Jury continues deliberations on Thursday in Basil Borutski triple-murder trial
Basil Borutski Court sketch by Greg Banning/Postmedia Network
OTTAWA — The jury in Basil Borutski’s triple murder trial did not reach a verdict Wednesday after nearly three hours of deliberations.
The 11-member jury, reduced to five women and six men after a female juror was discharged earlier this week due to a family emergency, will return Thursday morning.
During Tuesday’s closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Jeffery Richardson asked the jury to find Borutski guilty on all three counts of first degree murder in the Sept. 22, 2015 killings of Carol Culleton, 66, Anastasia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmerdam, 48.
Richardson illustrated for the jury the path to a first-degree murder conviction, saying there was enough evidence of planning and deliberation in each of the three killings to warrant a conviction.
Richardson said Borutski’s attempts to rationalize “the difference between killing and murder” at several key points — in conversations with his neighbours on the eve of the killings, text messages to his brother in the hours after the killings, and again the following day in his statement to police — show he thought about the killings before he “executed his plan.”
He angrily confronted Culleton, who had recently ended their casual relationship, at her cottage the day before the killings. Hours later he retrieved the shotgun he would bring with him the next morning on his rampage.
After his arrest he confessed to killing all three women, saying he shot and killed Kuzyk and Warmerdam because of “lies” they told in court.
Borutski’s relationships with both women ended with Borutski jailed on charges of domestic violence.
When asked in his police interrogation why he killed Culleton, he responded, “The very same thing.”
Richardson said Borutski turned his mind to murder when he began to suspect his romance with Culleton was heading for the same fate as his past failed relationships.
The Crown offered a handwritten letter from Borutski, delivered to his probation officer Caroline Royer three days after his arrest, as further evidence Borutski planned to kill the women.
“It never should of came to this!” Borutski wrote, making the same complaints about “the system” he would repeat during his police confession, and pledging he’s “taking as many that have abused me as possible with me. JUSTICE.”
Richardson said while the killings were a form of “justice” in Borutski’s eyes, the killings were, in fact, “callous, premeditated act of revenge.”
Richardson said the jury could find a secondary path to a first-degree murder conviction by considering the Crown’s evidence that Borutski was criminally harassing Culleton leading up to he death.
After she first tried to break off their relationship in a late-night phone call on Sept. 8, he sent a torrent of text messages — 108 in all — culminating in a “dire warning” in his final text, sent two days before her death: “I will endure the betrayal of yet another false friend… Karma will take over.”
The court-appointed amicus, James Foord, asked the jury to question whether Borutski had “the requisite mental state for planning and deliberation. That is the issue.”
Borutski, representing himself in the trial, did not enter a defence.
"Do not try to guess why he didn't have a lawyer," Ontario court Justice Robert Maranger told the jury Wednesday, telling them the fact he did not mount a defence or actively participate in the trial should not influence their conclusion. "Take nothing from it one way or the other."
Maranger instructed the jurors on the law they must consider, weighted with the evidence they’ve heard, to reach a verdict.
The 11-member jury can then return with four possible verdicts for each count: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, or not guilty.
The jury was excused at the lunch break, and began deliberations around 2:30 p.m. The trial resumes Thursday morning.