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Colonel Russell Williams former Commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton is escorted from the Belleville courthouse, October 18, 2010. (FRED THORNHILL/Fred Thornhill/Reuters)
Colonel Russell Williams former Commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton is escorted from the Belleville courthouse, October 18, 2010. (FRED THORNHILL/Fred Thornhill/Reuters)

Col. Williams's murder victims pleaded for their lives before death Add to ...

Editor's Note: The following story contains graphic details that may disturb some readers.

Colonel Russell Williams's two murder victims took opposite approaches to saving their lives when he began his vicious attacks on them - one fought valiantly and was beaten into submission, while the other did everything she could to co-operate.

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Neither approach slowed the confessed killer, a Belleville, Ont., court heard Tuesday.

Both were subjected to hours of beatings, bondage and repeated sexual assaults; both had their ordeals photographed and recorded on videos; and both died at his hands after pleading for their lives.

The former rising military star and base commander showed no mercy to either.

The court had been warned that the details of the two killings were horrific. The prosecution chose not to show the photos or videos, but the verbal descriptions alone touched off both horror and weeping.

The evidence presented to the court Tuesday was part of Col. Williams's sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty Monday to murder in the deaths of Jessica Lloyd, 27, who worked for a school-bus company, and of Corporal Marie-France Comeau, 37, who was under his command.

He also entered guilty pleas Monday to two other sexual assaults and more than 80 fetish break-ins where he stole lingerie and other items of clothing, posed in the women's and girls' garb, often while masturbating, and then took extensive photos of his crimes.

Col. Williams was formally found guilty on all charges this afternoon after prosecutors finished reading the statement of facts, which the defence had accepted in advance.

By law, he will be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years. The Canadian military said Monday it will strip him of his rank after conviction. By law, he will retain his military pension.

The court was told that Cpl. Comeau, Col. Williams's first murder victim, initially fought off his attack and later pleaded for her life as he bound her, beat her, raped her repeatedly and recorded his crimes.

"You're going to kill me, aren't you?" she asked her killer near the end of the attack, court heard.

"Have a heart, please. ... I want to live."

But the colonel, apparently worried that police might connect him to other sexual assaults if she lived and reported the attack, ignored her pleas, covered her airways with duct tape and let her suffocate, court was told.

Ms. Lloyd tried a different approach.

"She is obviously doing everything she can to co-operate and not upset her attacker," Crown attorney Lee Burgess said as he described the contents of a video that Col. Williams made of the attacks. The video was not shown in court.

Mr. Burgess said she was so compliant that she apologized when she tried to block the colonel from fondling her. She even remained so when Col. Williams asked her: "Do you want to die?"

Col. Williams raped Ms. Lloyd in her home, then drove her, still bound, to his nearby cottage, where he raped and abused her again.

"If I die, will you tell my mom that I love her," Ms. Lloyd asked at one point near the end of her ordeal. The courtroom was filled with the sounds of weeping as the prosecutor recounted that part of the video.

During the police interrogation after his arrest, court heard, Col. Williams was asked whether he would have continued sex attacks if he had not been caught.

The colonel replied: "It's a difficult question to answer."

He then said he believed he would continue breaking into homes and stealing lingerie, at least.

On the night of Cpl. Comeau's murder, Nov. 25, 2009, a masked Col. Williams broke into her home and stayed in the basement, waiting for her to go to sleep.

Instead, Cpl. Comeau came downstairs, dressed in a shawl, looking for her cat. She screamed and called him a bastard. He beat her on the head with a red flashlight in an effort to subdue her.

The colonel, who "brought a kit" with him into the house, overpowered her, then tied her arms with rope and bound her to a pole in the basement. Her arms were bruised in the struggle and her back was badly bruised by a pin sticking out of the pole to which she was tied. He took two photos of her bound to the pole, silenced with duct tape, naked but draped with the shawl.

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