James Ruscitti granted day parole

Teen murderer being slowly reintegrated into society

The National Parole Board (NPB) has decided to grant day parole to James Ruscitti who is serving a life sentence for murdering his adoptive parents and two other people at Buffalo Creek, east of 100 Mile House, on June 22, 1996.

This is the second step of Ruscitti’s gradual reintegration into society.

Just over a year ago, the NPB granted Ruscitti’s request to go to a residential substance abuse facility on Vancouver Island for 60 days.

In a written release on Aug. 20, 2014, the NPB members noted that although Ruscitti was a moderate to high risk to re-offend in a violent manner, they said he has made progress in his rehabilitation.

However, during the parole board hearing, the NPB noted Ruscitti didn’t fully disclose he was having a relationship with a woman, which contravened one of his release conditions.

This is still one of the conditions of his day parole, along with staying away from any of his victims’ family members, not using or buying drugs or alcohol, and to continue receiving counselling regarding his emotional instability and adjustment for returning to society.

Ruscitti was two months old when he was adopted by his dad, Rocco, and his mom, Marilyn. He was raised along with the Ruscittis’ other children – Teresa, Vito and Ruth.

Residents of the surrounding communities, including 100 Mile House, were in a state of shock and disbelief when they learned Ruscitti murdered his father and mother, Vito’s girlfriend, Christine Clarke, 17, and a boarder, Dennis O’Hara, in an execution-style shooting around 8:30 a.m. on June 22, 1996.

While Clarke’s two-month-old baby was spared, she was left alone for 48 hours and suffered from severe dehydration before Marilyn’s brother, Neal Washburn, walked into the Ruscitti home and discovered the grisly murder scene.

According to the NPB’s Aug. 20, 2014 release, Ruscitti was 15 years old, living on his own, selling drugs and was addicted to marijuana, cocaine and LSD in the lead up to the murders.

He was mad because his father and O’Hara had searched his home in 100 Mile House, and then he began his plans to exact his revenge.

Ruscitti enlisted the help of his friend Chad Bucknell who was 14 at the time.

According to trial testimony, Ruscitti and Bucknell had spent the night in the Ruscitti home before the fatal shootings in the morning. The NPB noted Ruscitti was “sober and enraged” when he committed the murders.

The boys fled to Abbotsford for two days before returning home.

When Ruscitti returned, he expressed surprise and anguish – eventually, he confessed to an uncle.

Ruscitti pled guilty to four counts of first degree murder and he was sentenced to life in prison. Because he was a young offender, he had to serve the maximum seven years before he was eligible for parole.

Bucknell was found guilty of one count of second degree murder because he also shot O’Hara.

Bucknell was sentenced to life in prison with the seven-year mandatory time served before eligibility for parole. The NPB granted him full parole in 2011.


100 Mile House Free Press

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