Borutski said 'karma is gonna come back and get her' on eve of killings
Shirl Roesler, 55, spoke to OPP detectives on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 about her neighbour, Basil Borutski, who lived in the unit above her at the Meadowvale apartments in Palmer Rapids.
OTTAWA - After killing three women in a rampage through the Upper Ottawa Valley, while awaiting his arrest in a field near Kinburn, Basil Borutski texted goodbye to a neighbour he called “friend,” court heard Wednesday.
Shirl Roesler, 57, lived downstairs from Borutski at the Renfrew County community housing lowrise at 5967 Palmer Rd. in Palmer Rapids. She testified Wednesday about a conversation she had with Borustki on the eve of the killings.
Borutski has remained silent in the prisoner’s box defending himself on three counts of first-degree murder in the September 2015 deaths of Carol Culleton, 66, Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48.
“Your car is at cottage … sorry … I left $100 (in) console for gas … by (sic) friend,” reads the text Roesler received at 1:56 p.m. on Sept. 22, several hours after the killings.
Twenty minutes later, with a police officer at her side as a guide, Roesler texted back: “Is my car at the cottage … Where r u.”
There was no reply in the text exchange entered into evidence Wednesday.
On the witness stand, Roesler was asked to refresh her memory with the statement she gave police that day, as she recalled her encounter with a “very upset, very angry” Borutski the night before.
“He was upset and he needed someone to talk to,” she said. “It had something to do with Carol, something to do with their relationship. Things that she did behind his back … sleeping with other men. He was very mad, and very angry with her.
“One thing that stuck out, he said karma was gonna come back and get her,” said Roesler, who said she recalled those exact words. “But that could mean anything.”
She testified the conversation took place between 6 and 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. She told court she could place the time of the encounter — just a little after her evening ritual of watching The Young and the Restless.
She was following the news the next morning when word spread of the killing spree.
Borutski admitted to killing the women the following day in a police interview shown in court, but told an OPP detective he believed it was “not murder.”
A forensic pathologist testified Culleton was strangled to death, and Kuzyk and Warmerdam were both killed by a shotgun.
Roesler told court she knew Borutski only a few months, but recalled one conversation about a gun.
“Just that he wanted a gun, for hunting. I don’t remember the exact date (of the conversation). It was a while before … a month or so before.”
Roesler told court that after Borutski fixed her front brakes for free, she started lending him her car, a light-coloured 2000 Chrysler sedan. He would borrow it as many as 10 times a week, she said, and she gave him a set of keys.
Roesler told court she once recalled driving him to the cottage on Kamaniskeg Lake, which she recognized as “Carol’s cottage” in a photo shown in court. Her car was shown parked out front, where it was found by police at the scene of the first of the day’s killings.
On Tuesday, court was shown surveillance video footage of Borustki leaving the Palmer Rapids apartment complex early that morning, dressed in camouflage pants carrying a white plastic bag, and pulling out of the parking lot in a car identified as Roesler’s sedan.
Roesler, appearing nervous, was having difficulty on the stand recalling a conversation she had with Borutski, specifically what she told police two years ago about his troubles with Culleton.
She was asked by the Crown to refer to her statement, where she told police she heard Borutski make disparaging remarks about Culleton.
“He said she was unstable, she was just losing it,” she said.
Roesler, with the Crown again calling upon her statement to refresh her memory, recalled Borutski saying, “She was afraid of him.”
Justice Robert Maranger adjourned early Wednesday after court-appointed amicus curiae (friend of the court) James Foord raised what the jury was told was a “technical issue” on the evidence.
The trial resumes Thursday.