that it is indeed extremely difficult to successfully commit suicide while in prison. It is not at all difficult to understand why anyone would attempt it when faced with life in a cage. I'd like to add that I live in the area, I raised my children in Tweed, I know many of the people involved, and it remains a huge relief that he was apprehended so quickly. My issue is the amount of hate being generated. The crimes themselves are bad enough. It is a sad thing to see so many otherwise good people engaging in the perpetuation of those crimes with such vehemence.

  8. Hats off to the person or persons who alerted the police to William's vehicle parked in the field beside that poor woman's house. We should all be so vigilante as to suspicious activity or to occurences that just don't seem right! With that kind of civilian alertness the police get a chance to apprehend these sociopaths which we need to get out of mainstream society!! For the grief you have inflicted on many, 'Russ', I HOPE YOU FIND NO PEACE!

    • Thanks for pointing that out! I know one of the two men that witnessed and reported Williams' vehicle and both of them are the heroes in all of this! I agree 100% that we all need to do our part and report things that don't seem right. You never know when you may be saving lives by doing so.

  9. Has anyone thought about the possibility that these 2 women aren't the only women he had murdered. It seems very plausible to me that since he was caught at his age he could very easily have had other victims. Just wondering.

    • yes so true, there are still many missing persons, perhaps with time he will reveal……all he did not just own up to what he was caught

  10. I just wanted to say a few things, first of all, we, in the military, are not trained to hide our emotions. That's just ridiculous! Second, the CF is a cross-section representation of Canadian society. It's about 94,000 personnel strong. You put that many people together, and you are bound to run into some creepy people. Third, the "make love, not war" idea is wonderful, but without a military protecting your borders and willing to pay the ultimate price (death) to protect your rights and freedoms, you wouldn't have any. And my final point is, yes, the families of the victims and the victims themselves deserve our thoughts and prayers, but many of us are forgetting his family. His wife. My heart breaks with the thought of what she must be going through right now.

    • What are you talking about? You seriously need to redefine the way you use the word victim. His wife is not a victim and I'm sure most Canadians are pretty darn sick and tired of hearing her being portrayed as one! Also, there's a huge difference between being trained to control emotions, what is indeed taught, and hiding them! Twisting around what people are saying to suit your rebuttal here is really not a good way to convey your thoughts on the matter. Most of the nation is sympathetic to all of the good people that are in the military and now are being forced to suffer the stain caused by Williams' horrific actions. Allow us to relieve ourselves of our thoughts on the matter without taking it as a personal attack that requires a defensive action! The ex Colonel's career, marriage and lifestyle are all factors in the making of the criminal he became. Both the military and his wife need to take ownership of that fact and stop crying foul whenever it is pointed out.

      • I am VERY sorry…….YOU young lady……need to be more empathetic AND sympathetic. his wife IS a victim! No, not to the same extent as those poor women, their families and those few who escaped his violence. But she is going to live with judgement from people like YOU for the rest of her life. For something SHE did not do. Did she notice something odd about her husbands behaviour? Suspicious actions? She is going to be consumed with guilt til the end of her days. She deserves our sympathy and our prayer.

        • I do have empathy towards Ms. Harriman. A wife faced with that kind of discovery is a horrifying thought. Her actions since that discovery do not invoke any feelings of sympathy for her though, no. When we watch the future episode of American Justice on Williams I guarantee you that his wife will not be listed as one of his victims. You shouldn't lump "victim of sexual assault" and "victim of murder" in with "victim of spousal betrayal", it seems disrespectful towards the victims of his crimes and their families.

        • Live with the judgement is quite mild for what she deliberately ignored, I believe she enabled him and said nothing of the disturbing changes in him because she just could not be bothered. Live with the least she lives better that the fate of others which she could have prevented but chose to do nothing. I hope she suffers as much as the true victims of this tragedy.

    • What if you were to find out that she knew something was dreadfully wrong with the man she knew for years…. but yet she chose to do nothing.

  11. It is over, it is done. Would you let this go. The judge has ruled at what is to be. Let us be thanksful that he did confess and this will not be done again by Mr.Williams. Right now, let us just pray that his wife has the support that is needed which is rightfully deserved.

    • I just don't get how can this woman who has been with him so many years did not suspect anything…..I find this quite hard to believe, rightfully deserve???????????????????? really now…..where was her head? come on now……I read that she deliberately ignored many signs, she just rather not have sex with him; it must have crossed her mind he was getting it somewhere!!!!! In fact I find it impossible to believe she did not know something was not right. She lived with this man knew his ways, his sick sexual deviance and yet she did……NOTHING

  12. SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!