Former friends, colleagues and even one suspected victim of Col. Russell Williams in Ottawa reacted to the news Thursday that he plans to plead guilty later this month to all 86 charges against him.
Those charges include two counts of murder, two of sexual assault but also several counts of breaking and entering related to 25 break-ins in Ottawa's Fallingbrook neighbourhood. Williams lived in the neighbourhood until last year, before he became the commander of the Canadian Forces base in Trenton.One of the break-ins occurred when Courtney Cochrane was watching her parents' home while they were away a year ago this month. Someone attempted to break into the house twice. The second time, the person tripped the alarm.
Police now say the intruder was Williams.
Cochrane said she had no idea of the many crimes Williams is accused of committing and is glad he's pleading guilty.
Williams's lawyer, Michael Edelson, said in Ontario Superior Court in Belleville, Ont., on Thursday that Williams plans to plead guilty to all charges against him at his next court appearance Oct. 18.
"I hope he spends the rest of his life in prison," Cochrane said. "I'm so lucky that nothing happened to me."
George White lived a couple of doors away from Williams and considered him a good friend.
"I'd really like to know, but I won't live long enough to know why, because it will never come out in my lifetime," he said. "My understanding is there's going to be no explanation — [he'll plead] guilty, that's it."
Retired, Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt used to be the commander of Canada's air force, and Williams was a rising star below him.
"[He was] a very promising officer at the time, we all thought," Watt said.
Watt says he's glad to see the case coming to a close.
"I'm satisfied in some ways that justice has been done, and he will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars," Watts said. "I'm also a little mystified, to be honest, that we will never understand what drove him to do this."
In spite of having known Williams well, and having many questions he'd like to ask him, Watt said he had no intention of ever visiting him in prison.
He also said he doubts that Williams would ever want to see him or anyone else associated with the military.