The National Parole Board (NPB) has granted James Ruscitti, 33, unescorted temporary absence from prison, where he is serving a life sentence for murdering four people in Buffalo Creek on June 22, 1996.
The NPB noted it had 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, 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.
The NPB release stated Ruscitti had said he felt remorse for what he did and apologized to the victims for what he did and told them he felt regret for his crimes. The NPB said they believed these statements were genuine.
The statement also noted the unescorted absence is just the beginning first step in a gradual reintegration into society.
James 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 James Ruscitti murdered his father and mother, his brother Vito’s girlfriend, Christine Clarke, 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 Carolyn’s brother, Neal Washburn, walked into the Ruscitti home in Forest Grove and discovered the grisly murder scene.
According to the NPB release, James 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, and then he began his plans to exact his revenge.
James Ruscitti enlisted the help of his friend Chad Bucknell who was 14 at the time.
According to trial testimony, James Ruscitti and Bucknell had spent the night in the Ruscitti home before the fatal shootings in the morning. The NPB noted James Ruscitti was “sober and enraged” when he committed the murders.
The boys fled to Abbotsford for two days before returning home.
When James Ruscitti returned, he expressed surprise and anguish but, eventually. he confessed to an uncle.
James Ruscitti pled guilty to four counts of first degree murder and he was sentence 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 sentence to life in prison with the seven-year mandatory time served before eligibility for parole. The NPB granted him full parole in 2011.
One of the conditions of James Ruscitti’s unescorted absence is that he doesn’t attempt to make contact with any of the victims’ family members.