Canada's bright, shining star.
February 9, 2010 1:40 AM   Subscribe

Colonel Russell Williams is an elite pilot. He has flown the aircraft carrying the Prime Minister and the Governor General of Canada on both domestic and overseas flights. He commands CFB Trenton, Canada's largest air force base and home of much of the nation's aviation might. Colonel Williams has been "a shining bright star" of Canada's military. He has hobnobbed with top brass, both political and military.

He is also accused of being a serial rapist, home invader, and murderer..
posted by Justinian (90 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Classic Antisocial Personality Disordered (ASPD) malignant.

A rather rabid article on the subject: "Military institutions are tailor-made for psychopathic killers."
posted by nickyskye at 3:04 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]




No damn way is he being court martialed. According to a military expert I heard this morning, murder is one of the crimes that is definitely turned over to a civilian court.
posted by maudlin at 4:38 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


nickyskye, I'm not sure how you can go from the CBC article to "classic ASPD." Your link to the Wikipedia entry includes many symptoms that aren't even hinted at in, or contradicted by, the article. For example, the entry lists:
  • Inability to keep jobs or stay in school
  • Impulsivity and/or recklessness
  • Lack of realistic, long-term goals — an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals
  • Difficulties with authority figures
And it seems unlikely to me that someone with these traits would rise to the rank and responsibility Williams had.

As for the diagnostic criteria, the only one I can see Williams meeting is the over-18 age requirement.

I'm not saying you're wrong (and there certainly is precedent for discovering that a successful military man has sociopathic traits: see Jeffrey MacDonald.), but a snap diagnosis based on news coverage seems a bit unwarranted. Did you have other sources of information?
posted by underthehat at 5:08 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would guess the guy is less a sociopath than an authoritarian leader in Bob Altemeyer's model, someone who scores high on both the power-mad and authoritarian scales. This would explain how he could rise so high in such a large organization while still thinking it's OK to just do whatever he wants. Gives you a warm feeling inside to note that, according to BA, the vast majority of politicians share the same set of traits.
posted by localroger at 5:40 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


That CBC article is among the least informative news articles I've read, and that's saying something. I am, of course, intrigued.
posted by rtha at 5:44 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Strange to look at the images on the slide show and correlate them to the dates of the murders. Many of them were taken a couple of months after; I'm surprised that someone could confine, rape, then murder someone, then do it again, all the while maintaining such a high-profile life. I mean, this isn't Jeffrey Dahmer working part time in a factory while living out of $50/mo. apartments. This was a friggin' Wing Commander. Full-time, frequently in the spotlight, wife and home… the whole shebang.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:03 AM on February 9, 2010


Seriously, rtha. It infuriates me how every quote printed oozes with snap judgments of guilt. Maybe they know more than I do (I'm certain I know less than I used to after reading that article), but surely there is someone in the town who is saying, "Well, it looks bad, but we don't know for sure yet. He hasn't been tried." Good luck finding an impartial jury in that town with schlock like this going around. That writer and the editors that published the article should really be ashamed of themselves.
posted by nosila at 6:08 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait...Canada has a military?
posted by PunkSoTawny at 6:36 AM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


That CBC article is among the least informative news articles I've read, and that's saying something. I am, of course, intrigued.

This.

I read the article and went, "and?"
posted by Leezie at 6:47 AM on February 9, 2010


Wait...Canada has a military?

Yes! They're the folks who show up and politely insist that you leave their country when the Mounties' humble request that you not enter is ignored.
posted by explosion at 6:49 AM on February 9, 2010


Started reading the article nickyskye linked to; should have stopped in the first para. where it so authoritatively states that Mark David Chapman was a CIA Mind Control subject; finally gave up when they started quoting Alex Jones.

It has to be said that there is a frightening amount of sexual assault both in the US and Canada, which has resulted in an increase in suicides among military personnel.

Having spent time with some military people who were victims of assault, I've heard a long list of ways how the institution goes out of its way to make their lives a living hell should they try to pursue any kind of justice - psychological intimidation, physical threats, isolation, physical violence. The lengths that fellow officers have gone to and the time they invest in making sure this does not proceed are staggering, and have overwhelmed the people I've known. This is by no means scientific, yet everything I read in Gavin de Becker's 'Gift of Fear' tells me my instincts should be listened to: For a guy of this rank to actually be in custody means there's some damn serious evidence pointing to him being the one.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:51 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mean, this isn't Jeffrey Dahmer

Bundy worked for a suicide prevention hotline and worked on the re-election campaign of Washington's Republican Governor Dan Evans. Evans was elected and he appointed Bundy to the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Committee. Bundy's political future seemed secure, when in 1973 he became assistant to Ross Davis, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party.

