|Williams had a bright future with Canada’s military.|
BELLEVILLE, Ontario — A commander who was a rising star in Canada’s military pleaded guilty yesterday to murdering two women, sexually assaulting two others, and breaking into the bedrooms of dozens of girls as young as 11 and stealing their underwear.
Colonel Russell Williams, who flew prime ministers and served as a pilot to Queen Elizabeth II during a 2005 visit, was the commander of Canada’s largest Air Force base until he was charged earlier this year.
He pleaded guilty to two first-degree murder charges, two sexual assaults, and 82 breaking and entering charges in a Belleville court. The 47-year-old faces an automatic sentence of life in prison with no possibility for parole for at least 25 years.
Williams was expressionless and kept his head down as the charges were read. The list of charges was so long that it took nearly 40 minutes to read it into the record.
“Guilty, your honor,’’ he said after the charges were entered.
Prosecutors said Williams targeted girls and women in their teens and 20s and often photographed himself in their underwear. Prosecutors also said Williams videotaped the assaults and murders.
Williams, who was born in England and raised in Canada, had a promising future with the military. The square-jawed officer was photographed in January with Defense Minister Peter MacKay and Canada’s top general during an inspection of a Canadian aircraft on its way to support relief efforts in Haiti.
Williams pleaded guilty to the murder of Jessica Lloyd, 27, whose body was found in February, and Marie Comeau, a 38-year-old corporal under his command who was found dead in her home last November. Both women were asphyxiated.