Basil Borutski’s murder trial set to hear more testimony from former neighbour

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The trial of accused triple murderer Basil Borutski is today expected to hear more testimony from a former neighbour of Borutski’s, who said he showed up at her apartment the night before the killings in a state of agitation.

Borutski was “very angry” the night before three women were killed in and around Wilno, Ont., and said one of the victims was fooling around with other men, Shirl Roesler testified Wednesday.

Borutski, now 59, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 66-year-old Carol Culleton, 36-year-old Anastasia Kuzyk and 48-year-old Nathalie Warmerdam.

Their bodies were found at three separate crime scenes the morning of Sept. 22, 2015, and Borutski was arrested that afternoon.

Roesler, who lived in the same social housing building as Borutski in Palmer Rapids, Ont., at the time of the killings, testified that Borutski told her Culleton “started messing around with one of his friends, with him there.”

Referring to notes made by police during her 2015 interview with them, Roesler testified the alleged incident happened about two weeks before the killings.

Court earlier heard that Culleton was the first victim, strangled with a television coaxial cable at her cottage on Kamaniskeg Lake, where Borutski had done some work for her.

“One thing that stood out was that he said karma was going to come back and get her, but that could mean anything,” Roesler told court.

Accused left borrowed car at victim’s cottage

Roesler also testified she often let Borutski borrow her vehicle after he fixed her brakes for free, and that he texted her the afternoon of the killings to say her car was at Culleton’s cottage.

The text, sent by Borutski at 1:56 p.m., also says he left $100 in the car to pay for the fuel he used. The text includes the words “sorry” and “by [sic] friend.”

Basil Borutski text messages Shirl Roesler exhibit 12 Oct. 11 2017 at trial

These text messages between Basil Borutski and Shirl Roesler were shown to the jury during Borutski’s trial Wednesday. (Kristy Nease/CBC)

“That’s ok,” Roesler replied.

In court Tuesday, the jury was shown video surveillance footage of Borutski driving Roesler’s car out of their parking lot the morning the killings took place.

Court had earlier heard that Borutski left Roesler’s vehicle at Culleton’s cottage, then drove Culleton’s car to the homes of victims Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam.

Police soon caught up with Roesler and asked her to send two more texts to Borutski, one of them asking if her car was at the cottage, and the other asking where he was.

Borutski remains silent in court

Borutski’s trial before Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger in Ottawa started last week and is scheduled to run for 17 weeks.

Borutski has not hired a lawyer and is therefore representing himself at the trial, but he has refused to enter a plea or speak at all, forcing the court to enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

He has sat motionless and expressionless in the prisoner’s box so far, sometimes squeezing his eyes shut, sometimes looking at relatives and friends of the victims, and other times staring at the ceiling or the floor.

Maranger has repeatedly told Borutski and the court that his silence is being interpreted as acquiescence to the proceedings.

Basil Borutski, court sketch

Borutski has not spoken in court during his trial so far, even though he’s representing himself. (Sketch by Laurie Foster-MacLeod/CBC)