Triple murder Basil Borutski will die in prison for 'vicious, cold-blooded' slayings of Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam, Carol Culleton
Nathalie Warmerdam's daughter, Valerie Warmerdam (centre), was "relieved" by the lengthy sentence of the man she called her "stepfather." She's seen here following the sentence outside the courthouse with (from left): Frank Warmerdam, Nathalie's ex husband; her son's girlfriend, Kristy Schultz; her best friend, Tracey McBain, and family friend, Bob McBain). Triple murderer Basil Borutski was sentenced to 70 years for the deaths of three women (Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk ad Carol Culleton) Wednesday at the Renfrew County Courthouse in Pembroke.
Basil Borutski’s crimes were “so deplorable, so devoid of mercy” that Justice Robert Maranger showed no mercy of his own in sentencing Borutski to consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole for 70 years.
Borutski, 60, will spend the rest of his days in jail for the first-degree murders of Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam, and the second-degree murder of Carol Culleton in what Maranger called a “vicious, cold-blooded” killing spree through Renfrew County on Sept. 22, 2015.
The packed courtroom, which was moved to a larger room to accommodate the large public gallery from the community, fell silent Wednesday as Maranger read his decision, calling for consecutive life sentences for the killings — “a true life sentence,” the judge said.
Borutski will not be eligible for parole until the year 2085 — he would be 128 years old — and both Crown and court-appointed amicus James Foord, who called for 40 years of parole ineligibility, agreed under either scenario Borutski would likely die in jail.
“From time to time, a crime is so deplorable, so devoid of mercy, so cold-blooded that denunciation, retribution and giving a sense of justice to the many victims in the community at large becomes the paramount, and virtually the singular consideration,” said Maranger. “(This) is one such case.”
Maranger said the day of the killings will forever be remembered as “a time of terror and of sorrow. It will always be considered one of the saddest, darkest days in the community’s history.”
Borutski took it upon himself to “exact vengeance,” Maranger said, “to act as judge, jury and executioner against three beloved, innocent women. On that day, Basil Borutski committed vicious cold-blooded murders.”
Maranger expressed sympathy for the women killed, for the family members who witnessed their murders, for the friends, family and the surrounding community that still feels their loss from the “everlasting terror of that day.”
Outside the courthouse after Wednesday’s decision, Nathalie Warmerdam’s daughter, Valerie, said she was relieved to be attending the final court date in a trial originally scheduled to span 17 weeks, yet concluded in just over six weeks.
“This is the outcome we expected all along, or hoped for, at least,” said Warmerdam, surrounded by supporters. “It’s definitely a weight off our shoulders. And he ain’t ever going to hurt anybody again.”
Crown prosecutor Jeffery Richardson said while it was coincidental that the sentencing occurred on Dec. 6, with courthouse flags flying at half-mast on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, it was his hope that survivors could draw their own significance from the sentencing date.
“I’d like to be able to say the fact the sentence came down on Dec. 6 can provide some comfort to those who are survivors of violence against women,” Richardson said.
Maranger called Borutski a “violent, vindictive, calculating abuser of women.”
He said Borutski seemed “incapable” of taking responsibility for his many wrongs, and called it “outrageous” that Borutski had attempted to blame everyone for his problems but himself, from his victims to police to the courts and legal system that first jailed him.
Maranger called the first-degree murders of Kuzyk and Warmerdam, two victims who were abused by Borutski in the past, “cold-blooded and brutal.”
The judge veered from the jury’s verdict in the second-degree murder of Culleton, saying “there was an element of planning,” and it was clear Borutski was angry with Culleton when he showed up at her cottage that morning at the start of his killing spree.
Maranger said with Borutski already facing automatic life sentences, the only two issues to consider were the period of parole ineligibility — from 10 to 25 years for a second-degree murder conviction — and whether the sentences would be served consecutively.
Maranger sided with the Crown in imposing consecutive life sentences, and setting the parole ineligibility for Culleton’s murder at 20 years.
He said the evidence against Borutski “was abundant, it was unequivocal, it was overwhelming.”
He thanked the OPP investigators, Crown prosecutors Richardson and Julie Scott, and court-appointed amicus curiae James Foord for “exemplary work” throughout.
The judge chided Borutski for remaining “silent and aloof” during proceedings, where he represented his own defence by largely remaining quiet, eyes closed in the prisoner’s box, refusing to participate in pretrial motions, a psychiatric assessment, the jury selection, or the bulk of the trial, said Maranger, “including this final stage.”
Borutski was again silent Wednesday when Maranger asked him if he had anything final to say to the court.
He was led out in shackles and transported away in an OPP paddywagon, bound for a life in prison.