Russell Williams piloted prime ministers and royalty and later commanded Canada’s largest air force base in Trenton, Ont. He now awaits trial on charges including two murders, sexual assaults, and dozens of break and enters. Over the past few months, Bob McKeown and his team have done some of the most in-depth interviews on Williams since his arrest.
There’s been so much coverage about Col. Williams already. What more is there to learn?
This is one of those iconic events — like the killings in Mayerthorpe — that people hear about. We wanted to get in as deeply as possible with (people who knew him best) — his best friend of 30 years and some of the victims.
What surprised you the most about this case?
When you look at the pattern of crimes he’s been accused of … and put them in a timeframe, you’ll see that the crimes are grouped in the neighbourhoods near where he lived at the time.
It’s just fascinating to look at the pattern of these crimes and official duties he’s been carrying out at the same time. It boggles the mind how someone could have that senior a position and allegedly be involved in this kind of crime spree.
What was the most difficult part of putting together a story like this?
Convincing people to talk about it. The people, especially the victims, are very reluctant to talk about it. His family has never been on the record.
Why do you think this story was so intriguing to Canadians?
Because it’s so unlikely. He’s someone who in every way seems to be the best and the brightest … They trusted him so much. You see a picture of the man standing next to the Queen and then you see his mugshot.