Man convicted of murder in 2015 deaths of three eastern Ontario women dies in prison

By The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — An Ontario man convicted of murdering three women in Renfrew County has died in prison of what officials say were natural causes.

The Correctional Service Canada says Basil Borutski died March 28 at Millhaven Institution in Ontario where he was serving at least a 70-year sentence for first and second-degree murder.

Borutski was convicted in 2017 of first-degree murder in the deaths of 36-year-old Anastasia Kuzyk and 48-year-old Nathalie Warmerdam, and of second-degree murder in the death of Carol Culleton, 66.

All three women were killed by Borutski in an hours-long violent rampage on Sept. 22, 2015.

The case resulted in a public inquiry to investigate intimate partner violence in rural communities as well as the handling of high-risk offenders on probation.

The inquest heard that Borutski was stalking Culleton in the months before her murder after she rejected his advances and pleaded with him to leave her alone.

Borutski had previous relationships with Kuzyk and Warmerdam and had spent time in jail for threats and violence against both of them.

At sentencing in the fall of 2017, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger called Borutski a ‘vicious, cold blooded” murderer whose crimes were “one of the saddest, darkest days” in the region’s history.

He called Borutski a “violent, vindictive, calculating abuser of women” who “seems incapable of taking responsibility for his many wrongs,” and who “took his hatred to its ultimate climax.”

Borutski was on probation at the time of the murders. He had repeatedly breached his probation requirements, including by failing to attend a court-mandated program for violent abusers.

The inquiry also heard that Kuzyk and Warmerdam were not provided with enough information about Borutski’s whereabouts in the months before they were killed.

Federal Justice Minister Arif Virani responded to the inquiry’s 86 recommendations last summer, welcoming in particular the call for a new criminal offence of coercive control.

Experts say coercive control happens when an abuser gains control over a victim through multiple behaviours, including threats and isolation. 

Virani said the government is open to creating such an offence and was also reviewing criminal harassment provisions to ensure they are effective against modern-day knowledge of what that behaviour entails.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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