Accused killer kept lips sealed, friend tells court
A man accused of hitting his roommate’s head with a hammer and killing him kept quiet about the incident after it happened, a friend testified in a Kelowna court Thursday.
Daniel Ruff, 65, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Warren Welters, 51.
The two of them shared an upstairs suite at 941 Bernard Ave., where Welters was found dead on June 14, 2015.
Murray Matheson, a friend of Ruff’s, was at the house that afternoon for a barbecue.
A group of people was on the front porch, drinking beer, when Matheson, who said he had been awake for two days at the time, fell asleep in one of the chairs.
He was awoken by Welters raising his voice at one of Ruff’s guests.
“I heard him say, ‘What the f . . . are you doing here, you little whore?’” Matheson told the jury. “I opened my eyes and he was standing at the bottom of the stairs and he was looking at Laura Lee (Jones).”
Not wanting to get involved, Matheson said he closed his eyes again and slept until a police officer woke him up later that evening. He saw several fire trucks and police cars parked outside the house.
“They started taping up the house and I said, ‘Wow, what the hell’s going on here?’” said Matheson. “Nobody would tell me anything.”
Ruff, who was also on the porch at the time, did not divulge much information either, he said.
“I asked him three or four times (what happened), and I think the fourth time he said, ‘Warren’s dead,’” said Matheson. “I asked what happened and he didn’t say anything.”
Once he was allowed to leave the house, around 11:30 p.m., Matheson biked home to his residence on Saucier Avenue.
A couple of hours later, Ruff arrived at his house, he said.
Again, Matheson asked him what had happened.
“I just asked him, ‘Did he hit you, or did you go after him, or did he come after you?’ And he just shrugged his shoulders, so I didn’t know if that was a yes or a no or what. He wasn’t saying a lot,” said Matheson. “He said it might have been a biker gang coming in or something; he said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Unable to get any more information out of Ruff, Matheson said he let it go.
Ruff stayed at Matheson’s house for a few days, but the two men never discussed the incident again, said Matheson.
Ruff was arrested June 29, 2015, and is currently out on bail.
The trial continues.