‘It’s another shock’

Russell Williams’s victims hope photo evidence will remain sealed

'It's another shock'

Andy Lloyd: "Not looking for apology", just truth and Col. Williams in court last week; Sean Kilpatrick/CP/ Steve Russell/Toronto Star/CP

The actual sentence is not up for debate. First-degree murder carries a mandatory punishment of life behind bars with no chance of parole for 25 years, and when Russell Williams officially pleads guilty next week, his fate will be no different. The disgraced colonel will be transferred to a federal penitentiary, locked in isolation for his own safety, and left to wonder—until his 72nd birthday—whether it’s even worth applying to the National Parole Board.

If he’s as smart as everyone says, Williams already knows the answer: he will remain in prison until the day he dies.

But not before spending a few more hours inside a Belleville, Ont., courtroom, explaining to a judge—and his many, many victims—how he managed to conceal an elaborate double life as a serial stalker while busy commanding the country’s largest air force base, CFB Trenton. As part of his historic guilty plea, Williams must submit an “agreed statement of facts” that should finally shed some light on what sparked his unthinkable crime spree of two homicides, two home-invasion sexual assaults, and dozens of bizarre break-ins that targeted women’s underwear.

RELATED: LIVE BLOG from inside Col. Russell Williams’ hearing, day 2

Exactly what Williams plans to say will remain a mystery until the hearing begins Oct. 18. But it’s now clear that the evidence against him is nothing short of overwhelming.

According to one newspaper report, the colonel videotaped both his murder victims (Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38; and Jessica Lloyd, 27) and kept a detailed, computerized spreadsheet describing each of his offences. Maclean’s has also learned that during some of the late-night break-ins, Williams photographed himself inside his victims’ homes—dressed in their lingerie.

Among the dozens of cross-dressing photos seized by police were a handful of snapshots taken inside the Tweed, Ont., home of Laurie Massicotte, one of Williams’s two sexual assault victims. The colonel now admits that in the days before he attacked his neighbour in September 2009, he broke into her home on two other occasions and walked away with some of her undergarments. Last week, after Williams’s lawyer announced that his client plans to plead guilty, police told Massicotte the rest of the disgusting details.

“They have pictures of him in my house wearing my underwear,” she says. “It’s another shock. Had I not already gone through the biggest shock of my life on Sept. 30, I would not have been able to handle this.”

Another robbery victim, who did not want to be named, received a similar briefing from detectives. “It is worse than I ever imagined,” she says. “It makes you want to throw up.”

If there is a silver lining for the victims, it’s that the chilling photographic evidence will likely never see the light of day. Because Williams chose a guilty plea instead of a trial, the boxes of items seized from his homes will not be entered as courtroom exhibits; they will remain in a police vault, shielded from the press and the public.

In theory, a person could ask for the records under Access to Information laws, but the request would surely be denied for privacy reasons. An appeal to the courts would likely fail, too, thanks to precedents provided in the case of serial rapist and murderer Paul Bernardo. During his infamous trial, media outlets demanded access to the notorious videotapes depicting the torture of teenagers Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, but the judge refused, ruling that only the audio would be broadcast in open court. After the verdict, Timothy Danson, a lawyer for the girls’ families, convinced the courts that all the Bernardo evidence, including the video footage, should be destroyed.

“The purpose of keeping it out of the public light isn’t to deny free speech,” Danson says now. “It is to protect the victims.”

Laurie Massicotte wants that same protection, and says she will fight any attempt to have the Williams photographs disclosed. “I don’t want to see them, and I sure don’t want anybody else to see them,” she says. “I need to protect my family. There is no reason for them to see any of this stuff—ever.”

Massicotte has yet to attend any of her attacker’s court appearances, but she plans to be in the gallery for Williams’s final few days as a colonel (as soon as he is sentenced, the military plans to strip him of his rank and recoup the salary he’s collected since his arrest). Andy Lloyd, Jessica’s older brother, will be in the courtroom, too, and is working on a victim impact statement.

