Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Russell Williams: The Kinky Killer Colonel

And a Criminal Career

Photo of part of Williams' panty collection
Photo of part of Williams' panty collection

Experts tell us that most sex offenders start their habits young and wind down in their 40s, but investigators are confident that Col. David Russell Williams' crimes didn't begin until he was 44, when he started breaking into neighbors' houses.

In September 2007, Cosy Cove Lane neighbors Ron and Monique Murdoch and their children were visiting Monique's dying mother in nearby Sudbury. Williams entered the unlocked and empty Tweed house and went into their 12-year-old daughter's room.

Photo of part of Williams' panty collection
Photo of part of Williams' panty collection

The colonel spent three hours there, trying on different pairs of the girl's underwear and photographing himself. He left with six pairs of her underwear and bras.

He'd return twice more to this girl's room over the next few years, and he'd break in to 47 other neighbors' homes too, returning to one of them nine times. He scoped out the homes—and their female inhabitants—during the jogs that he took to maintain his military physique.

No one seems to have suspected that the colonel was unleashing a dark side. Williams kept playing cards and drinking beer with the Murdochs. He continued to practice his French with Monique. Their daughter taught him cribbage and baked cupcakes and cookies for him and his wife; she cat-sat his new cat, Rosebud, and even did a school project on him. Williams took the girl and her brother tubing on the lake.

Williams' self portraits (front)
Williams' self portraits (front)

In retrospect, some neighbors say now that 2007 was a rough year for Williams. His elderly cat, Curio, had to be put to sleep; he cried when telling friends about the loss. And he began a battle with chronic pain.

He started taking a roster of drugs for his aches. Prednisone, used to treat a variety of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, has been blamed for manic behavior and even bipolar disorder and psychotic disorders. In an anonymous letter to the Toronto Star, a writer claiming to be a former coworker said that Williams had been on strong medications that changed his behavior. Another unnamed source confirmed this to the Star, and identified the drug as prednisone.

Next-door neighbor Monique Murdoch has also confirmed that Williams had been taking prednisone since returning from Dubai, and that the pain or the medications that combated it contributed to the colonel's insomnia.

Williams' self portraits (back)
Williams' self portraits (back)

Canadian Air Force flight surgeon guidelines warn that systemic corticosteroids like prednisone are not compatible with flight duties. Williams' medical treatment would have been supervised by a military doctor.

But at the time no one seems to have been concerned about the colonel's behavior. Residents in this small town often didn't lock their doors, and they never noticed anything amiss. If it hadn't been for his more severe later crimes and the meticulous documentation Williams compiled of his offenses, they might never have known there was a dangerous pervert next door.

In September 2009, though, he escalated his crimes, and attacked two women.

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