Col. Russell Williams, accused sex killer, makes brief court appearance - Macleans.ca
 

Col. Russell Williams, accused sex killer, makes brief court appearance

Murder victim’s brother among those in attendance


 

Russell Williams—the disgraced colonel accused of murder, sexual assault and dozens of perverted home invasions—is one step closer to a trial. During a brief court appearance this morning in Belleville, Ont., the former commander of Canada’s largest air force base was told that a pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 26. Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, and appearing via a video link from the Napanee, Ont., jail he now calls home, Williams responded with two words: “Thank you.”

Exactly what will happen on Aug. 26 remains unclear. Despite reports that the 47-year-old plans to plead guilty, neither the Crown nor the defence is commenting on the rumours.

Today’s court appearance comes one year and one week to the day after Williams assumed command of 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, the Canadian Forces’ busiest and most strategically important air base. Police now allege that during the colonel’s six-month stint as boss, he led an elaborate and violent double life as a sexual predator. Arrested on Feb. 7, he is charged with killing two women—Marie-France Comeau, a corporal stationed on his base, and Jessica Lloyd of Belleville—and sexually assaulting two other women after sneaking into their houses. In April, he was slapped with 82 additional charges connected to a series of bizarre break-and-enters in which the thief targeted only one thing: women’s undergarments.
Williams, who appeared dejected but healthy, has yet to enter a plea.

Among those sitting in the packed courtroom today was Andy Lloyd, Jessica’s older brother. It was the first time he laid eyes on the man who allegedly murdered his little sister. “It’s something I have to do for myself,” he told reporters outside. “It’s a bit of a shock but I’m prepared for it.”

While Williams’ criminal case continues to crawl toward a conclusion, he is also the target of a civil lawsuit. His first alleged sexual assault victim—a 21-year-old woman who was blindfolded, tied to a chair, stripped naked and photographed while her baby daughter slept in a nearby room—is demanding nearly $2.5 million in damages for his “harsh, vindictive, malicious, horrific and reprehensible” conduct. The victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, says in her statement of claim that she has been forced to develop “certain psychological mechanisms in order to survive the horrors of the assault,” including “denial, repression, disassociation and guilt.”

The lawsuit also names Williams’ wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, as a defendant. It claims that six weeks after her husband was arrested, she entered into a “secret” deal to “fraudulently” acquire his share of their Ottawa townhouse “in an effort to defeat the Plaintiff’s claims.”

Harriman, the associate executive director of the Ottawa-based Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, has not spoken publicly since her husband was charged. But in court documents, she denies any wrongdoing and insists that she paid “valuable consideration” for Williams’ stake in the home. “The timing of the transfer was not unusual given the crisis facing the marriage,” writes her lawyer, Mary Jane Binks.

In sworn affidavit signed on June 2—the day after her 19th wedding anniversary—Harriman claims that “as a result of the charges, my previously anticipated future and financial security had become jeopardized.” Along with the home, she says, Williams “transferred to me additional assets in response to my concern for my financial security as against him.”

“I had absolutely no intention whatsoever to have the matrimonial home fraudulently conveyed to me for the purpose of defeating the claims of the Plaintiff,” her affidavit continues. “At all times my intent in executing the conveyance was to provide for my financial security as against my husband.”

As part of her defence, Harriman is also asking a judge to order a publication ban on all the evidence she plans to present, including personal financial statements and further details about her work at the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “The revelation of the criminal charges against the Defendant Williams and my identity as his wife has been devastating to me,” she writes. “The publication of further particular details of my professional life, personal financial situation, and legal affairs could have a significant negative impact upon me personally and professionally.”

A hearing on the matter, originally scheduled for July 27, has been postponed until Oct. 19.


 

Col. Russell Williams, accused sex killer, makes brief court appearance

  1. Could we find a different label than "sex killer"? "Killer and rapist" seems more appropriate, and less salicious

    • Well, his crimes pretty much fit the definition of salacious, so "sex killer" is just a one-word-shorter description for "killer and rapist."

      • a) I can't edit now, but I just see mistyped "salacious"!

        b) I'm not comfortable with rape and sex being used synonymously. But perhaps I'm being overly sensitive.

        • Hmmm, okay fair point, hadn't thought of it that way. I certainly don't think rape and sex are synoymous.

          • Oops, and for what it's worth Sean I mistyped "synonymous."

          • We really need to swear off using long words. :)

        • Murder is a violent crime. Rape is a violent crime. Sexual assault is a violent crime. Burglary and breaking and entering are property crimes … in his case, committed in furtherance of his acts as a sexual predator. Williams is charged with multiple counts of all of these crimes.

          Howabout:

          "Col. Russell Williams, accused murderer and sexual predator, makes brief court appearance."

          Would that cover it?

          • I think so.

    • where is death penalty when i want it

  2. 2 things are bothering me even more about this case
    1. I read an article about williams at bbc as that is where he was born.. that they have 4 children ranging in ages from 9 to 18. i pity them if thats true. lies in this case won't help anyone.
    2. Any other criminal with these charges would have to appear in court, he shouldn't be allowed to hid in his guilt and i seriously doubt he will be found otherwise.

  3. There was another young woman missing from the Bellivelle area last winter, has anyone found her or know what has happened to her? Did Williams have anything to do with her disappearance? He is a monster in our mists, not the first Officer to rape , Sexual assaults in the Military are often not reported as the victim is afraid of the career repercussions,or not being believed. Has any other military women came forward with allegations against him? It can't be just a fluke that he started these attacks last year.

  4. have a look at unsolved murders in canada website – excellent timeline re Williams – they mention other cases in the area during his stint as CO.
    I still can't square that his wife who is supposedly soo clever didn't know a thing – I have moved many times and boxes in the garage are put there to make room but one always goes back and checks them… how come she didn't.. or did she and then keep quiet about her findings? Perhaps ( she thought) the undies are just a hobby that will pass???

  5. Our government sends our soldiers to die overseas (150) now and we can only bitch at someone who is alleged that he did these crimes. I am certain they have their man, but to make it fair, lets let him have has day in court. Trying to kill yourself during lockup is a well know practice, the pressure is on and you feel helpless, and you know if you are guilty you reign of terror is over. You will now become someone elses dreams and they your nightmare.. I however do feel that healthy men or woman sentenced to life shoud have their organ removed and aid someone who really needs them. This saves time and alot of tax dollars.

    I was a beat cop and seen much, far much that this man did.

    Jacob

  6. if you're so concerned about your future and reputation,then why do you keep visiting this creep in jail!!??! to this day! youre just as sick as he is, and i hope you get charged with fraud, you know you did it knowingly and intentionally! Doesnt matter anyways, money can never replace what that DEVIL took from his victims, and their families!
    you disgust me!
    Danielle

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