NPR logo Canadian Military Officer Sentenced To Life For Murders And Rape

Canadian Military Officer Sentenced To Life For Murders And Rape

A Canadian judge has sentenced Col. Russell Williams to life in prison for two murders and a host of other charges, from breaking and entering to sexual assault.

Col. Russell Williams is interrogated by police in this image from a video provided by the court. Williams told police that while he did ask himself why he raped and killed women, he could never come up with an answer and he was “pretty sure the answers don't matter.” AP/Canadian Press hide caption

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AP/Canadian Press

Williams, a decorated pilot, pleaded guilty Monday to murdering Jessica Lloyd, 27, and Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 38. Evidence in the case included extensive video footage Williams had recorded when he held the women against their will and forced them into sexual acts.

Police had compiled a wealth of forensic evidence against Williams, who commanded Canada's largest air force base. But as an article in the Globe and Mail recounts, investigators collected a DNA sample from the officer before listing the other evidence against him.

Addressing the court Thursday, Williams, 47, wept before his sentence was announced, saying, "I deeply regret what I have done and the harm I know I have caused. I've committed despicable crimes."

The grisly details of the crimes were even more shocking when added to the fact that the man who committed them was once entrusted with flying planes for VIP visitors to Canada — including Queen Elizabeth II.

The CBC has extensive coverage of the trial, including a video interview with Williams, and a biography of the Canadian Air Force officer.

In hearings this week, families of the victims were brought to tears by video recordings of Williams' victims in their final hours. In one recording heard in court Tuesday, Jessica Lloyd asks Williams, "If I die, will you make sure my mom knows that I love her?"

In all, Williams plead guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two sexual assaults and more than 80 counts of breaking-and-entering the homes of women and young girls. In those crimes, he took hundreds of undergarments — some of which he then wore at home, as photographic evidence in the case showed.

As part of his sentence, Williams would not be eligible for parole for at least 25 years. The Canadian military says he will also be stripped of his medals and pay.