Ottawa

Col. Williams faces 82 more charges

Col. Russell Williams, a former CFB Trenton commander accused of killing two women, now also faces 82 charges involving break-ins in Ottawa, Belleville and Tweed in Ontario.

Underwear theft cases cleared, Ottawa police say

Williams made a brief court appearance via video link Thursday and was remanded in custody until June 24. ((Alex Tavshunsky/CBC) )

Col. Russell Williams, a former CFB Trenton commander accused of killing two women, now also faces 82 charges involving break-ins in Ottawa, Belleville and Tweed in Ontario.

Williams made a brief court appearance via video link Thursday and was remanded in custody until June 24.

He had already been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of air force flight attendant Cpl. Marie-France Comeau, 37, who worked at CFB Trenton, and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville.

Williams has also been charged with home-invasion sex attacks on two women last September in eastern Ontario.

He wore an orange prison suit Thursday and appeared thinner than in earlier appearances before the court in his appearance from the Quinte Detention Centre in Napanee, near Belleville. The former base commander has reportedly been on a hunger strike.

The case was put over until the Crown and defence have completed disclosure proceedings.

The charges announced Thursday are:

  • 61 counts of breaking and entering and theft.
  • 11 counts of attempted breaking and entering.
  • 10 counts of breaking and entering with intent to commit an indictable offence.

The Ottawa Police Service, Belleville Police Service and Ontario Provincial Police, with the assistance of Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, said they reviewed unsolved crimes around Ottawa, Belleville and Tweed before laying the new charges.

Thirty-four of the break-ins occurred at 25 addresses in the Ottawa area. Two of the latest charges were related to break-ins in Belleville, while the rest were in the Tweed area or other areas under the OPP's jurisdiction.

Police said the Ottawa incidents all occurred within the Fallingbrook area in the city's east end, near where Williams lived before moving to the Westboro neighbourhood in late 2009.

Police have not released details on what was taken in the thefts.

Underwear case closed

However, Ottawa police confirmed the latest charges close an investigation that they alerted the public about in October 2008, following two break-ins in the Fallingbrook neighbourhood on a single weekend. At the time, they said the only items taken were women's undergarments and urged residents to secure their homes "due to the peculiar nature of these incidents."

Courtney Cochrane, 29, says it's scary that the same person charged in a break-in at her parents house is also charged with two counts of murder. ((Steve Fischer/CBC))

Police said the charges date as far back as September 2007. The investigation is continuing, OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae said.

"Nothing has been ruled out at this point," she said.

"It’s going to be an extensive investigation. We are still reviewing unsolved crimes. It’s going to take time."

The last of the Ottawa charges relates to an Oct. 23, 2009, break-in at Courtney Cochrane's parents' home in the Fallingbrook neighbourhood. At the time, 29-year-old Cochrane was visiting intermittently to feed her parents' pets while they were away. She found a ladder set up beside the house a few days before someone broke in through the side door, suggesting the burglar had been scouting the place out.

She said she's unnerved by the fact that the same man charged in the break-in has also been accused of killing two women around her age.

"Had he noticed me? Was it my mother? The police were thinking it was me that he had noticed," she said. "What if I was here? … It's scary what could possibly have happened."

Nothing was taken in the break-in, as the home's security alarm went off.

Initially, Cochrane said, she thought it might have been a random incident. But after lingerie was taken from a neighbouring home, she began to think the burglar was targeting homes with young women in them.

Williams was arrested Feb. 7 while still in command of the Trenton base.

With files from the CBC's Susan Ormiston