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The Globe and Mail

Sex killer Russell Williams officially stripped of military rank

Russell Williams, a former Forces colonel convicted murderer, is serving a life sentence at Kingston Penitentiary.

Convicted sex killer Russell Williams is serving his life sentence as a civilian, having now been stripped of every last association with the Canadian Forces.

Mr. Williams, a former colonel, was at the helm of Canada's largest air force base, CFB Trenton, when he brutally murdered two women, one of whom was under his command at the base.

The Department of National Defence announced Friday it had retrieved Mr. Williams' two medals and commission scroll, which marks the final steps the Canadian Forces had to take before Mr. Williams was considered officially booted out of the military.

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It's important to have the final separation clear in people's minds, said Canadian Forces spokesman Cmdr. Hubert Genest.

"We're just satisfied that all the administrative steps were taken and we really wanted the Canadian public to know this so that there's a marker and we can move forward from this point on," he said.

It may not sound like a huge step, but it's a symbolic one, Cmdr. Genest said.

"I see it like a sentence," he said.

"When you put the final period at the end of the sentence the period is not much, but it means a lot. So that's what we were doing today."

The scroll will be shredded and the medals cut in small pieces and then thrown out to ensure they can never be re-used, Cmdr. Genest said.

Mr. Williams had two medals: the Canadian Forces Decoration Medal, given for good service, and the South West Asia Service Medal, for having served at least 30 days in Afghanistan. The scroll was an official document confirming Mr. Williams was a serving officer.

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Mr. Williams was convicted in October of first-degree murder in the killings of Corporal Marie-France Comeau, 38, of Brighton, Ont., and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville, Ont.

He also pleaded guilty to 82 fetish break-and-enters and thefts and two sexual assaults.

During Mr. Williams' sentencing hearing, court heard the SUV he used to kidnap Ms. Lloyd would be crushed and the hundreds of items of women's and girls' underwear and clothing he stole would be burned.

He was given a final medical exam last month and the Canadian Forces retrieved and disposed of his military clothing, equipment and publications.

The military took the extraordinary step of incinerating MR. Williams' uniform and clothing in a facility at CFB Trenton that is normally used to destroy declassified materials.

Mr. Williams' administrative release from the military was approved and his commission was revoked by Governor-General David Johnston on Oct. 22.

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