‘Karma was gonna ... get her’

Pal of ac­cused triple killer takes the stand

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - AEDAN HELMER ahelmer@postmedia.com Twit­ter.com/helmera

The text that Shirl Roesler ex­changed with Basil Borut­ski, above, after three women were bru­tally mur­dered.

After killing three women in a ram­page through the Up­per Ottawa Val­ley, and while await­ing his ar­rest in a field near Kin­burn, Basil Borut­ski texted good­bye to a neigh­bour he called “friend,” court heard Wed­nes­day.

Shirl Roesler, 57, lived down­stairs from Borut­ski at the Ren­frew County com­mu­nity hous­ing lowrise at 5967 Palmer Rd. in Palmer Rapids.

She tes­ti­fied Wed­nes­day about a con­ver­sa­tion she had with Borustki on the eve of the killings.

Borut­ski has re­mained silent in the pris­oner’s box.

He is de­fend­ing him­self on three counts of first­de­gree mur­der in the Septem­ber 2015 deaths of Carol Cul­leton, 66, Anas­ta­sia Kuzyk, 36, and Nathalie Warmer­dam, 48.

“Your car is at cot­tage sorry I left $100 (in) con­sole for gas by (sic) friend,” reads the text Roesler re­ceived at 1:56 p.m. on Sept. 22, sev­eral hours after the killings.

Twenty min­utes later, with a po­lice of­fi­cer at her side as a guide, Roesler texted back: “Is my car at the cot­tage Where r u.”

There was no re­ply in the text ex­change en­tered into ev­i­dence Wed­nes­day.

On the wit­ness stand, Roesler was asked to re­fresh her mem­ory with the state­ment she gave po­lice that day, as she re­called her en­counter with a “very up­set, very an­gry” Borut­ski the night be­fore.

“He was up­set and he needed some­one to talk to,” she said. “It had some­thing to do with Carol, some­thing to do with their re­la­tion­ship. Things that she did be­hind his back, sleep­ing with other men. He was very mad, and very an­gry with her.

“One thing that stuck out. He said karma was gonna come back and get her,” said Roesler, who said she re­called those ex­act words. “But that could mean any­thing.”

She tes­ti­fied the con­ver­sa­tion took place be­tween 6 and 7 p.m. on Mon­day, Sept. 21, 2015.

She told court she could place the time of the en­counter — just a lit­tle after her evening rit­ual of watch­ing The Young and the Rest­less.

She was fol­low­ing the news the next morn­ing when word spread of the killings.

Borut­ski ad­mit­ted the fol­low­ing day in a po­lice in­ter­view shown in court to killing the women, but he told an OPP de­tec­tive he be­lieved it was “not mur­der.”

A foren­sic pathol­o­gist tes­ti­fied Cul­leton was stran­gled to death.

Kuzyk and Warmer­dam were both killed by a shot­gun.

Roesler told court she had known Borut­ski only a few months but re­called one con­ver­sa­tion about a gun.

“Just that he wanted a gun, for hunt­ing. I don’t re­mem­ber the ex­act date (of the con­ver­sa­tion). It was a while be­fore, a month or so be­fore.”

Roesler told court that after Borut­ski fixed her front brakes for free, she started lend­ing him her car, a light­coloured 2000 Chrysler sedan.

He’d bor­row it as many as 10 times a week, she said, and she gave him a set of keys.

Roesler told court she once re­called driv­ing him to the cot­tage on Ka­man­iskeg Lake, which she rec­og­nized as “Carol’s cot­tage” in a photo shown in court.

Roesler’s car was shown parked in front, where it was found by po­lice at the scene of the first of the day’s killings.

On Tues­day, court was shown sur­veil­lance video of Borustki leav­ing the Palmer Rapids apart­ment com­plex early that Septem­ber morn­ing, dressed in cam­ou­flage pants and car­ry­ing a white plas­tic bag, and pulling out of the park­ing lot in a car iden­ti­fied as Roesler’s sedan.

Roesler, ap­pear­ing nervous, was hav­ing dif­fi­culty on the stand re­call­ing a con­ver­sa­tion she had with Borut­ski, specif­i­cally what she told po­lice two years ago about his trou­bles with Cul­leton.

She was asked by the Crown to re­fer to her state­ment, where she told po­lice she heard Borut­ski make dis­parag­ing re­marks about Cul­leton.

“He said she was un­sta­ble, she was just los­ing it,” she said.

Roesler, with the Crown again call­ing upon her state­ment to re­fresh her mem­ory, re­called Borut­ski say­ing she was afraid of him.

Jus­tice Robert Maranger ad­journed early Wed­nes­day after court-ap­pointed am­i­cus cu­riae (friend of the court) James Fo­ord raised what the jury was told was a “tech­ni­cal is­sue” on the ev­i­dence.

The trial re­sumes Thurs­day.

GREG BAN­NING

SHIRL ROESLER Text ex­change

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