Prosecutors show Canada commander's confession

AP News
Posted: Oct 20, 2010 8:54 PM
Prosecutors show Canada commander's confession

Prosecutors on Wednesday showed a packed courtroom a video of the former commander of Canada's largest air force base breaking down and confessing to raping and murdering two women during a police interrogation.

Earlier this week, Col. Russell Williams, 47, who once flew prime ministers and served as a pilot to Queen Elizabeth II during a 2005 visit, pleaded guilty to the rape and asphyxiation deaths of two women. He also pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two other women and 82 counts of breaking-and-entering, during which he stole hundreds of items of underwear and lingerie.

In the video, shown on the third day his of sentencing hearing, the former military officer initially appears calm and collected, denying everything until he is confronted with a footprint matching his boot treads to those found in and around the home of murder victim Jessica Lloyd, 27.

At that point, Williams drops his head and remains silent for several minutes, before eventually confessing.

In an almost matter-of-fact manner, Williams explains how he stalked the two women and broke into their homes while they were away to confirm they lived alone, before returning to rape and kill them.

He said he struck both women in the head with a flashlight to subdue them before he bound their hands and duct taped their eyes and mouths to enable him to repeatedly rape them. He said he barked orders for them to perform sexual acts. And before he beat them again, he forced them to model their underwear while he photographed them.

After hours of repeated rape and torture, he murdered both women. He placed duct tape over Marie France Comeau's nose and mouth, he said, as the 37-year-old corporal pleaded with him to spare her life.

He said he strangled Lloyd with rope before he bound her unconscious body with duct tape, dumping it in a forest four days after he killed her.

Family and friends of the victims sobbed as Williams revealed the chilling details. In court, the convicted serial killer listened to his own confession and as the courtroom gasped, he slumped in his seat, with his head held down, never glimpsing the monitor or making eye contact with members of the court.

"I am tortured every time I think about the fear and torture he put her through. I would have never believed I would outlive my children. I would not wish this experience on anyone," said Roxanne Lloyd, the mother of Jessica Lloyd, in her victim impact statement read today.

The charges against the elite pilot shocked Canada and its military. A 23-year military veteran, Williams had never served in combat but had been stationed across Canada and internationally, including a stint in 2006 as commanding officer of Camp Mirage, the secretive Canadian Forces base widely reported to be near Dubai.

Williams was photographed in January with Canada's defense chief and its top general during an inspection of a Canadian aircraft on its way to support relief efforts in earthquake-stricken Haiti. Williams killed his second victim just over a week later.

He is expected to be formally sentenced on Thursday and will be provided with an opportunity to make a statement to the court.

He faces an automatic sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years. Lawyers have used the sentencing hearing to enter details of the crimes into court records to minimize Williams' chances of successfully applying for parole.