Gacy worked for the Jaycees and served as precinct captian in Norwood.

Not everyone is a creepy factory worker.
posted by stormpooper at 7:08 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait...Canada has a military?

We did, but now he's in jail.
posted by fatbird at 7:11 AM on February 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


He is also accused of being a serial rapist, home invader, and murderer.

And now you know... the rest of the story.
posted by smackfu at 7:22 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


A rather rabid article on the subject: "Military institutions are tailor-made for psychopathic killers."

You know that's written by a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, right?
posted by electroboy at 7:27 AM on February 9, 2010


Not everyone is a creepy factory worker.

I think Civil_Disobedient was commenting on the logistics, rather than the supposed community standing of said perp.

I read that not as serial killers or psychopaths are rarely creep factory workers but rather how did he find the time an how was he able to commit both murders while also being highly visible and being married and having a child.

But Civil_Disobedient can correct me if I an wrong. But that is how I read it.
posted by xetere at 7:27 AM on February 9, 2010


Wait...Canada has a military?

Indeed we do. There are 67,000 people in it, with an additional 26,000 in the reserves. It's one of the smallest national military forces in the world, but I suspect it makes a contribution that is out of proportion to its size. There are over 2500 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan right now, one of whom is the husband of a friend of mine. He hasn't even gotten to see his baby son yet, and won't meet him or see his wife or older son for months to come. And given that 139 Canadian soldiers have come home from Afghanistan in body bags so far, it rubs me the wrong way to read jokes about how the Canadian military doesn't exist.
posted by orange swan at 7:29 AM on February 9, 2010 [77 favorites]



stormpooper Gacy worked for the Jaycees and served as precinct captian in Norwood.

Norwood Park Township actually. He had his picture taken with the First Lady back then, His house is just a few blocks from me. It used to be 8213 Summerdale, but after they pulled all the bodies out, and demolished the place, a developer bought it, had the address changed to 8215 Summerdale, built a big new house on top of it and sold it to a couple from out of state who had no idea what had happened there. He used to sit on the corner stool at the bowling alley down the street. His friend still runs the Xmas tree lot next to the Ukranian church. I talked to his friends son about it, and he said all he remembers is that Gacy was just a total jaggoff...big mouth, all hat no cattle sort of guy, and the morning his mom drug him out of bed way early and turned on the TV and said look at this. It was all the news about taking the bodies out of the crawl space.

That, and he said a few days later they were having dinner and the phone rang. It was Gacy calling from jail, asking his dad if he wanted his clown suit, because he could make money with it.

I drive past that property a coupla times a week. And it freaks me out every single time.
posted by timsteil at 7:35 AM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


That CBC article is among the least informative news articles I've read, and that's saying something. I am, of course, intrigued.

Well, he was just accused of the crimes yesterday. The investigation is very much still underway; wouldn't want to taint it. Also, innocent until proven guilty, and all that.

Some call this sort of thing "responsible journalism," but, hey, I guess if Nancy Grace is more your speed, I can see how this might be a bit of a letdown.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:52 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember how, when they arrested Paul Bernardo, not only news photos of him but his entire wedding album of photos (he and Karla had a "fairytale" wedding involving the use of a white carriage drawn by white horses) were splashed over the Toronto papers. I was in publishing school then and we always had the daily newspapers in our classrooms. I remember one of my classmates saying the police had better have the right guy because his life was ruined. Of couse they did have the right guy — they had video tape he and his wife had made of their rape and torture of the young girls they abducted.

The media outlets know what the libel laws are. This kind of coverage almost certainly won't happen unless the police have conclusive evidence.
posted by orange swan at 8:03 AM on February 9, 2010


PunkSoTawny: Wait... Canada has a military?

You, sir, are an ass.

