Eastern Ontario was appalled and shocked to find themselves in the geographic centre of a military upset. This is not the typical military upset; quite the opposite in fact. A senior officer who was being groomed for the highest ranks in the military has been arrested on 2 first degree murder charges as well as 2 earlier counts of forcible confinement and sexual assault. Four young women; one clever chameleon. Many are shocked because this upstanding, community and military minded gentleman does not fit the perceived stereotype of the serial killer. We seem to have this preconceived notion that we would be able to spot a serial killer the instant we lay eyes on them or the thought that we would pick up on little “trinkets” that would set off bells and whistles and alert us. The people who study the minds of serial killers stress that these psychopaths are remarkably adept at creating facades that can fool everyone. The long-term offenders in fact have learned to encapsulate that part of their life so well that they are most often the last person you’d ever suspect. They are so blindingly innocent; more innocent in fact than a truly innocent man. This is the reason that they are able to get away with murder for so long. They are the complete antithesis of the monster that they actually are.
This particular man is described as quiet, possibly even awkward at times. A top commander of Air Force operations across the country who seemed, as described by an outsider, like “a shining bright star”. A lover of blues music, a gifted musician and married. The surviving sexual assault victims were bound naked to chairs and photographed by their attacker. The courts must prove his guilt; but he looks like he fits neatly into the category of serial killer and rapist at this point. Cold case files and Ontario investigators will be probing into other possible attacks and murders in the past after the court system works through the details of these current cases.
If found guilty, one might be apt to reconcile this as a case of a person just “snapping” or “cracking under pressure”. This would be an incorrect assessment. Allow me to clarify this thought. The truth is that this man allegedly took pictures of his victims, kept trophies and managed to attack these women when there were no other witnesses. In order to achieve that, there is some planning involved. The research must be done on the victims in advance of the attack such as monitoring favourite haunts and daily schedules. These were not random attacks. To use the excuse that something must have spurred him to impetuously attack these women does not hold water. All attacks were thought out; consciously and meticulously. The attacks are close to home; close to his comfort level in the community. Familiar with the victims, familiar with the escape routes, etc. There may well be more victims to come forward; those who have been scared into silence knowing that this individual may walk amongst them and not able to identify him (his trademark during the other sexual attacks has been to instruct the victim not to look at him or he’d have to kill them).
The classic rage and anger aspect does not initially seem prevalent in the world of Wing Commander Cpl. Russ Williams; however we may never know for sure. The possibility of the control and power being the draw for this man is real. Many times serial killers cannot satisfy their need for control or power in a socially acceptable way and consequently they may make their victims pay for this through the attack. And this man was quite accustomed to socially acceptable power being the commanding officer in charge at a large military base in Trenton, Ontario. Perhaps it wasn’t enough; maybe we’ll never know.
As the story unfolds, we will no doubt become privy to some of the finer details of the case. Some will be held back in order to allow the legal system to process and mete out justice. The chameleon has meted out his own form of justice already. It is now time to honour the memories of the young women who died and to lay to rest the shadows of the past for the surviving victims. Perhaps in all of this process; there will be a further reconciliation for others that may have fallen prey to this man in earlier years. It’s the very most we can hope for.