Col. Williams' neighbours trying to heal
Neighbours of Col. Russell Williams reacted with relief to news that he intends to plead guilty to all 86 charges he faces, including two counts of first-degree murder, sexual assault and dozens of break and enters.
Williams's lawyer Michael Edelson announced the intention in a Belleville court Thursday. Williams's plea means surviving victims will be spared a trial in open court.
People in the small eastern Ontario community of Tweed are finding some comfort in that news, though some of Williams's neighbours are still trying to come to terms with what happened.
"People have been waiting a long time for this. It has been almost a year to the day for me," said Larry Jones.
Jones is the man police first suspected of being a serial sexual predator, accusing him of the crimes now charged to Williams. For several months, many people in Tweed turned on him, Jones told CBC News.
"Originally police came to the house here, broke into the house here …interrogated me twice … [I had] absolutely nothing to do with anything," Jones said.
In hindsight, police had pursued the wrong man, not suspecting it could be Williams, Jones's next-door neighbour on a cottage road called Cozy Cove.
Police first suspected Jones because a woman who lived a few doors down from him, Laurie Masicotte, was attacked. She had been tied up in the middle of the night. When she told police she recognized the voice of her attacker, they seized on Jones.
Now, Masicotte is deeply troubled and she and Jones are trying to mend fences.
"I really feel sorry for the girls who were directly involved with this man [Williams] … and the two girls who were murdered," Masicotte said.
This week she asked the court to lift the ban on publishing her name, believing that everyone in Tweed already knows what happened to her and the mistakes police made.
Masicotte believes the only way she can move on with her life is if the rest of the world knows too.