Really just seconding what Orange Swan said -

rah-rah American here, but nothing sets my teeth on edge like people mocking the Canadian military, especially after the sacrifices they've made in Afghanistan. Also, the Canadian military is filled with badasses and has ever been thus.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:10 AM on February 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also, mocking the Canadian military puts you in shitty company.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:12 AM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Americans have had some direct experience fighting against the Canadian military:
1755 – Braddock's defeat
1758 – Ticonderoga
1775 – Québec
1814 – Queenston Heights
posted by No Robots at 8:17 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's a joke. Get over it. There are no sacred cows on Metafilter until they're your sacred cows.
posted by PunkSoTawny at 8:45 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait...Canada has a military?
posted by PunkSoTawny at 6:36 AM on February


But seriously folks, what if airplane food was Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men but it was about farts, from tacos? Women be shopping white people dance funny like my Korean mother who says "me love you long time" who are these people France is gay what if the President was gay it could be like this: "Git-r-dun...in my butt" I don't come to where you work and slap the dick out of your mouth thanks you've been a great crowd!!!!!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:55 AM on February 9, 2010 [21 favorites]


Some call this sort of thing "responsible journalism," but, hey, I guess if Nancy Grace is more your speed, I can see how this might be a bit of a letdown.

Christ, it's not that I wanted the article to be nothing but breathless speculation, but the article is barely more than a police press release with some "But he's such a nice man!" quotes from neighbors. Given the tiny amount of information available (perhaps because of the publication ban? I don't know how those work/what they cover in Canada), it was about 10 paragraphs longer than it needed to be. The stuff about him being a "shining star" and what a "shock" all of this is is nothing but fluffy filler. That was the source of my complaint about the article.
posted by rtha at 9:04 AM on February 9, 2010


It's a joke. Get over it. There are no sacred cows on Metafilter until they're your sacred cows.

Actually, PunkSoTawny, I don't believe the point of Metafilter is to declare open season on every sacred cow you can get in your crosshairs. A stupid snarky comment is a stupid snarky comment - in any thread.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:14 AM on February 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Given the tiny amount of information available (perhaps because of the publication ban? I don't know how those work/what they cover in Canada), it was about 10 paragraphs longer than it needed to be. The stuff about him being a "shining star" and what a "shock" all of this is is nothing but fluffy filler. That was the source of my complaint about the article.

Sorry. I just thought that when you said, "That CBC article is among the least informative news articles I've read, and that's saying something," you meant it had not enough information, rather than too much. My bad.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:19 AM on February 9, 2010


Canada's military has also suffered the highest proportion of deaths in Afghanistan. So you know, bad taste to insult them and all.
posted by hydrobatidae at 9:29 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I meant not enough meaningful information, and too much "so what?" non-information.
posted by rtha at 9:32 AM on February 9, 2010


A rather rabid article on the subject: "Military institutions are tailor-made for psychopathic killers."

Nickysky, thanks for bringing to my attention one of the most bat-shit-insane articles I have read in a long, long time.

Never read anything in 'The Canadian' before; if any their other contributing editorials contain as mush as a tenth of the loony conspiracy 9-11 insider nonsense embedded therein (and Bush is a child rapist? Who knew?!?!), let it be known this publication has absolutely no credibility whatsoever.
posted by tiger yang at 9:35 AM on February 9, 2010


The story is still breaking, he was only arrested yesterday afternoon. He hasn't even been arraigned yet. More info is starting to come out:

Globe and Mail on how the arrest happened.
Here's a shot of the current Minister of Defense with the man.
An analysis of the warrant, disclosing more of the police reasoning from the National Post.
posted by bonehead at 9:40 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd really like to think something in a person's face or demeanor could tip you to the possibility of this kind of behavior, even in retrospect, but I certainly can't see it in the colonel.

I do think people who commit these sorts of crimes are to be found in the military surprisingly often, not because the military produces them, but more because they think the total discipline of the military will help them channel, contain, subdue and stifle the obsessions which eat away at them from the inside like some monstrous larvum, a larvum which ultimately breaks out in a gruesome and horrifying metamorphosis despite everything they are able to do.

Colonel Williams' misfortune was to become a base commander, with all the terrible freedoms that implies.
posted by jamjam at 9:40 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait... Canada has a military?

Indeed, and apropos of the recent Simo thread, a Canadian holds the current record for longest confirmed sniper kill.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:56 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


It really is early days on this.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:07 AM on February 9, 2010


bonehead, thanks for those links.
posted by rtha at 10:10 AM on February 9, 2010


It's a joke.

