'I thought, we are both going to die,' victim's sister testifies at Borutski trial
Harrowing audio of Eva Kuzyk's frantic 911 call played in court
Eva Kuzyk was changing sheets at her sister's house in Wilno, Ont., on Sept. 22, 2015, sometime between 8 and 9 a.m., when she heard her little sister scream at the top of her lungs.
She ran downstairs in time to see a man hide behind a door to shield himself from view, and found Anastasia Kuzyk on the floor of the kitchen.
"'It's Basil,'" Eva remembered her sister whispering to her.
Eva rushed to confront the man, but by that time he was moving across the front lawn toward vehicles parked outside.
Sister confronted attacker
"My thought was, in order to survive this, you better fight back," she told court Thursday at accused triple murderer Basil Borutski's trial. "At this time, my clear memory is rushing to the door and saying, 'Stay away from my sister.' That is 100 per cent clear in my mind."
Eva ran back inside the house and peered out a window to get a better view of the man.
"The man was already on the porch, walking very quickly with his gun at shoulder height, with a very big gun at shoulder height, walking very fast along the porch ... towards the kitchen door again," she told court.
"I thought, we are both going to die. That's what I thought. Then the gun went off, [it] sounded to me literally behind me. ... I opened the door quickly and I ran for my life. And I thought, I need to get an ambulance, he probably shot Anastasia, I have to get some help. And I opened the door and I ran for my life."
911 call played in court
The bodies of Kuzyk, 36, Carol Culleton, 66, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48, were found at three separate locations in and around Wilno that day.
Borutski, who turned 60 earlier this week, faces three counts of first-degree murder and is representing himself. The court entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf due to his refusal to enter one.
Eva Kuzyk testified she ran barefoot to Highway 60, panicking because she thought the man may have been coming after her. But what she heard turned out to be her sister's dog following behind.
She jumped into a vehicle that was doing line painting on the highway and called 911. The audio was played in court.
'I hope he hasn't killed my sister'
"There is a man, Basil, and he has a gun. ... He's at my sister's house. He has a gun," she tells the dispatcher, sounding panicked, short of breath and distraught.
"He shot my — he's shooting, he has a gun, he's shooting. Yes, he came in the house with a gun, and my sister is screaming," her voice rising in pitch and breaking.
The call ends abruptly, and the dispatcher soon calls the number back.
At one point Eva Kuzyk indicates police might know the man, and the dispatcher tells her a sergeant "thinks he knows who it is."
"I heard screaming, I hope he hasn't killed my sister.... He may have killed my sister, he may have killed my sister," Eva tells the dispatcher, her voice still high and breaking as she starts to cry. The dispatcher tells her to breathe, then an officer arrives and starts asking questions.
After the 911 audio ended, Crown attorney Jeffery Richardson took Eva Kuzyk through scene photos to break down what happened and where.
The Crown finished asking questions, and after a short recess, Borutski tapped loudly on the glass of his prisoner's box and waved several sheets of paper back and forth against the glass.
Proceedings were halted and James Foord, the lawyer appointed to ensure Borutski gets a fair trial, looked at the pages with Pat McCann, the lawyer appointed to cross-examine Crown witnesses who don't feel comfortable facing questions from Borutski, including Eva Kuzyk.
Foord then notified Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger of a possible procedural issue that "requires immediate consultation."
The jury was asked to leave the room to allow the lawyers to discuss it, but what's said in court without the jury present is subject to a publication ban and cannot be made public.
After about 25 minutes, court was adjourned for the lunch break.
Lawyer asks questions on Borutski's behalf
When court resumed Thursday afternoon, McCann asked Kuzyk questions on Borutski's behalf. Kuzyk testified she didn't hear her sister scream specific words, didn't see the man hit or push her and didn't remember whether Anastasia was injured, but that her voice was strained and "sounded afraid."
Kuzyk testified she hadn't met Basil before and therefore didn't recognize the man herself.
Borutski, wearing glasses, watched Kuzyk and took notes as she was being cross-examined.
Foord asked several questions when McCann was finished. Kuzyk testified she couldn't remember hearing any words exchanged between the man and her sister, that she can't remember whether her sister had a gunshot wound when she first saw her, and that the man appeared hunched over and he moved behind the door when she first arrived.
Kuzyk also confirmed she told police in her original statement that the man, at that moment, didn't look dangerous to her, and that she told police she was aggressive with the man verbally "to get this person out of my sister's house."
When Foord was finished, Borutski again pressed sheets of paper onto the prisoner's box. The jury was briefly excused while the issue was dealt with.
Court then heard from Dwayne Meilleur, who was foreman of the line-painting crew that helped Kuzyk call 911, as well as OPP Sgt. David Moore, who was one of the first officers on the scene.
The trial will resume Monday.