Alleged Killer Colonel Russell Williams Attempts Suicide in Jail – April 5, 2010

Alleged Killer Colonel Russell Williams has been reported to have attempted to take his life while in jail.


The former base commander of CFB Trenton, Ont., accused of killing two women and sexually assaulting two others, tried to kill himself just before Easter Sunday by stuffing cardboard from a toilet paper roll down his throat, a Kingston newspaper reported.

Unnamed sources from the Quinte Detention Centre in Napanee, Ont. where Col. Russell Williams is being held, told the Kingston Whig-Standard that at about 5 a.m. on Saturday, Williams used mustard to write a suicide note on the wall of his cell.

Boggling.    We use the term “alleged” but the facts released publicly so far certainly hinder any verdict of innocence or wrongful prosecution in this case.   We have now saved someone who most certainly will cost taxpayers over $120,000 per year to house, and thousands of dollars to prosecute.

How many hospital beds could that kind of money fund each year?

What do you think Canada?  Is it time to start to reconsider having a Death penalty here in Canada for cases where clearly this is no issue of “innocence”?   You may post your comments below.

Should Canada Reinstate the Death Penalty for Cases in which there is no doubt of Guilt.

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  1. I believe he can still face the death penalty in a court martial. But look at him, trying to garner attention now. And this whackjob held the title of Colonel in our military? Do they not have test’s these days to detect that the guy is a whackjob?

  2. It all depends on motivation. Are we killing people as a deterrent, as punishment, for budget cuts, or some sense of justice for the families of victims? It is fairly obvious that the first two don’t work. A quick look at the state of Texas shows us that while they have by far the highest number of executions in the US, they also have the highest murder rate (the 3 largest cities in Texas are among the top 25 murder rates in the country, while New York State, by comparison has none in the top 25). Since 1990, when the pace of executions in Texas was increased, more cops have been killed in Texas than anywhere else on the continent.

    If, in fact, we are doing it for budgetary reasons I could be more easily swayed. But how much would we actually save? We would clearly still have to pay for the trial, that is totally unavoidable. So what, about $100-150 grand per person, per year? And there is what, maybe 10-15 such cases in all of Canada (and I believe I’m being generous)? So we’re talking about one or two million bucks a year, which in the grand scope of things is actually a pretty small number. So maybe we would need to open the scope a little more and find other drains on society we could eliminate through both increased abortions and legalized euthanasia. But only if we’re serious about saving money.

    As far as vengeance goes, I can’t really say. I’m sure that some recieve a certain level of peace from knowing that the perpetrator of such violent crimes has been murdered, but is vengeance justice? How long does the feeling of justice last afterwards, when your loved one is still dead, and now someone else is dead too?

  3. Hi Rodney.

    I’m going to risk showing some of my conservative roots. I think in a day and age when we’re cutting services and hospital beds we possibly should reconsider spending thousands every year for people who are clearly not innocent. For example if someone is convicted of a violent crime you can turn the cheek once and try rehabilitation, but not twice.

    And some monsters are not worthy of being saved in my opinion. Your opinion of the total criminal count in Canada is compelling and intriguing, but should we not charge the Earl Jones’ of the country because they’re only a handful of them too?

    Your analogy about New York and Texas also doesn’t mention the gun laws and gun culture of the two states. I bet the guns per capita in Texas would vastly be multiplied that of New York; especially when it comes down to non-hunting weapons.

    I don’t see much rehabilitation in our penal system. I’m not suggesting the American system is better either. I’m just suggesting that keeping Clifford Olsen and the like around for 20, 30, 40 years at a cost that’s prohibited and giving them services that most working poor don’t receive seems out of whack.

  4. That was not my total criminal count, that was my estimation of the number of killers so heinous and undeniably guilty to deserve execution. While I do agree that the gun count in Texas is vastly higher than New York State, it doesn’t change the fact that capital punishment does not work (Colonel Williams certainly didn’t use one, nor did Olsen).

    I also agree that our penal system provides very little rehabilitation, I just don’t see state sanctioned murder as the answer.

  5. So Rodney my question to you is this. Is the status quo acceptable for our society? What would you do to change it if it’s not?

  6. While I don’t believe that Olsen should be recieving a pension, I do believe that it is the duty of any civilized society to treat prisoners in a humane and reasonable manner.

  7. …and that would not include killing them.

  8. We could always hand him over to the Afghanistan Army…..I’m sure he’d be treated in a humane and reasonable manner……but I digress…… Iggy, Jack and Gilles wouldn’t have it. We’d have more stupid questions on the Hill about who knew what, when, where, why, what for, etc, ad nauseum.

  9. I want the Col. to stay alive. I want to know who else he was working with and when. I want to hear a lot of embarrassing questions. I want to know why our most powerful leaders are not shadowed if only for their own protection. Speaking of Afghanistan, a classified video just came out today showing Americans in choppers blowing away a couple of reporters who were standing around interviewing people.

  10. Steven Truscott. Guy Paul Morin. …and the last two people wrongfully hung disagree on capital punishment. But if we are going to have it, it must include white collar crimes like grave political malfeasance. Spread the joy of justice around to those who create justice. Is that so bad?

  11. No, the DP should only be for criminals who clearly are guilty. As long as any question of guilt remains then it shouldn’t be used. When a criminal admits their guilt or there is no doubt, then why keep them locked up at a cost of over $100K per year for decades?