Naaah, jokes are funny. Are you sure this is funny?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:12 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the allegations prove true, shades of Dean Koontz' Intensity. Sometimes reality is weirder than fiction.
posted by bearwife at 10:19 AM on February 9, 2010


I'm surprised that someone could confine, rape, then murder someone, then do it again

To be clear, the two women he is charged with confining and raping are different women than the ones he is accused of murdering. So that makes at least four attacks. And a bunch of cold cases have been reopened, including the murder of a 19 year old woman also on CFB Trenton in 2001. It seems clear they are treating this as a serial killer case.

The whole thing is surreal.
posted by Justinian at 10:20 AM on February 9, 2010


The police also seem pretty clear that more charges are pending. Like the Bernardo/Homolka case, this appears like it will get a lot worse that the initial arrest. The comparisons to Bernardo seem quite apt, at least in terms of the scale of crimes Williams is alleged and rumored to have committed. Much more to come, I think.
posted by bonehead at 10:33 AM on February 9, 2010


It's a joke. Get over it. There are no sacred cows on Metafilter until they're your sacred cows.

The joke is so old that it's no longer funny. However, considering that nothing originally funny comes out of American's mouths, and so Canadians have all but taken over Hollywood, I suppose this is understandable.

Hey, what? It goes both ways. This is fine, but it's a little tiring to hear this joke Every Single Time the Canadian military is mentioned, especially on this (often and usually) USA-centric forum.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 11:55 AM on February 9, 2010


That CBC article is among the least informative news articles I've read, and that's saying something. I am, of course, intrigued.

I don't know that it was uninformative so much that it was measured. While reading I was glad that I wasn't regaled with supposition and speculation. At first I was bored, then I realized, "Hey, this is how news is supposed to be reported."

Yet another reason I'd like to move to Canada. I'm pretty sure they don't break into television programing to say, "Something crashed and blew up. See the smoke plume? We'll keep you posted and let you know as details stream in."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:09 PM on February 9, 2010


Guys, you can't say "stop picking on us" and expect the sort of people who say things like "Canada has a military?" to stop picking on you.

Instead, say something like, "I'm surprised you haven't heard of them since despite landing on the second most fortified beach in Normandy they penetrated farther into France than any other force on D-Day." Then counter by slamming the US education system. Grabbing your crotch at this point is optional.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:14 PM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Hey, this is how news is supposed to be reported."

Well, until a total media blackout gag-order gets imposed and the media is no longer legally allowed to talk about the case any more. That can happen in Canada. So it's not exactly the perfect responsible, free press.
posted by Justinian at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2010


Ah yes, Juno Beach. The 2nd most heavily defended beach on D-Day.
posted by electroboy at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2010


Wait ... Canada has serial rapists, home invaders, and murderers?
posted by Xoebe at 12:37 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I clarified here, Ruthless Bunny. It felt like they had X amount of column inches to fill, and wrote to fill it. At least they didn't fill it with wink-wink-nudge-nudge speculation, so I suppose I should be grateful for that.
posted by rtha at 12:40 PM on February 9, 2010


Wait ... Canada has serial rapists, home invaders, and murderers?

Just the one.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:53 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The body of Kathleen MacVicar, 19, of Glace Bay was found at the military base on June 2001. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed.
Trenton colonel's charges spur cold case review
posted by bonehead at 12:56 PM on February 9, 2010


Just the one.

I'm not sure if this is a joke I'm missing or what. If not, it's certainly not true.
posted by Justinian at 1:01 PM on February 9, 2010


Wait ... Canada has serial rapists, home invaders, and murderers?

Not as many as I thought, but still more than a few.
posted by electroboy at 1:02 PM on February 9, 2010


Just the one.

A friend was a forensic pathologist for the RCMP. He spent several months processing the mud from Robert Pickton's pigsty, pulling out DNA signature after DNA signature to identify victims for whom no other trace remained.

