News Provincial

Borutski went looking for a fourth victim on day of rampage

By Aedan Helmer, Postmedia Network

Basil Borutski had killed three women, but he wasn’t done yet.

He pulled into a small sawmill in White Lake, On. on the morning of Sept. 22, 2015.

He had a loaded shotgun next to him, along with a sandwich bag full of shells, in a car he had stolen from the first of his victims that day.

Borutski had spent that morning on a bloody rampage through Renfrew County, murdering Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam, claiming he was taking revenge for the “lies” that had ruined his reputation and put him in jail.

He coldly detailed the killings in a police confession the next morning.

But this paper can now report for the first time that Borutski had more victims in mind.

In excerpts of his police interrogation the jury never heard — redacted from the interview transcript and unreported until now — Borutski told a police detective he planned to kill a fourth person.

He also outlined his intention and vague plan to kill two Renfrew County OPP officers.

On Wednesday, Borutski was sentenced to 70 years for the first-degree murders of Kuzyk and Warmerdam, and the second-degree murder of Culleton.  

Borutski killed Culleton first and drove her car to Wilno, where he shot and killed Kuzyk, then to Foymount Road, where he shot and killed Warmerdam. He had prior domestic violence convictions against both Kuzyk and Warmerdam.

Borutski, as he said in his confession the following day, then calmly got back in the car, “saying Our Father every 10 minutes,” and drove to White Lake, where he had set his mind to killing his fourth victim that day – the owner of the sawmill at 111 Burnstown Rd.

“He was next on the list,” Borutski told a police detective in an excerpt redacted from his interrogation video. “I was going to shoot the fat man ’cause he stuck a knife in my back, and I was going to shoot two policemen.”

He named an officer by surname, saying the officer was on his list “because Miller put it to me for nothing.” He then mentioned a second officer, but couldn’t recall his name, only that “he put it to me and he was f—ing cruel … dirty, dirty f—ing cop.”

He didn’t know his civilian target’s name, but knew where the “fat man” lived, claiming he followed directions to the property he had found out “through the grapevine.”

When Borutski showed up to White Lake that day, according to sources, his target was watching from a distance as the dust-covered Mazda 3 pulled into the circular driveway; watching as the bald-headed driver asked about “the big guy” to a couple of workers; and saw as the car slowly circled the property and drove away.

His target was Kyle Bancroft, 50, the owner of a lumber company at the property and under investigation for fraud, this paper has learned.

And while Borutski didn’t know his name, sources acknowledged he could have recently, and unknowingly, been spending time under the same roof as Bancroft — at the Innes Road jail.

Bancroft was at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre after being arrested himself for his alleged role in an August 2016 armed robbery on Dwyer Hill Road.

Bancroft will next appear in Ottawa court on those charges Dec. 11, five days after Borutski’s sentencing back in Pembroke.

Bancroft is also facing a Dec. 20 court date in Pembroke on 51 counts of fraud allegedly committed in the Renfrew County jurisdiction between October 2015 and November 2016, court records show. A number of those are related to a lumber business Bancroft owned and operated from the Burnstown Road property. Businesses formerly listed to Bancroft include Ontario Wide Lumber and Payless Lumber, each carrying a rating of “F” with the Better Business Bureau, with numerous online complaints from prospective customers alleging they paid up front for lumber that was never delivered.

But according to Borutski’s own words, he had a different motive when he showed up to Bancroft’s property that day, a live round in his shotgun’s chamber, another two in the magazine, the bag full of shells nearby.

Borutski detailed for OPP Det. Sgt. Caley O’Neill a long-buried grievance he had against the man. And though the perceived wrongdoings allegedly happened years earlier, the motive still appeared fresh in Borutski’s mind as he repeatedly returned to the topic of “the fat man” throughout the course of his five-hour police interrogation.

Borutski first referred to him after describing in chilling detail the systematic killings of Culleton, Kuzyk and Warmerdam.

He told the detective that after shooting Warmerdam in her farmhouse, “I believe that God was telling me where to turn,” as he recalled the winding route he took. “I remember saying, ‘I don’t understand why you wanted me to do that, but there must be a reason.’”

After telling the detective how Culleton had rebuffed his advances, and how she “knew all about Anastasia and Nathalie,” Borutski then inhaled and paused: “You’re really gonna hear it now,” he said.

