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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.

Col. Williams then dragged her bloody, unconscious body up the stairs to her bedroom where he tied Cpl. Comeau to her bed and raped her repeatedly over a period of hours as she struggled.

Cpl. Comeau made one last dash to escape when he left briefly to see if anyone was coming. He tracked her to the bathroom and bashed her in the head again with the flashlight, shattering a picture frame in the struggle. There were at least five blows to her head, face and ear.

He raped her again after the failed escape attempt - this time holding his camera while she pleaded for her life, saying: "I don't want to die. I don't want to die."

Indifferent to her pleas, Col. Williams covered all her airways with duct tape and she suffocated.

When he left the house, he drove to Ottawa for a meeting on the purchase of a C-17 aircraft.

Court was told he took extra precautions to try to cover up how he broke in but made one critical mistake and left a bloody footprint behind that police were later able to match to one of his boots.

The colonel told police he first noticed his second murder victim, Ms. Lloyd, while she was exercising on a treadmill in her basement on Jan. 27, 2010, the day before his attack. But the Crown cast doubt on his story. Ms. Lloyd lived alone on a rural stretch of highway between Belleville and Tweed, where Col. Williams has a cottage.

Col. Williams broke into Ms. Lloyd's home as she slept, restrained her with rope and duct-taped her eyes. He repeatedly sexually assaulted her, videotaping and photgraphing his attacks.

Later, Col. Williams drove Ms. Lloyd to his cottage on Cosy Cove Lane, where he forced her to have a shower while still bound. When she asked for clothes because she was cold, he left her to shiver in the bathtub.

"You have to take me to the hospital. You have to take me to the hospital or I'm going to die," Ms. Lloyd says on video, according to the Crown. She began having convulsions and slurring her words.

Col. Williams ignored her repeated cries for help. She pleaded with him: "I'm not making this up. I'm going to die."

His response? "Hang in there, baby. Hang in there."

Neither Ms. Lloyd's brother Andy nor their mother, Roxanne, who had attended most of the previous hearings for Col. Williams, were in court when the account of her death was read into the record. They left shortly before Cpl. Comeau's murder was described earlier in the day.

Court was also told that shortly after 9 a.m. on the day after the attack began, Ms. Lloyd's mother received a call from her daughter's employer, a school-bus company, saying that she had not reported for work.

The family later phoned the police, who discovered tire tracks in the field near her home. After publicity surrounding Ms. Lloyd's disappearance, three witnesses who had noticed an SUV parked nearby contacted the police. Col. Williams drove a Pathfinder SUV.

For several hours that same afternoon, Col. Williams forced Ms. Lloyd to model lingerie, duct tape still covering her eyes. Later, he gave her fruit and suggested they would leave. As she began walking, he struck her on the head with a flashlight, knocking her out and causing her to bleed. Then he strangled her with a rope and put her body in his garage.

Col. Williams spent that night at CFB Trenton and flew troops to California the next day. When he returned home three days later, he dumped Ms. Lloyd's body in an isolated area off a rural road.

After the Ontario Provincial Police narrowed the tire tracks in the field to tires used only on SUVs, officers set up a roadside canvas. In a stroke of luck, Col. Williams drove up in his Pathfinder within minutes. His tires were a match. Police set up surveillance and followed him to an Ottawa car wash, where he vacuumed out his vehicle. After he left, officers seized the vacuumed materials.

Police obtained a search warrant for his home, but first invited Col. Wililams for a voluntary interview. He attended and answered questions, despite a reminder that he had the right to contact a lawyer. He gave a print of his boots, which matched a print found in the field behind Ms. Lloyd's house.

At first, Col. Williams did not confess. But after being confronted with the boot print, and persistent questioning from Det. Sgt. Jim Smyth, the colonel told the officer: "I want to minimize the impact on my wife." He told the officer to get a map. Col. Williams pointed out a location and then took the officer to Ms. Lloyd's body. He also confessed to the murder of Cpl. Comeau and the attacks on his neighbours.

Col. Williams transferred the tapes of the attacks on Ms. Lloyd to his computer in the days between her death and his arrest. He wrapped the tapes in electrical tape and hid them in a piano at his cottage. During the police search of his Ottawa home, officers found a black skull cap, a guide to lock-picking, hard drives containing evidence of his crimes stored in the ceiling of his basement, and bags of women's underwear.

Earlier Tuesday, court also heard about one of the two sexual assaults to which the colonel pleaded guilty.

In September, 2009, he broke into the home of Laurie Massicotte, one of his neighbours in Tweed, after she fell asleep watching Law and Order. Ms. Massicotte has waived the right to have her name covered by a publication ban.

He blindfolded her, bound her hands with wire, used a knife to cut off her shirt, then told her he wouldn't rape her as long as she allowed him to photograph her naked body. Ms. Massicotte begged him not to put the photos on the Internet. Police recovered photos from Col. Williams's computer of Ms. Massicotte posing for him.

After the attack, the colonel photographed himself in his disguise - a black skull cap and a pair of Ms. Massicotte's underwear draped over his face like a mask.

Ms. Massicotte would later tell police she believed the voice of her attacker was that of neighbour Larry Jones. She was wrong, but Mr. Jones underwent enormous trauma while he was a police suspect. Not until Col. Williams was arrested was the cloud above Mr. Jones lifted.

In the colonel's confession, he told police he hoped to knock Ms. Massicotte out by bashing her in the head with a flashlight; but to his surprise, she fought back.

Court also heard earlier Tuesday that during a Nov. 17 break-in at a home near Belleville, Col. Williams stole more than 40 pieces of clothing, a pornographic movie and a sex toy. The homeowner said he left a message on their computer saying: "Go ahead and call the police. I want to show the judge your really big dildos." He also took a photo of the message and of their cat.

On Monday, in an eight-hour public shaming that officially shattered the elaborate lie that was his life and career, Crown prosecutors exposed the former air force commander as a murderer, rapist and conniving predator who targeted mostly women but sometimes girls as young as 12 years old.

His guilty pleas - which were so extensive it took a court clerk 34 minutes to read his crimes into the record - were a sideshow to an almost theatrical exposé of his sexual depravity. In an address to Mr. Justice Robert Scott, assistant Crown attorney Robert Morrison underscored how more than a dozen of his victims were under the age of 18, girls young enough to have dolls placed on their beds, or Tweety bird emblazoned on their underwear.

In the end, the colonel's steadfast routine of photographing and documenting every last step of his lingerie thefts was his undoing; the prosecution displayed photo after photo on two flat-screen televisions of the colonel sprawled out on numerous beds adorned with flowery duvets and wearing all manner of women's and girl's clothing: bras, slips, thongs and negligées. In most of the photos he is fondling himself, and in all of the photos he is wearing the same focused and determined look on his face.

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