“I haven’t actually finished it,” he says. “But I basically want to let him know how his actions have affected our daily life. We want him to know just how much he has hurt people.” When asked what he hopes to hear Williams say during the sentencing phase, Lloyd replied: “I’m not looking for an apology; it’s not going to hold its weight in anything. But we would like to hear the truth about what happened. Why? Why her?”


‘It’s another shock’

  1. William's was part of the military elite. For their protection, for the sake of national defense I am shocked at how much was put at risk. We spend millions and exercise manpower of largess to shadow, confront and persecute marijuana users who pose no threat. Yet clearly, we spend no time to know what the powerful, with their differential opportunity for crime, may be engaged in. What further terrible events could have occurred had William's been found out by some dark agent of influence as opposed to good Canadian police work? What would John Le Carre say about that I wonder?

    I wanted to highlight the waste of massive resources on Prohibition, perhaps at the cost of National Security. Not knowing what a Rogue Commander is doing or where he is for that many hours of the day is not good discipline and comes really at a tremendous surprise. There's no way to look his victim's in the face.

  2. I for one among millions of Canadians hope and pray the photo's r never released.. In addition, why can't we bring back the "two in the head" for Monsters like Willaims, Berardo, Olson?
    69% of Canadians WANT the death Penalty. These creeps do not deserve air, let alone Pensions or Military $12K per month Salaries.
    My heart cries for the victims and their families….Where was ViClass in this mess? Why was't there an investigation to catch this monster by OPP and Ottawa Police to input into the RCMP database b 4 he killed?? All the signs were there….

  3. even though a lot of canadians want the death penalty what good is it going to do, kill the person it isnt really going to change anything expect that person got what they wanted. Nobody wants to go to prison after pleading guilty to that much stuff especially with what exactly he did. He should suffer just like he made every family suffer. He deserves to suffer and unfortunately he isnt going to do much of that locked up in a cell all by himself. Sure he may go crazy but what good is it, he needs to fear for his life cause truthfully i believe prison is a lot worse than war. Knowing when u step one foot into a prison and everyone there wants to kill you and not being able to defend yourself at all.. now thats fear.

  4. He's a monster!

  5. I agree, he is a monster! He has caught everybody off-guard, because he was a high level military man. Now, stretching my thought process further, I think about the other side of his personality – the military hero side. He's gone up through the ranks and trained others to fly jets used to kill people. Our "heroes" in Afghanistan have killed thousands of innocent civilians in what they call "collateral damage". Would the Canadian public consider our troops in Afghanistan as "monsters" if they got a chance to see innocent Afghan kids, women and men, blown apart, burned alive and grieving for the loss of their families? From a moral point of view, when does a man become a "monster"? Are our young people, in our military, trained to kill others not as "bad" as this guy? Are his crimes more revolting than what our troops are doing over there? If we had the photos (which our corporate media won't print) of the "collateral damage" we're responsible for in Afghanistan, would we see more "monsters" than we could tolerate? We can try to split this man's personality into two parts – monster and hero. But reality indicates otherwise. Both roles are monstrous roles, with their own victims. Why should we feel more empathy for Canadian victims and none for the Afghan victims? Sorry, I just don't get it. Killing is killing and it is a monstrous act, even if wrapped in a nationalistic flag.

    • no you dont get it.the answer to all your questions is no.Im in the military and as angry as this post made me at first i will give you the benefit of the doubt because thier was a time i asked myself those very same questions.and ill tell you when a man becomes a monster when he kills for pleasure and not survivul when he feels that his strengh entituls him to rule the weak and not protect them.and if you look at the taliban and us i guess you could say that were both killers and both wrong but hear's the fundemental difference they fight for a world where men like them and maybe myself get to rule I fight for a world where "monster's" like them and i never get to rule.I hope i've answered some of your questions i hope and pray for a world where one day men like me will be out of a joband this man is no hero he simply fooled us into thinking he's one no he's just a monster and im sorry i didnt do my job and get him before he could kill

      • Be careful when you fight. Everyone has their own point of view. How can you be so certain you know who the monster is. I believe they are created, not born. You may be creating the very thing you wish to kill…….the monsters. I say this as the daughter of a military family. My father was the monster in my home after WW11…………a war in which we all agreed was right.