He's not a forensic pathologist with the RCMP anymore.
posted by fatbird at 1:21 PM on February 9, 2010


What happened to him, fatbird? I mean, I could surmise, but...
posted by bicyclefish at 1:47 PM on February 9, 2010


Yes, it was sarcasm. Holy freaking duh.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:59 PM on February 9, 2010


The day he moved up from pulling DNA samples off of underwear to analyzing blood spatter was the high point of his (early) career. But after the months he spent working his little corner of the Pickton case, he was just too depressed to keep being a forensic pathologist. He couldn't talk about it. All he could say was "I hate my life right now." Noble sounding platitudes about helping the victims in whatever small way he could broke down under the horror of what he had to do.

[For those not up on the Pickton case, Pickton was a farmer who murdered prostitutes and disposed of their bodies by giving them to the pigs to eat. DNA remaining in the pigsty mud allowed the police to identify several victims who'd been missing for years].
posted by fatbird at 2:01 PM on February 9, 2010


Can't say I'm really impressed by the title to this post. Very few and far between are those Canadians who would identify a military commander as an example of a bright, shining star. We tend to reserve that sort of accolade for the likes of Tommy Douglas, who is fundamentally responsible for Canada having a great healthcare system.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:10 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


We tend to reserve that sort of accolade for the likes of Tommy Douglas, who is fundamentally responsible for Canada having a great healthcare system.

Or really good hockey players.
posted by electroboy at 2:35 PM on February 9, 2010


Can't say I'm really impressed by the title to this post.

First, that's a quote. Okay, the quote is "shining, bright star" but you'll forgive me that leeway I hope. It is from a Canadian Major General and serves as the headline to many of the articles about the story. So there's that. Secondly, the idea was to contrast what appears at first to be a post about a stereotypically larger than life airman figure who most recently participated in Canada's heroic relief effort in Haiti... except, oops, he's a serial killer.

But even if that doesn't work for you, yeah, it's a quote about the guy.
posted by Justinian at 2:51 PM on February 9, 2010


Also, Wendel Clark >> all. Go Leafs!
posted by Justinian at 2:52 PM on February 9, 2010


Oops, forgot the link. For contrast, here are the Greatest Americans and the Greatest Britons. Interestingly, both the American and Canadian lists include Alexander Graham Bell; Pierre Trudeau shows up on both the best and worst lists and the British list includes Thomas Paine.
posted by electroboy at 2:59 PM on February 9, 2010


This guy is all over the papers today. It's a horrible thing.

Something that strikes me is how brazen this guy was. (If he is guilty.) The Google map in that Globe and Mail story shows that the crimes occurred around Trenton and the Colonel's home, with the two sexual assaults happening on the same road as his house. And this guy is a public figure. Not a celebrity, but certainly well known in the area. It's like he couldn't conceive of the idea that anyone would put the pieces together and catch him. Maybe he thought that he was invincible. He probably doesn't think that anymore.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:04 PM on February 9, 2010


Wait...Canada has a military?

The account that posted this is now disabled, but I wanted to say the same thing orange swan did above - when your troops are dying at a higher rate than U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, when you're one of only two U.S. allies that sends its troops to fight without tying their hands with caveats, it bothers me to see people make jokes like this. It stopped being funny a while ago.

I’ll never forgive Richard Perle for making a joke on TV about how Canadians are good for some humanitarian reconstruction after the fact on the day that four Canadian combat soldiers were killed in Afghanistan – by an American bomb.
posted by Dasein at 3:09 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kevin Street: There is a not uncommon aspect to the mental defect that leads to this kind of sexual sadism where an organized, careful killer devolves over time into a disorganzed, brazen, careless killer. I have no idea if that's what is going on here but certainly it wouldn't be all that surprising if somebody who did these sorts of things ended up doing so quite brazenly despite not starting out that way.
posted by Justinian at 3:11 PM on February 9, 2010


It infuriates me how every quote printed oozes with snap judgments of guilt.

But the tire tracks match his car. That's enough, isn't it?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:18 PM on February 9, 2010


underthehat: not sure how you can go from the CBC article to "classic ASPD."

"Col. Russell Williams was charged on Sunday with the murder of two women...also charged with the sexual assault of two other women after having broken into their homes."

4 charges in all.

There is a Diagnostic Statistical Manual overlap of Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy, that psychologists are working on clarifying.

"Yet psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of business, politics, law enforcement, government, academia and other social structures (Babiak). It is the egocentric, cold-blooded and remorseless psychopaths who blend into all aspects of society and have such devastating impacts on people around them who send chills down the spines of law enforcement officers."

This site helps elucidate a bit.

