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Col. Russell Williams, Top Canadian Commander, Admits Fetish-Fueled Murders

Col. Russell Williams (AP Photo, file)
Canada Military Bombshell: Russell Williams, Top Commander, Exposed As Serial Killer
Col. Russell Williams (AP Photo, file)

BELLEVILLE, Ontario (CBS/AP) Col. Russell Williams had a stellar reputation. As an elite pilot, he flew Canadian dignitaries all over the country. He became commander of Canada's largest air force base.

But on Monday, he was exposed as a serial killer with a shocking fetish for girls' panties that he documented in a trove of twisted photos of himself.

At a hearing that reduced victims' relatives to tears, the lurid photos were shown one by one in court as Williams, 47, pleaded guilty to murdering two women, sexually assaulting two others and committing dozens of break-ins in which he stole underwear from the bedrooms of girls as young as 11.

He faces an automatic sentence of life in prison with no possibility for parole for at least 25 years.

Among other crimes, Williams pleaded guilty to murdering 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.

Williams also pleaded guilty to attacking two other women during separate home invasions in the Tweed, Ontario, area in 2009. One of the women, a 21-year-old single mother, said she was tied up, blindfolded, stripped and held captive for more than two hours while he forced her into sexual acts and photographed her.

Prosecutors said Williams targeted girls and women in their teens and 20s and often photographed himself in their underwear, which he then stole and cataloged at home.

At the sentencing hearing following his guilty plea, prosecutors warned the court they would be presenting evidence that was "extremely disturbing." Prosecutor Lee Burgess said many of the facts would be difficult for his victims to hear, but it was "important to have a full account of the crimes."

Burgess began by presenting photos of Williams wearing a 12-year-old girl's cartoon-decorated underwear.

Many of the pictures showed a serious-looking Williams masturbating in or with the stolen lingerie. In one picture, he appears to be wearing his military uniform with his trousers dropped to expose pink panties.

Authorities said Williams carefully cataloged the photos of himself with time and date stamps on hard drives in his Ottawa home.

Prosecutors also said Williams videotaped the assaults and murders.

Authorities said Williams came to the attention of investigators during a police roadblock a few days after Lloyd was reported missing. Tire tracks from his vehicle matched the ones they were looking for.

"He's just a very twisted individual," retired Lt. Gen. Angus Watt, who once promoted Williams, said earlier this year, "There's no two ways about it."

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