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Borutski mounts no defence as Crown wraps case in triple-murder trial

By Aedan Helmer, Postmedia Network

Sketch by Greg Banning:


The triple murder trial of Basil Borutski began in Ottawa Oct. 2. The trial was expected to continue into the New Year, but wrapped up much quicker than initially anticipated. The judge will instruct the jury Wednesday.

Sketch by Greg Banning: The triple murder trial of Basil Borutski began in Ottawa Oct. 2. The trial was expected to continue into the New Year, but wrapped up much quicker than initially anticipated. The judge will instruct the jury Wednesday.

OTTAWA — Basil Borutski will mount no defence, call no witnesses, and will not testify after the Crown concluded its case at his triple-murder trial Wednesday.
A verdict could be rendered as early as Monday, following closing arguments, when it is expected the jury of six men and six women will begin deliberations on three counts of first-degree murder.
Borutski, 60, acting his own defence in the Sept. 22, 2015 killings of Carol Culleton, 66, Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48, remained silent Wednesday, as he has for the duration of the trial.
He continued to ignore court instructions when Justice Robert Maranger asked Borutski, who did not hire a lawyer and entered no plea, if he planned to contest the evidence presented by the Crown.
Prosecutors Jeffery Richardson and Julie Scott called a total of 45 witnesses – forensics, police, and community “hearsay” witnesses – during 17 days of testimony in a trial that had been scheduled to span 17 weeks.
Borutski did not challenge any witnesses, and contested no testimony.
James Foord, the amicus curiae appointed by the court to ensure Borutski’s right to a fair trial, offered brief cross-examinations of select witnesses.
Maranger told the jury the trial has progressed “faster than anyone could expect.”
The Crown will make its closing arguments Monday, and Borutski will be afforded one final chance to make a statement in his defence.
Foord is also expected to participate in closing.
The jury was told to expect it could begin deliberations as early as Monday.
The Crown wrapped its evidence Wednesday calling its final witness, Judy Chin, a firearms examiner with the Centre of Forensic Sciences, who told the jury the shotgun Borutski carried that day fired the shells that killed Kuzyk and Warmerdam.
Chin concluded “within the limits of practical certainty,” the J.C. Higgins Model 20 shotgun Borutski carried was the same one that fired the spent shells, the wadding, and the buckshot and birdshot pellets recovered from the Wilno and Foymount scenes.
Police recovered the shotgun during Borutski’s arrest in a Kinburn field hours after the rampage. It was laying in the grass next to a plastic bag of ammunition. A note tacked to a nearby bush read: “I have no gun. Don’t murder me. I give up.”
Borutski admitted in a police interrogation the morning after the killings that he beat Culleton and strangled her to death with a coaxial television cable at her Kamaniskeg Lake cottage near Combermere on the morning of Sept. 22, 2015. He admitted to then shooting and killing Kuzyk in her Wilno home, then Warmerdam in her Foymount Road farmhouse, with a shotgun.
He told a police detective he had found the pump-action 12-gauge shotgun years earlier when he lived in a farmhouse next to a scrapyard. He claimed he found the gun in the scrapyard stowed under the floorboards of an abandoned motor home, and collected shells from old cars and trucks.
Borutski told the detective he kept the gun hidden along the roadside in a bush, and retrieved it on the eve of the killings.
“I took it with me everywhere (that day),” he said in the Sept. 23, 2015 police interrogation.
Chin told court the rusted shotgun was in overall poor condition but still capable of causing “serious injury or death to a person … The rust didn’t affect the firearm’s functionality,” she testified.
The weapon was likely made in the 1950s or early 1960s, Chin said. It bore no serial number since it was manufactured before serial numbers became mandatory in 1968.
She also identified the toolmark left when the shotgun was “sawed down,” though Chin said the length was still within regulations and would have been a non-restricted firearm.
The jury has previously heard of Borutski’s domestic-related criminal convictions from his relationships with Warmerdam in 2012, and Kuzyk in 2014. He remained under probation at the time of the killings.
Court also heard previously that Borutski was carrying a firearms possession and acquisition licence in his wallet. The licence card was one of several items recovered from the vehicle he drove to the scene of the first killing at Culleton’s cottage.
ahelmer@postmedia.com
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