  12. But who decides clear and obvious guilt, and how do we know that a confession is not coerced? All it takes is one crooked cop, one crooked lawyer, one crooked judge….and as we all know it’s never hard to find someone crooked in our “justice” system.

  13. PS, I’ve done some searching (feel free to do the same, just type “cost of death penalty in your search engine) and have found that the cost of capital punishment is overwhelmingly higher than the cost of lifetime incarceration. This is due to the high cost of death penalty trials is on average $1 million higher than the cost of a life without parole trial. Unless the guilt is so obvious we can forego the trial? Also, do a search and find out which countries still practice the death penalty, and I’m certain you will find it not company Canada wants to keep.

  14. No one should suffer the death penalty in Canada. The death penalty was correctly abolished many years ago and should continue to be so.

  15. As I understand it, as long as any question of guilt remains, there cannot be a conviction, death penalty or not.

  16. What I would like to know is has the murder rate increased or decrease since the abolition of the death penalty? Have we had more or less serial or mass murders or horrific acts of violence?

    Is it more humane to end an obviously violent defective persons life or keep them caged for the rest of their useless life. One or the other might be acceptable but it would seem that there is a good chance that for some unfathonable reason the parol board will release them into the unsuspecting public.

    Maybe an alternative to DB or life in jail could be found in crogenics. We could freeze the convicted criminals for a reasonable period of time (or until the technology exists to thaw them) and if no new compelling evidence is found after say 25 years then we hit them with a hammer. I do believe that maintaining freezers is a lot cheaper than having to house cloth and feed convicts. To make things even cheaper, we could just freeze their heads.

  17. Rodney, if this were civilian court, then I am sure the costs of the death penalty vs. incarceration would be more expensive. This is military court though. More cut and dry as it should be. And they can still hand down a death penalty under military law. I do not see a problem with this situation. The now disgraced Colonel should have known better in the first place. And Furtz, I don’t think there is a question of guilt, he’s admitted it, he’s shown them where the proof is that he meticulously collected in some instances. I say let the military handle it, by firing squad. To think this whackjob held his position for so long and put yet another black eye on the military.

  18. Rodney I’ve understood and even been on both sides of the arguments. I’m not suggesting a US style of Death Penalty. I just think in a day when we seem to ration healthcare and not have enough money to fund education as well as we should the amounts of money put into the incarceration business should be reviewed.

    To me, personally, as a Canadian, plowing money into a US style incarceration and legal system, as well as trying to grow our military is a gross waste of tax payer dollars.

    Ultimately we need to help people not end up in situations where they commit certain crimes. It reminds me of an old Chris Rock bit where he said “What happened to plain crazy?”

    Well what happened to simply being plain evil? Society pays for the crimes of people; at what point should we stop paying for them?

  19. I don’t think there’s any evidence that shows that the death penalty works as a deterrent for serious crimes such as murder. Just looking at the murder rates in the States is an indication of how it doesn’t work. Also, the cost to kill an offender in the States is about four times the cost to keep the offender locked up for life. Not sure whether military law would apply in the colonels case. I think the crimes were committed on his own (civilian) time.

  20. I don’t think there’s any evidence that shows that the death penalty works as a deterrent for serious crimes such as murder. Just looking at the murder rates in the States is an indication of how it doesn’t work. Also, the cost to kill an offender in the States is about four times the cost to keep the offender locked up for life. Not sure whether military law would apply in the colonels case. I think the crimes were committed on his own (civilian) time, and not on the base.

  21. Furtz I don’t think the DP is a deterrent. I do think it will save Canadians some money that perhaps could be used to help those that need it most.

  22. Killing people would be a hell of a way to save money, if it did save money, which is doubtful. Also, how many people have been convicted of murder in Canada, only to be later found totally innocent?
    Are you familiar with “The Coffin Affair” ?

  23. He’s still a military man, regardless of on or off base, I believe he still needs to answer to military procedure on this. He is a trained weapon, trained by Canadian military, and he used that training to assist him in murdering hapless victims. Let alone how many military codes he broke in his actions.

  24. Hi Furtz,

    Yes, I know that there are mathematical possibilities of innocent people being killed. My question is where do we draw the line?

  25. Why don’t we let the victims’ families choose the punishment? That would be fair wouldn’t it?

  26. Grimalot, you are probably right about that.
    Admin, Given the history of wrongly convicted people in this country, I’d draw the line at no executions by the state. I agree that scum like the Clifford Olsen and Paul Bernardo have no right to live, but until we have a 100% fail-proof judicial system, we can’t start killing convicted murderers. Some pretty horrific mistakes have been made, and that’s why we no longer have the death penalty in Canada. I urge you to do a little research into The Coffin Affair.

  27. Reg, If we used that system, the murderer of a homeless person with no family would be laughing.

  28. I don’t see where it might cost up to four times more to execute a confessed murderer. I’d do it for nothing so the only cost would be $2 for the bullet. Colonel, watch out!

  29. To admin (way up the line), I think there are numerous other waus to recupe the money so desperately needed for Health Care and so on. How about taxing the massive profits that banks rake in on a yearly basis (no recession for them, I might add)? Or raising corporate taxes? Cutting government salaries? Even better, let’s tax the churches! They’ve been getting a free ride for way to long. Any one of these would generate far more money than state sanctioned murder.

    While society does seem to pay the price for criminal behaviour, is it not possible that our social structure, especially as it relates to class warfare, is responsible for creating said criminals?

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