      • Maybe you should read up on your facts about the military and Afghanistan before you go spouting off all that crap. Keep this about these victims and this man! As a military member we are sick of you uneducated people dragging the rest of us down with this man….He is on his own we turn our backs on him.

    • Glad to hear you say this. Killing is killing. My father came out of WW11 and was a very violent person. He told me the reason he left my mother was because he was afraid he was going to kill her in an argument. My father was the monster and the hero. War not only kills the enemy buy also the soul of the so called hero.

  6. i still cant believe he still gets his $60,000 a year pention we have to pay for this monster

  7. Let's hope he never gets to see daylight once locked up for good.

  8. I feel life in prison is not enough for him. He is and murderer! Sexual predators! SICK SICK SICK man. This is why Canada needs to bring back the death penalty!

    I live in CFB Trenton. We looked up to this sick monster.

    ROT IN HELL Col. Williams

  9. In this case, the death penalty is inappropriate. At the conclusion of his court appearance, Colonel Williams should be dressed in the "trophy" of his choosing, be transported directly to prison and be housed in the general population. There is absolutely no point in depriving him of his dignity. Clearly, the man believes that he is at his best clad in the undergarments of prepubescent children and we should allow him to be seen at the top of his game as he gets accustomed to his new environment. I think it's the least we can do for one of our country's heroes.

  10. Canadian soldiers are raping and murdering women and children every day in Afghanistan, so it's not like this guy is any different from anyone else in the CAF.

    • f@#$ off you moron!

      Look everyone! It's Russel Williams' Protege!

    • Keep talking trash, Mr. Harper, and I'll vote for Count Iggy next time! You just watch me!

    • You feel free to take their place people like you deserve to go play in the s#*t pit instead of some of the good people over there…I suggest you keep your opinions to yourself…you are just as bad as he is….loser

  11. Normally, I'm the first to denounce the death penalty. . .

    But how come Williams isn't serving his time in military prison? I guess that's part of the plea deal – he is given the soft option. Considering his spending opportunities will be limited, he's going to come out a rich man thanks to his generous pension.

    According to the ongoing civil case against him, he also made sure his wife – who somehow managed not to notice her husband's collection of hundreds of items of stolen lingerie, not to mention the video tapes – will come out OK by transferring property to her name.

    The victims – as outlined in the snapshot presented in the civil case – are living in hell, not this monster or his loyal wife.

    That's Canadian justice for you. . .

  12. he has been caught and he is going to spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement. in this country that is the harshest punishment given to the most dangerous criminals, and if you think about it, it is very harsh punishment. i'm not playing down the suffering of his survivors or his dead victims' families, just trying to make a point that he IS suffering more than murderers such as clifford olson and paul bernardo because he is more intelligent and he lost everything that he earned over the years: his job, his rank in the military, the respect of the entire country. since they settled their financial affairs, his wife may even divorce him. even if she stays married to him, he still lost a lot. plus the fact that he was totally humiliated in a court of law and in the media and also around the world. worst of all he has his wife and the rest of his family to think about. he also misses his cat terribly because rosie is like a child to him and his wife, and now she is like a single parent. i would say that psychologically, he is suffering more than anyone else in prison. capital punishment by death would be quick and over with once it happens. physical punishment of any type is just that: physical pain. but the mind can be much more punishing. ***STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM HIS WIFE!!!***

  13. I have been looking at some of the "live feed" from CBC. All I can say is it is so shocking. Just imagine that someday this man could have possibly become our Chief of Defense Staff. What made him so sick to become such a monster? My heart & prayers go to the victims & their families.