Let­ter sent to vic­tim’s home on eve of killings, court hears

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - AEDAN HELMER ahelmer@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/ helmera

In the days be­fore Carol Cul­leton was killed, an ad­mirer left hand­writ­ten notes around her Comber­mere cot­tage telling her to “be pos­i­tive” as she en­joyed her re­tire­ment.

The day be­fore she was stran­gled to death inside the cot­tage, a ninepage hand­writ­ten let­ter was sent to her home ad­dress in North Gower, where it lay un­opened un­til the slain woman’s brother dis­cov­ered it a week later in a stack of mail.

When Kevin Cul­leton ar­rived in town for his sis­ter’s fu­neral, he told court the let­ter “popped out” when neigh­bours handed him the mail they’d been col­lect­ing.

“I looked at the ad­dress, it was Palmer Rapids. I knew the ac­cused was from there,” Cul­leton tes­ti­fied, say­ing he opened the en­ve­lope and read the en­tire let­ter be­fore turn­ing it over to po­lice.

“I knew it would be ev­i­dence,” he said.

Basil Borut­ski, in a po­lice in­ter­view the morn­ing af­ter the Sept. 22, 2015 ram­page, ad­mit­ted to killing Cul­leton, 66, Anas­ta­sia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmer­dam, 48, but told po­lice it was “not mur­der.”

Neigh­bours from Borut­ski’s Palmer Rapids so­cial hous­ing com­plex tes­ti­fied about en­coun­ter­ing a “very an­gry” Borut­ski on the eve of the killings.

Ac­cord­ing to the Crown, Borut­ski had just re­turned home from Cul­leton’s cot­tage on Ka­man­iskeg Lake on Sept. 21.

He told one neigh­bour he “caught his girl­friend cheat­ing on him,” ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony Thurs­day from Kevin Match­eski, who lived across the hall from Borut­ski at 5967 Palmer Rd.

He com­plained to an­other neigh­bour about his re­la­tion­ship with Cul­leton, say­ing “…karma was gonna come back and get her.”

Those con­ver­sa­tions took place about 12 hours be­fore Borut­ski stran­gled Cul­leton to death, then killed Kuzyk and Warmer­dam with a shot­gun, ac­cord­ing to the Crown’s time­line of the day of the killings.

“Carol, pos­i­tive, pos­i­tive, pos­i­tive,” be­gins the let­ter to Cul­leton. The let­ter was en­tered into ev­i­dence, but the let­ter’s au­thor was not iden­ti­fied in court Thurs­day.

“I think the world of you and I al­ways have pos­i­tive thoughts. I tried and I done my best to turn your cot­tage into a pos­i­tive place for you.”

Court was shown crime scene pho­tos from Cul­leton’s cot­tage at 670 Ka­man­iskeg Rd. as OPP foren­sic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of­fi­cer Const. Larry Hall guided the jury through pho­tos of a dozen notes, hand­writ­ten on pieces of wood and placed de­lib­er­ately around the prop­erty.

One was found on a newly built deck. An­other lay across a pair of rub­ber boots. An­other was found near a neatly stacked pile of wood left in the fire pit.

“I tried to make every­thing as nice as pos­si­ble to en­joy your re­tire­ment,” reads one note.

Sev­eral of the notes are ad­dressed to “Jiggy.”

In his in­ter­view with po­lice on the day af­ter the killings, Borut­ski told a de­tec­tive “Jiggy” was the af­fec­tion­ate nick­name he had for Cul­leton.

An­other note found at the prop­erty refers to Cul­leton as “a new friend karma brought to me.”

The let­ter sent to Cul­leton also makes sev­eral ref­er­ences to “karma,” as the au­thor ap­pears to at­tempt to jus­tify mak­ing re­pairs on the woman’s cot­tage.

“Do you think (Cul­leton’s late hus­band) Bob would want his dream to rot and de­cay?”

The let­ter de­scribes Cul­leton as a “hurt and con­fused an­gel,” while the au­thor de­scribes him­self as “a lov­ing, car­ing hu­man be­ing.”

“I am a good per­son,” the let­ter con­tin­ues. “I am liv­ing in a world where so­ci­ety teaches us to be greedy, take for your­self, what­ever you can, f--- the other guy.”

The au­thor urges Cul­leton to ig­nore the “bad wrong neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity gos­sip out there about me,” and asks her to “judge me on the real me.”

The au­thor claims he “spent a year in jail for some­thing I didn’t do,” and warns Cul­leton she had been “be­trayed by my false friend.”

The let­ter ends omi­nously: “Talk to me, it’s not too late.”

The jury was shown the let­ter and en­ve­lope, bear­ing a post­mark from Palmer Rapids on Sept. 21, 2015.

Court heard from a num­ber of po­lice and civil­ian wit­nesses Thurs­day, as each tes­ti­fied with­out ob­jec­tion or cross-ex­am­i­na­tion from Borut­ski, who sat silently in the pris­oner’s box de­fend­ing him­self on three counts of first-de­gree mur­der.

Lo­cal real es­tate agent Cathy Pitts tes­ti­fied about an ap­point­ment she’d had with Cul­leton, who had con­tacted her about sell­ing the Ka­man­iskeg Lake cot­tage, on the day Cul­leton was killed. Pitts ar­rived to find the front door smashed, and found Cul­leton dead in the bed­room.

OPP iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Sgt. Jane Ram­say then tes­ti­fied about what else was found at the scene.

Po­lice re­cov­ered a light-coloured Chrysler Cir­rus sedan be­long­ing to Shirl Roesler, an­other of Borut­ski’s neigh­bours from Palmer Rapids.

Court was shown sur­veil­lance footage of Borut­ski pulling out of his Palmer Rapids res­i­dence in Roesler’s car on the morn­ing of the killings. Inside the car’s con­sole they found a $100 bill.

Court was shown a text mes­sage from Borut­ski to Roesler, sent hours af­ter the killings, of­fer­ing the cash and say­ing, “sorry… by (sic) friend.”

Po­lice also found a wal­let inside the car. In the wal­let, along­side sev­eral school pho­tos of young chil­dren, were a debit card, two hos­pi­tal cards, a health card, so­cial in­sur­ance card and a firearms li­cence pos­ses­sion per­mit. Each piece of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion was in the name of Basil Joseph Borut­ski.

The trial re­sumes Fri­day.

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