Term Paper: Russell Williams

Pages: 7 (2293 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] This is precisely what Williams did in the case of Jessica Lloyd and Marie-France Comeau. The victims and targets were available for observation, they had routines in their lives, and there were little to no impediments to committing the crime such as the presence of roommates, husbands, or even guard dogs. Williams selected his victims not because they presented a special challenge for him to overcome, but because they were relatively convenient targets.

The string of crimes that started in Williams's hometown of Tweed also points to routine activity theory. Williams had broken and entered several homes within a short distance from his own house. These were homes he could easily observe over a period of time, to detect routine activities in target behavior. Williams would then break and enter these homes and try on the women's clothing while taking detailed notes and keeping a meticulous record of the events.

Routine activity theory and individual trait theory easily combine to present a more complete picture of the Russell Williams case than could be obtained by applying only one of these theories, or by applying any other theory. Trait theory accounts for the quizzical and paradoxical demeanor of Williams in the interrogation room. Williams seems humble and deferent to the authority of the interviewing officer, even though the officer never once uses the title "Colonel." Instead of becoming upset and angry at the perceived lack of respect for his office, Williams asks the officer to call him "Russ." Clearly, Williams presents himself as being subordinate. Williams's body language never veers to anger, but it does reveal confusion. He knows what he has done, and he actually wants to come clean. His main concern his protecting his wife from the onslaught of evidence and media attention he knows will ensue. Williams seems genuinely remorseful, which would preclude him from being a pure psychopath. Even if he coldly outlines his string of rapes and murders and admits to not having felt anything for the victims because "I didn't know any of them," Williams's personality seems split in half between the part of himself that feels utterly compelled to commit crime, and the part of himself that knows crime is wrong.

Individual trait theory and routine activity theory combine brilliantly to account for the story of Russell Williams, disgraced Canadian Forces colonel who is now serving consecutive life sentences without a chance of parole. What trait theory cannot explain in Williams's behavior, routine activity can. For example, routine activity theory accounts for the fact that Williams chose victims that were geographically close and accessible to him. He selected women because they bolstered his sense of power and superiority, while also choosing females because of the greater chance at success in overpowering, raping, and murdering them. Williams began his crime spree by simply breaking, entering, stealing lingerie, and videotaping himself in the women's clothing. These were crimes that can be explained by routine activity theory because the victims had daily routines that permitted Williams to observe optimal times for break in.

The personality and bio-psychological traits that prompted Williams to perpetrate heinous crimes can help to round out the analysis of the offender. Williams had fantasies about women's lingerie for a long time, something that can be accounted for under trait theory. His inhibition and self-restraint might have also been related to trait theory, as it was not until he was 44 years old that Williams finally gave into his urges to commit the crimes and act out his fetish behavior. Taking pharmaceuticals might have allowed Williams to let down his guard, becoming more able and willing to follow through on his urges. The collection of artifacts from the crimes he committed is also a behavior that can be explained by trait theory. Therefore, careful application of both trait and routine activity theories explain the case of Russell Williams.

References

"Dr. John Bradford won't work Magnotta case because of PTSD," (2014). CBC. Mar 13, 2014. Retrieved online: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/dr-john-bradford-won-t-work-magnotta-case-because-of-ptsd-1.2571463

Fifth Estate (2010). The Confession. [Video documentary].

Friscolanti, M. (2014). Russell Williams's wife knew he was a predator: victim. Maclean's. Retrieved online: http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/russell-williamss-wife-knew-he-was-a-predator-victim/

La Salle, L. (2013). Colonel Russell Williams where have you been? I've been to London to fly the queen and back to collect artifacts. All Things Crime. Dec 11, 2013. Retrieved online: http://www.allthingscrimeblog.com/2013/12/11/colonel-russell-williams-where-have-you-been-ive-been-to-london-to-fly-the-queen-and-back-to-collect-artifacts/

Quan, D. (2013). U.S. study explores meaning behind Russell Williams's collection of 'artifacts' from crimes. Canada.com. Retrieved online: http://o.canada.com/news/national/u-s-study-examines-russell-williams-collection-of-artifacts-from-crimes/

"Routine Activity Theory," (2011). Retrieved online: http://www.crimeprevention.nsw.gov.au/agdbasev7wr/_assets/cpd/m660001l2/routineactivityfactsheet_nov2011.pdf

Warren, J.I., Dietz, P.E. & Hazelwood, R.R. (2013). The collectors: Serial sexual offenders who preserve evidence of their crimes. Aggression and Violent Behavior 18(2013): 666-672. [END OF PREVIEW]

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/russell-williams/9871733.