OTTAWA – The man accused of first-degree murder in the 2015 deaths of three women in the Ottawa Valley told police the day after the crimes that he felt sorry about the killings and knew what happened was wrong.
The final segment of a nearly five-hour video, in which Basil Borutski, now 59, admits that he was responsible for the deaths, was played in an Ottawa courtroom on Tuesday.
In it, Borutski tells provincial police Det. Sgt. Caley O’Neill that he felt empty, confused and “disorientated” in the hours after killing Carol Culleton, 66, Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48.
“Do you understand that what happened to these three women is wrong?” O’Neill asks.
“Yeah,” answers Borutski, almost as if asking a question.
There is a long pause before O’Neill asks, “would you take it back if you could?’
“Of course I would,” Borutski responds, his voice soft, before going on to suggest again the women brought it upon themselves.
“Like when I asked Anastasia, ‘Why did you lie?’ Why couldn’t she have just have said I’m sorry, and I’m sure then I would have stopped. That would have been enough. Or say because, or say it’s because she lied. It would have stopped right there, but she still lied. And Carol lies, and I talked with her so much about being honest and the truth and positive and then she still lied.”
In video evidence played at the trial last week, Borutski walked O’Neill through the moments of Sept. 22, 2015 when Culleton, Kuzyk and Warmerdam died. He told O’Neill he killed them, but he didn’t murder them, because murder only applies to people who are innocent and they had conspired against him, lied to police to have him thrown in jail and lied to him.
He returned to that explanation in the final moments of the video in a chilling voice as if he was recounting the events of any other day.
“It was fast,” he said. “It was not like if you think about the distance, it’s quite a piece from one place to the other but it was more like bang, bang, bang.”
Later, the jury was told it would take 25 minutes to drive from Culleton’s cottage in Kamaniskeg Lake to Kuzyk’s home in Wilno, Ont., and another 25 minutes to drive to Warmerdam’s farm near Cormac, Ont.
Borutski acknowledges he didn’t shoot Culleton, who was strangled, but continued to describe how he killed her as if he had.
“I don’t even know if I uh … I, to me, I asked, and as soon as I asked the question she lied and that’s what. It’s just like lie, bang. Same with Anastasia. ‘I said why did you lie in court?’ She said ‘I didn’t,’ bang. There was even no sound. And it wasn’t like a pop and it wasn’t like I pulled the trigger.”
Borutski expresses no remorse for what occurred until O’Neill asks him near the end of the video, “do you feel sorry about how it all ended?”
“Of course I feel sorry,” Borutski tells him, matter of factly.
He then asks O’Neill if he found “the booze,” explaining that after the third murder, he drove around and then ran into the bush with three bottles of liquor and wine, along with the shotgun.
“I planned on drinking and blowing my head off,” he says.
“But then, by that time, I started thinking about it, ‘yeah, you can’t do that, Basil, you’re innocent. If you blow your head off you’ll never go to heaven’.”
After the video ended, forensic pathologist Dr. Christopher Milroy took the stand to discuss the injuries and the jury saw graphic photographs of Culleton’s body that made some of them wince.
Milroy says Culleton died after a coaxial cable was wrapped around her mouth and neck, cutting off her airway. She also had numerous defensive injuries and bruises on her hands and forearm, including one which Milroy said likely came from an assailant gripping her wrist.
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Milroy said it would have taken less than five minutes for Culleton to die and she would have been conscious for a minute or two before passing out.
Her brother sat in the courtroom during Tuesday’s testimony.
Borutski is representing himself, but has so far refused to take part in the trial, sitting with his head down and his eyes closed during much of the video. He occasionally glanced up at the video screen or looked over at the jury but refused to acknowledge anything said to him by Justice Robert Maranger.
Maranger has told him silence will be taken by the court to mean Borutski agrees with whatever is happening.
The trial continues.