“When I was with Nathalie, there was a big fat guy,” Borutski said, telling a rambling tale about how he believed he took the blame in a stolen backhoe scheme.

“After Nathalie put me in jail for saying that I was going to hang that kid (he was convicted in 2012 for uttering threats to her son, Adrian Warmerdam), this other man apparently moved four backhoes.

“Nathalie tried to put the blame on me when police finally came and found that backhoe … I was in the clear (and) she put the finger, blamed it on me. Which doesn’t make sense.

“The part that I don’t understand is, why would the police go there, they found the stuff there, I’m (already) in jail, so I couldn’t possibly have had to do with this. But instead of charging her or looking into it, she got off with nothing and when I went out of jail, they started watching me because they thought I was some sort of a kingpin in the stolen backhoe ring.

“But nobody wanted to prove that Basil’s innocent,” he said. “They wanted to prove, find a way to make Basil guilty instead. And then Nathalie laughed about it.”

Sources said Warmerdam was not involved in any way in a backhoe scheme, and no one was charged. Others who knew Warmerdam disputed Borutski’s recollection of her encounters with the man, which are believed to have occurred some time between 2010 and 2012.

He would always come around the farm to buy eggs for his sister, Borutski said, “but that’s not what he was there for …

“I don’t know what the f— they were doing, and then when I was in jail the s— hit the fan over that, and there was people charged. I don’t know how many. Even Anastasia knew somebody that had one of those stolen pieces of equipment. The connection between Anastasia and Nathalie was … I really don’t know the full … I don’t know how the real thing happened there between Nathalie and that fat man, but somehow Anastasia knew …”

By the time Borutski faced trial, Bancroft was already in jail awaiting a trial of his own.

“I found out where he lived, a little sawmill, and he was next on the list,” Borutski told the detective. “I went there, I drove around the place, I talked to two people and I asked them, ‘Is the big guy here?’ One guy said he was (over) there on the other side, and the other guy said no, he’s not here. I drove around and then I left.”

Crown prosecutor Jeffery Richardson confirmed the Burnstown Road property was investigated as a crime scene after Borutski visited on Sept. 22, 2015. Investigators took statements from witnesses who saw and spoke to Borutski. Among the 45 Crown witnesses called to give evidence during Borutski’s seven-week trial, no witnesses from the White Lake scene were called to testify.

Borutski had earlier claimed he was looking at himself “like a zombie” as he murdered his victims that day. Everything was “as if it was supposed to be,” he claimed. Until he arrived in White Lake.

“This wasn’t me … I was going places where I f—ing have no idea and it was like someone telling me to go here, go there to f—ing this road, that road. Never met one cruiser or nothing because the sight of a cruiser panics me.

“Because then everything was as if it was a play – Carol opened the door, Anastasia walked right out the door of the house, I walk up to the door and open it and Nathalie’s right there. It was as if it was supposed to be … except when I got to where the fat man was, the fat man wasn’t there and then it was like the tape broke … It was like a tape playing and the f—ing tape broke when I got to where the fat man was.”

He then tells the detective about a “change of plan … and that’s when I went to the bush.”

After Borutski left, he drove another 40 kilometres west to a hunt camp belonging to a family member on Becks and Kinburn Side roads, the scene of his eventual takedown at the hands of an Ottawa police tactical squad, as a police helicopter and Cessna aircraft circled overhead.

Police testified at his trial they were wary of the potential for further victims that day — a number of buildings were locked down, including an Ottawa law office, the Pembroke courthouse and the Stonecrest Elementary School adjacent to the Kinburn field where Borutski was arrested.

Police testified they were aware of Borutski’s anti-police sentiment, and several officers said there were fears they could have been walking into an ambush that day.

Borutski told the detective the morning after the murders he had calmed himself by writing in a notebook police later recovered from the Kinburn scene, found near the discarded shotgun and the unspent shells.

The notebook, along with many of Borutski’s writings, were entered into evidence at his trial.

On one page, he wrote: “The guilty have paid. All except the fat man. I tried.”

Attempts to reach Bancroft, who is currently incarcerated while awaiting trial, were unsuccessful. His family members did not return messages, and an Ottawa-based lawyer listed on court documents as having recently represented Bancroft declined to take a phone call, saying Bancroft was no longer a client.

ahelmer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/helmera