A British Columbia man who murdered four people as a teenager and left his two-month-old niece in a room with her dead mother has been granted full parole.
James Ruscitti is serving a life sentence for the 1996 execution-style slayings of his adoptive parents, his brother’s 17-year-old girlfriend and a boarder who lived in their home near 100 Mile House, in central B.C.
Ruscitti was 15 and a drug user when he and a 14-year-old accomplice committed the crime, though the Parole Board of Canada has said he was sober when he shot the victims, leaving the baby near death.
The board says in its written decision granting Ruscitti full parole that it is concerned the 37-year-old man is still unclear about what motivated him to kill four people, though it is satisfied he’s struggling to understand his actions.
Ruscitti is considered a moderate risk to reoffend, but the board says the positive aspects of his life include a full-time job as an electrician and plans to live with his girlfriend and her daughter in their townhouse on Vancouver Island.
His parole comes with several conditions, including that he not consume alcohol or non-prescribed drugs nor have any contact with the victims or anyone in their families, and immediately report all relationships and friendships with females to his parole supervisor.
In its written decision dated Oct. 4, the board says a psychiatric assessment from 1996 prepared for trial indicated the offence was directly linked to Ruscitti’s strong antisocial and narcissistic personality.
However, the board says Ruscitti has remained compliant with conditions of his release and respectful to his parole supervisors in the three years since he was granted day parole.
He completed community-based programming while he was on day parole, but the board also outlined some issues of concern.
“Reportedly, your greatest identified challenge was managing your risky thinking,” it says.
“Your most recent correctional plan update was completed in June 2018. It indicates you require a moderate need for improvement in the areas of personal/emotional orientation and marital/family issues,” the board says.
It also says when Ruscitti was asked about the murders, he initially told the board they were not planned but later said he thought about carrying them out for a day or so.
“You added that around that time you were suffering from panic attacks and severe anxiety and that you hated yourself. You denied simply leaving the child in the room with one of the victims but said that you had left food for the child and had later tried to get close family members to go to the residence to help her.”
The child was found in the home two days after the murders and doctors said she was hours from death because of dehydration.
The board says Ruscitti also mentioned day parole was a very big transition for him and important changes are very stressful for him.
However, it says Ruscitti managed to handle a stressful situation appropriately when the Children’s Ministry initially refused to allow him contact with his girlfriend’s child and suggested the girl would be removed from her if she continued the relationship.
“You appealed the decision and are now able to have contact with both the mother and the child.”
Ruscitti’s accomplice, Chad Bucknell, has also been granted full parole and the board lifted an alcohol restriction imposed on him last year.
The Canadian Press