Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Russell Williams: The Kinky Killer Colonel


Col. David Russell Williams
Col. David Russell Williams

He was the pride of the Canadian Armed Forces. But the Colonel was also a panty-stealing sex criminal whose spiral of erotic obsessions ended in multiple assaults and two murders.

Col. David Russell Williams led an enviable life. He was a respected commander in the Canadian military, and he was being groomed for higher posts. He and his wife had a long marriage and owned two houses in neighborhoods where they were parts of friendly, stable communities. His official military biography noted that the couple liked to golf, and it said that he enjoyed fishing, running and, notably, photography.

But something went wrong. This shining star of the Canadian military turned into a sex criminal. And his love of photography, along with the obsessive attention to detail that made him such an able commander, would not only spur his deviance, it would provide the evidence that would sink him.

Williams' self portrait
Williams' self portrait

Over the course of two years, the mild-mannered colonel abruptly manifested a cascade of perversion and violence in Ottawa and the eastern Ontario towns of Belleville, Brighton and Tweed . He began by breaking into neighbors' homes and photographing himself in womens' and girls' underwear; then he sexually assaulted a pair of women; finally, he murdered two victims.

And all the while he kept detailed records, including photographs, videos, and notes, that would aid in his prosecution—and make him infamous one of North America's sickest sex criminals.

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