The killings of three women in one morning was a sick kind of justice in the mind of accused triple murderer Basil Borutski, and there's a taped police confession to prove it, the Crown told the jury as Borutski's trial began Wednesday.
The 59-year-old is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 66-year-old Carol Culleton, 36-year-old Anastasia Kuzyk and 48-year-old Nathalie Warmerdam. Their bodies were found at their homes in and around the small community of Wilno, Ont., on Sept. 22, 2015.
Borutski's trial before Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger in Ottawa is scheduled to run for 17 weeks.
'... I submit to you that the truth is that Basil Borutski murdered Carol, Anastasia and Nathalie out of revenge. He thought about it before he did it and then he executed his plan perfectly.' - Assistant Crown attorney Jeffery Richardson
During opening statements Wednesday afternoon to the six men and six women of the jury, as well as an alternate, Crown attorney Jeffery Richardson said that in Borutski's mind, all three victims had wronged him.
"For Basil these murders are all about justice, his kind of justice. Justice where murders like these are justifiable, justice where women pay the ultimate price for using what Borutski says is a corrupt justice system against him, justice where Borutski gets to be judge, jury and executioner, justice where there is only one truth that counts: his truth," Richardson told court.
"... I submit to you that the truth is that Basil Borutski murdered Carol, Anastasia and Nathalie out of revenge. He thought about it before he did it and then he executed his plan perfectly."
'Evidence is overwhelming'
Richardson also told the jury the case he's prepared alongside fellow Crown attorney Julie Scott isn't a whodunit or a "how-done-it," and that the evidence against Borutski is "overwhelming."
Frustrated by Culleton's rejection and that she had started seeing a former boyfriend, Borutski drove to her cottage on Kamaniskeg Lake Road near Combermere, Ont., at about 7:30 a.m., broke in, grabbed a television cord and used it to strangle Culleton in her bedroom, Richardson intends to prove.
Then he smoked a cigarette, left the butt in her sink, stole her car and drove it to victim number two, Anastasia Kuzyk, at her home on Szczipior Road in Wilno, Ont., Richardson told court. She had been in a relationship with Borutski that ended badly — Richardson said that in 2014 he was convicted of charges she filed against him.
Kuzyk's sister, Eva Kuzyk, was upstairs when she heard a scream, Richardson said. She came downstairs to ask what was wrong and found Anastasia crouching in the kitchen. She told her Borutski was there, and Eva Kuzyk saw a man at the door. She started to yell at him and then ran outside barefoot, Richardson said.
As she did, she heard a single shot.
Her sister had been shot with a 12-gauge shotgun, and she died in the kitchen she was trying to hide in while Eva Kuzyk ran up to construction workers nearby and called 911.
'He was not finished'
"But he was not finished," Richardson told the court.
Borutski then drove Culleton's car to the third victim, another former partner, Nathalie Warmerdam, on Foymount Road near Cormac, Ont. Like Kuzyk, their relationship had also not ended well, Richardson told court. In 2012 Borutski was convicted of offences against Warmerdam and her son Adrian.
Video surveillance footage shows Borutski "calmly walking" up to the house, Richardson said. Adrian was watching TV, his mother was sitting down to breakfast, and neither heard him arrive.
Adrian heard his mother scream, looked up, saw her being chased by Borutski, got up and ran outside, Richardson said. As he left he heard a single shot, and he hid in the bush behind the house to call 911.
Warmerdam died of a 12-gauge gunshot wound on the steps of her home.
Borutski not participating in court process
Borutski has not hired a lawyer and is therefore representing himself at the trial, but he has refused to enter a plea or speak at all, forcing the court to enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
Justice Maranger has repeatedly told Borutski and the court that his silence is being interpreted as acquiescence to the proceedings.
The jury was selected Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as Borutski remained silent in the prisoner's box wearing chains around his ankles, a baggy white T-shirt, dark grey sweatpants, unkempt shoulder-length grey hair and a goatee.
He didn't participate in the jury selection process, and spent Monday and Tuesday with his eyes squeezed shut most of the time.
But on Wednesday, with more people in the courtroom — including relatives and close friends of the victims — Borutski spent more time looking at people, his face conveying no emotion.
Maranger gave the jurors detailed instructions Wednesday after officially placing Borutski's fate into their hands, and took them through the more unusual aspects of this case: Borutski's unresponsiveness, the fact that he's representing himself, and that a friend of the court, called an amicus curiae, has been appointed to ensure a fair trial but not to act as a defence lawyer.
"To this date [Borutski] has decided not to participate in the proceedings ... but that has nothing to do with your decision in this case. It's not evidence of anything. Don't try to guess [why]. The onus is on the Crown to prove the case against him beyond a reasonable doubt," Maranger told the jurors.
The trial will resume Thursday with the Crown's first witness.