"Psychopaths:

About 80-85% of incarcerated criminals have Antisocial Personality Disorder. However, only about 20% of these criminals would qualify for a diagnosis of being a psychopath. Most psychopaths meet the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, but most individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder are not psychopaths. Psychopaths account for 50 percent of all the most serious crimes committed, including half of all serial killers and repeat rapists."
posted by nickyskye at 6:10 PM on February 9, 2010


Wait...Canada has a military?

The account that posted this is now disabled


And we merely proved him wrong and called him an ass and his joke not funny. But I guess no cow is sacred unless it's yours.

I kept thinking all day yesterday about Master Cpl. Jody Mitic, a Canadian soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan. Now that he's adjusted to his injuries well enough to be able to run half-marathons, he wants to return to Afghanistan as a helicopter gunner. Yes, Canada certainly has a military.
posted by orange swan at 5:33 AM on February 10, 2010


Not to rain on your parade, but it's possible he just got a time out.
posted by electroboy at 6:17 AM on February 10, 2010


It infuriates me how every quote printed oozes with snap judgments of guilt.

But the tire tracks match his car. That's enough, isn't it?



Well, it looks like there's this.

Really bizarre, brazen, and careless and ditto the comments on 'where did he find the time?'.
posted by mazola at 6:34 AM on February 10, 2010


And his wife didn't know anything about any of this? That surprises me more than his co-workers not knowing. I'm guessing their relationship dynamic must have been very much him about being the authoritarian head of the household and and her never questioning him in any way.
posted by orange swan at 8:11 AM on February 10, 2010


I think it's quite possible his wife was in the dark about this, and in an honest way.

I imagine he used the demands of his position as cover for his activity. It's possible that his wife just trusted him, but that's just speculation.

Lastly, it sounds like the police did a good job breaking this case. There was a component of luck to be sure, but the luck factored in only after a bunch of good work including obtaining tire tracks and deciding to set up the roadside check in the first place. Good job.
posted by mazola at 8:38 AM on February 10, 2010


"There is a not uncommon aspect to the mental defect that leads to this kind of sexual sadism where an organized, careful killer devolves over time into a disorganzed, brazen, careless killer. I have no idea if that's what is going on here but certainly it wouldn't be all that surprising if somebody who did these sorts of things ended up doing so quite brazenly despite not starting out that way."

Yeah, it looks like you're right. He started with four dozen(!) break-ins, then the two sexual assaults, and then the two murders. A clear escalation, with enough evidence left at the last crime to finally pin him down. And in between crimes he was this model leader who nobody suspected at all. It's mind boggling how the man could keep the two halves of his life separated like that.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:27 AM on February 10, 2010


If I can indulge in some armchair-crime buff bluff, the fact that the two women we know he killed died in such a short span of time leads me to think he likely murdered at least one other person at some point in the past. There's usually a cooling off period after a serial killer's first murder, more than a couple of months as in this case.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:53 AM on February 10, 2010


About 80-85% of incarcerated criminals have Antisocial Personality Disorder.

But 80-85% of prisoners (in the USA) are potheads busted on simple possession. It seems really unlikely that they're all ASPDs.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:06 AM on February 10, 2010


But 80-85% of prisoners (in the USA) are potheads busted on simple possession

Now you're just making things up.
posted by electroboy at 12:04 PM on February 10, 2010


Tim Steil, it's a nice house too.

That was always my concern when buying a house. I guess the realtor rules are don't ask, don't tell. Pretty sick of them, then again, it's always about $, isn't it?

My friend worked with a woman whose son was a Gacy survivor--was cuffed and everything. Scary.
posted by stormpooper at 1:17 PM on February 10, 2010


four dozen(!) break-ins

Where are you seeing this? That's crazy.

Oh, they're examing cases as far back as 1992 now, when Williams lived in Manitoba. So it's possible he's been killing people for two decades but didn't get caught until he devolved.
posted by Justinian at 1:31 PM on February 10, 2010


The four dozen number appears to be all of the cold cases under review, not crimes he is (yet) linked to.
posted by bonehead at 2:08 PM on February 10, 2010


Now you're just making things up.

Sigh. I'd have thought that the larger point — that it seems unlikely that only 15% of the prison population isn't diagnosable as ASPD — would have been the more important thing for you to focus upon.

