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Borutski charged with three counts of first-degree murder in Wilno-area killing spree

Andrew Seymour and Tony Spears
Postmedia Network

Basil Borutski leaves in a police vehicle after appearing at the courthouse in Pembroke, Ont. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Borutski has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the separate slayings of three women whose deaths sparked a lockdown and manhunt in an ordinarily peaceful area of eastern Ontario on Tuesday.

Basil Borutski leaves in a police vehicle after appearing at the courthouse in Pembroke, Ont. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Borutski has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the separate slayings of three women whose deaths sparked a lockdown and manhunt in an ordinarily peaceful area of eastern Ontario on Tuesday.

A Wilno-area man was charged with three counts of first-degree murder Wednesday relating to a string of bloody incidents across Eastern Ontario Tuesday that left three women dead and sparked a manhunt as far as the nation’s capital.

Basil Joseph Borutski, 57, appeared in Pembroke court for six minutes Wednesday afternoon, dressed in a grey T-shirt and looking relaxed. He didn’t speak, but stood and listened intently as a court staffer read out the charges.

Then he sat with his head against the wall and appeared to close his eyes. Borutski, 57, is a solid, fit-looking man with a bald head, beard and moustache.

He is banned from contacting at least two dozen people connected with the case. The court also issued a publication ban on all evidence related to the case.

The accused will appear before a judge by video link on Oct. 5.

Documents in the Pembroke courthouse paint a disturbing picture of a man accused of repeatedly threatening and assaulting women despite court orders and probation conditions. Charges include:

• Choking Kuzyk last year. He was charged with assault causing bodily harm;

• Possessing a crossbow when he was prohibited from having one by a court order;

• Burning some of Kuzyk’s possessions including an antique rocking horse and a set of antique wooden hockey players;

• Stealing a car from another member of the Kuzyk family;

• Breaking a probation order that required him to keep the peace.

He was charged in 2012 with threatening to kill a woman whose name is under a court publication ban.

And there is a list of 2012 charges relating to Warmerdam. He is alleged to have:

• Assaulted her;

• Threatened to hurt a member of her family and kill an animal that belonged to the family;

• Told her that he was going to kill another woman.

He was charged with assaulting a Stanley Borutski in 2012, and then urinating on a prison wall and carpet.

Borutski was well known to police in the area. Documents at the Pembroke courthouse show he was found guilty last September on a variety of charges, including assault, choking, auto theft, mischief under $5,000, operating a motor vehicle while disqualified and breach of probation. There was also a firearms-related offence. Borutski was sentenced on Sept. 12, 2014 to 575 days in jail, which included 350 days of time credited for pre-sentence custody.

Earlier Wednesday, Ontario Provincial Police identified Carol Culleton, 66, of North Gower as the third victim in the grisly rampage that began Tuesday morning in the village of Wilno, just under 100 kilometres south-west of Pembroke.

Culleton was apparently slain in a residence on Kamaniskeg Road, about 35 kilometres from Wilno.

The killings, which triggered a manhunt that saw schools, a courthouse and an Ottawa law firm locked down, occurred in three communities in near the Madawaska Valley about 180 kilometres west of the national capital.

The other victims are Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48, who both apparently knew the suspect and had been in a relationship with him in the past.

The OPP has confirmed that the three deaths are connected. Autopsies were scheduled for Ottawa beginning Wednesday.

The grisly events began early Tuesday, at about 9 a.m., when Ontario Provincial Police from the Killaloe detachment found the body of a woman, Anastasia Kuzyk, in a house on Szczipior Road in Wilno. She had been shot.

At that scene, police found what they described as “information” that led them to another residence on Foymount Road near the village of Cormac, some 26 kilometres southeast of Wilno. There the police found the body of Nathalie Warmerdam. She, too, had been shot to death.

— With files from Gary Dimmock, Andrew Duffy, Dave Dutton, Kelly Egan, Mike Carroccetto, and Andrew Seymour