By day, Russell Williams was the commander of Canada’s biggest air force base, CFB Trenton. By night, he broke into homes, taking pictures of himself modeling the bras and panties of little girls.Although sociopaths are notoriously difficult to diagnose even for a trained psychological professional,the Col. David Russell Williams case has several hallmarks of sociopathic behavior. To friends, families, and co-workers, he seemed to be a successful leader in the community. He was outwardly admired for his strengths and his commitment to community and service were almost too perfect. Given his arrest for a string of crimes including two murders, however, it seems clear that his public persona was nothing more than a mask to hide his true identity. This is protypical behavior of a murderous sociopath.
He escalated quickly, from fetish break-ins, to sex assaults with no penetration to rape and murder. He logged his crimes, kept track of police reports of his crimes and left notes and messages for his victims. “Merci,” he thanked a 12-year-old in a typed message on her computer.
“Merci beaucoup,” he captioned a souvenir photo he took of his penis strapped to a sex toy he stole from a 24-year-old Ottawa victim in June 2008.
We learned that Williams made a video of his brutal beating and asphyxiation of Comeau after breaking into her home Nov. 24, 2009. He also made sex tapes of Lloyd after kidnapping her the night of Jan. 28, taking her to his cottage in Tweed, raping and torturing her for at least a day before dumping her corpse in a field.
Even more confirming of such a diagnosis would be his actions subsequent to his arrest. You would expect sociopaths when cornered to deny all allegations made against them, scrambling to come up with any plausible explanation for their behavior. A trapped sociopath will seem unflappable, confidently asserting his innocence. He is only half pretending. Ever an optimist, he will have deluded himself into believing that he may still skate away unharmed. In contrast, a truly innocent man would be apprehensive upon his arrest and prosecution because even an innocent man would understand the true danger of his predicament and the possibility of wrongful prosecution. If Col. Williams has seemed largely unshaken by his turn of fortune and confident of his imminent release, this would also be a strong indicator of sociopathic behavior.
What I don't really understand is why he pled guilty. Maybe he realized that the jig was up. Maybe they had such strong evidence against him that he realized it was better to just plead out and get a lesser sentence. Or maybe he realized that he had become a monster and lost all ability to control his impulses. If so, this is yet another cautionary tale of why you should not indulge urges to the point that they get out of control.