If you want exact numbers, about 12% of the US prison population is in on marijuana charges.

It seems very unlikely to me that the claim of there being a prison population that's 80–85% ASPD is true.

In looking up the actual number, I noticed that the US prison population really started soaring about the same time Reagan was put in office. Interestingly, this is also about the same time the US economy started doing very strange things. It makes one wonder if the two are connected. That's a shitload of people taken out of the workforce, out of the consumer market, and put into a very expensive tax-funded private enterprise.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:04 PM on February 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Where are you seeing this? That's crazy."

mazola's link to the Globe And Mail article.

"Colonel Russell Williams has given police a lengthy and wide-ranging statement about four dozen so-called "lingerie break-ins," two home invasions that turned into bizarre sexual assaults last September, and the murders of two young women, one a military steward with whom he may have flown."
posted by Kevin Street at 5:41 PM on February 10, 2010


And his wife didn't know anything about any of this? That surprises me more than his co-workers not knowing.

His wife is co-director (or something like that) of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and stayed in Ottawa for work weeks. Looks like he was left home alone quite a bit.
posted by raider at 7:30 PM on February 10, 2010


In looking up the actual number, I noticed that the US prison population really started soaring about the same time Reagan was put in office.

Unless that's just another "fact" you made up to advance your narrative.
posted by electroboy at 8:59 PM on February 10, 2010


Colonel Russell Williams has given police a lengthy and wide-ranging statement about four dozen so-called "lingerie break-ins,"

Yeesh.
posted by Justinian at 9:33 PM on February 10, 2010


Feel perfectly free to go look it up, electroboy, otherwise go blow.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:34 PM on February 10, 2010


I'm not the one making the assertion, nor did I make up my previous stats, so please do fuck off. You're also ignoring that shortly after Reagan's first term is when crack started appearing. I'm sure you have ideas about that as well.
posted by electroboy at 7:14 AM on February 11, 2010


This isn't important enough to me, while it is clearly very important to you. So you go have fun with that, ok?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:23 AM on February 11, 2010


Apparently, this arrest was driven by the behaviour profiling unit:
Highly-specialized OPP unit credited for speedy arrest
posted by bonehead at 7:51 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


His wife is co-director (or something like that) of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and stayed in Ottawa for work weeks. Looks like he was left home alone quite a bit.

Ah, that would explain a lot. I'm going to assume she wasn't a Karla Homolka either. Poor woman. I can't imagine anything much more horrible than discovering you've been married to (meaning: living with, sleeping with, loving) a serial killer/rapist. Finding out your husband has been cheating on you with the nanny or pool boy would pale by comparison.
posted by orange swan at 8:09 PM on February 11, 2010


From bonehead's link:
Teamwork is key ingredient among the [BSAS's] cerebral, highly specialized investigators. The team has established a fearsome reputation in recent years with a combination of criminal-profiling, polygraphing, forensic psychiatry, threat assessment, and research.

BSAS was not always so widely respected, recalls former Toronto coroner Jim Cairns, who had many dealings with the unit.

“When they started out years ago, some people were saying ‘Oh, this is just ivory tower nonsense – high falutin' university stuff, it's not really practical,'” he said.

“But they see things that don't stand out to other investigators.”
More detail on the BSAS here.

More about one component of the BSAS, the Violent Crime Linkage System (ViCLAS), including this detail that might help explain the "high falutin'" remark above:
Once ViCLAS was in place it was recognized that, although the system is quite easy to use, it would take experts to ask it the right questions and to interpret the results.

Each specialist, as they are known, is selected based on previous work experience. The ideal candidate should have a least five years of operational police experience in the investigation of serious crimes such as sexual assault and homicide. Additionally, they should have an academic background in the humanities and a good knowledge of computers and various software programs.
[my emphasis]
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:34 PM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yikes. That ViCLAS link is so depressing:

It was developed using the latest version of “FOXPRO for Windows” and would store the data on individual local networks...
A potential link is a situation where the ViCLAS specialist has reason to believe that a specific person, known or unknown, may be responsible for one or more crimes. When this occurs, the ViCLAS specialist connects the cases on the database in the form of a series.


The word "statistics" does not appear anywhere in the article. I wonder if it uses any stats to automatically flag clusters, or if it's completely manual?
posted by benzenedream at 8:51 AM on February 16, 2010


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